Yet more wildflowers whilst scaling our highest mountain

Yesterday I wrote of our wildflowers. Today I can’t offer you a single pic (I left my camera at home) but I do want to share the day with you. With a group of Rotary friends I climbed the Iron Crown, the highest peak in Limpopo province.

Sounds impressive, hey! Actually we took a 4×4 to within about 4km of the highest peak, then beat the 4×4 to the summit. They had to take an hour and a half detour to park 100m away from the summit. I really find it difficult – having scaled a few of our local mountains – to think that this relatively civilized spot is the highest point  in the province.

The reason for the excursion? We were on a recce for an exciting new club fund-raiser to take place on 17 July (midwinter for us, remember!) We are hosting a 21km (half-marathon) X-country event which starts and ends in the village and turns at the trig beacon on the top of the Iron Crown. We went up the proposed route with a botanist and conservation officer to look at the ecological implications of the route – and got a positive response.

Ah, I hear you say, a botanist! Yup. Who agreed that identifying helichrysums can be very difficult; who confirmed one or two plant names for me. And who enjoyed being with plant lovers; one of the party is also a professional gardener and a very experienced mountaineer. She and I chatted a lot about the garden-worthiness of many of the plants… and there were SO many – some of which I had never seen (or at least noticed) before. At one point we moved through a spot where a lobelia even smaller than the one I wrote of yesterday spangled the ground for 50 or more meters. One could never take a panoramic shot of it, it is simply too small. But what a thrill to move through it! Over Easter we might go up with a GPS to measure exact distances – I will take my camera with me then…

In case you haven’t noticed it: the late summer wild flower displays have me very excited.

OK, I’ll give you a pic after all. I discovered a wonderful site belonging to the Bronberg Conservancy which I can use as a book-like reference. Despite being closer to Pretoria and Johannesburg, there are many plants we have in common. This photograph of Stiga elegans comes from their website. It is the brightest red, a parasite on grass roots; startling to come across.

Striga_elegans_1799

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3 thoughts on “Yet more wildflowers whilst scaling our highest mountain

  1. Glad to hear cross country marathon, is starting, with a botanist and conservation officer. Maybe you can also promote some of those unusual plants on the publicity?

    • Our club is doing interesting things about preserving the environment… about which I guess I will blog in the fullness of time… yes: one of our main aims with this project is to make people more aware of our magnificent environment. I can see the possibility of publicity for our plant life following quite naturally from that. But there is much experimenting between loving a plant in the wild and growing it in a garden. Have you ever read Eve Palmer on taking Karoo plants to Pretoria?

  2. Pingback: WILD FLOWER OBSESSION « Sequoia Gardens Blog

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