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Wonders of Africa

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Wonders of Africa

The symbol of Kirstenbosh, the National Botanical Garden in Capetown, is the Bird of Paradise. An amazing "albino" (which is missing the red pigment and has the still has the yellow pigment) was released a few years ago as Strelitzia reginae 'Mandela's Gold.' We were thrilled to see this in several places around Kirstenbosch and also in private gardens. But South Africa is not just for plant nerds. On the...

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Finally, out to the veldt!

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Finally, out to the veldt!

Although I have been to Capetown on all of my six trips to South Africa, this was the first one where I managed to actually get to the top of Table Mountains. On other trips the crowds were too big or the weather too blustery, but Saturday, the sun was shining gloriously, and although it was a tad windy and a few clouds kept threatening to close in, we had a...

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Natives in fall

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Natives in fall

The benefits of growing native plants are many - they are easy to grow, they increase native biodiversity, they reduce the risk of introducing invasives, and they use little water to name a few. In fall though, probably more than any other time of year, the overriding reason is their beauty.

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Leaves of Grass: Autumnal bounty

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Leaves of Grass: Autumnal bounty

Is it a coincidence that Walt Whitman named his revolutionary collection of poetry "Leaves of Grass"? Grass is the dominant vegetation in our region, and ornamental grasses have revolutionized horticulture across America in recent decades. If I had to pick a favorite grass, right now I would have to say that Giant Sacaton (Sporobolus wrightii) jostles at the top of my list with Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans) and a dozen or more other contenders.

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