Article written by Kathy Milford
Six dogs of all shapes and sizes rushed out from their home at Stormy Hill, Boston to meet the wild flower enthusiasts who had arrived in search of Brunsvigia undulata. Caroline McKerrow and her dogs welcomed the nine ladies and they were soon all on their way up to Mt. Shannon driving through a maze of roads in the Mondi plantations.
The first stop was at a strip of grassland between the plantation and the road. There they were! Five Brunsvigia undulata, four with rich deep red flowers and the fifth going to seed.
The stream running through the grassland was bordered with bright orange Crocosmia potsii, dark blue Agapanthus sp and the pale Pycnostachys reticulata.
Three enormous Eucomis comosa and a single Nerina appendiculata also bloomed on the banks. Sutera floribunda, Pentanisia angustifolia, Oxalis sp, Geranium sp and Vernonia sp were all blooming in the grassland.
Kniphofia angustifolia, and the strangely beautiful Habenaria dives the Death orchid, were blooming.
From there it was another drive past banks covered in hundreds of blooming Agapanthus sp and Papaver aculeatum to the next stop. There were two more Brunsvigia undulata!
This area was being invaded by the ever present bramble. A beetle was busy on a Berkheya speciosa while Suvarna was happily Botanising with her students!
The excursion continued in the 4x4s through the maze of roads back to the top of Stormy Hill. Caroline’s magnificent horses were grazing between the orchids and a thousand other flowers.
Pelargonium luridum, Vernonia capensis, a Habenaria laevigata and a Kniphofia gracilis were the first flowers encountered.
A white Crassula alba was blooming next to a rock. Eulophia ovalis both the white and the yellow varieties were scattered about the entire area in their dozens.
The strange looking, data deficient Schizoglossum bidens was excitedly spotted next to a rock.
An initial count amounted to 8 plants but as the morning progressed several more were found. A Zuluzianskya sp had its drumstick buds tightly closed in the midday sun. The graceful Alepidia amatymbica and Heliophila sp were growing together, nearby was the unusual Moraea brevistyla.
Leonotis intermedia, Stachys kuntzei, Lotononus corymbosa, Kniphofia angustifolia, Striga sp and Berkheya speciosa and many more were all blooming.
Being completely saturated with the profusion of flowers and the view over Boston it was time to turn back.
The return walk yielded Satyrium longicauda, and a startling single specimen of possible Pterygodium magnum. The magnificent plant was over a meter tall had a spike with dozens of beautiful little delicately fringed flowers.
On the last stretch of the homeward walk, everyone had become quite blaze and simply stepped right past Scabiosa columbaria, a lonely bright Gazania krebsiana and the little carpet flower Craterocapsa tarsodes!
Thanks go to Caroline for being a wild flower spotter extraordinaire and for patiently sharing her excellent observations with Midlands CREW. Thanks to Alison Young for the orchid identifications.