Aromatic Alchemy

Fragrance lovers, foodies and flower enthusiasts from across the province gathered at The Hedge Shed last week for a workshop on making perfume. One can be certain to meet interesting people at this venue and leave inspired. “Feel free to nibble the purple beans on the fence, cuddle the ducks or pick some herbs,” invited…

Siyawathanda Amaxhaphozi

There is a wetland at Shea O’Connor Combined School. Many years ago, the staff thought that this was just a damp and annoying problem, but once they learned that it was a wetland – an important ecosystem for filtering water – they began to celebrate this great teaching resource and, on 2 February, marked World…

uMngeni Vlei

Today is World Wetlands Day. Wetlands are areas where water plays the dominant role in determining plant, bird and animal life within that environment. There are many wetlands in the KZN Midlands and Drakensberg – the water factories of the province. Southern Africa’s wetlands are amongst the most diverse both physically and biologically of any…

Sanele Nxumalo

Growing up in the hills around Pietermaritzburg, Sanele Nxumalo and his mates would explore the forested slopes looking for wild honey and feasting on indigenous berries. His father grew all the vegetables his family needed, kept chickens and goats and enjoyed cooking for the family too. “We lived an organic, sustainable life long before it…

Spring Grassland Flowers

While Namaqualand gets all the publicity, the spring flowers of the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands grasslands are an absolute delight for those who don’t follow the crowds. Only one in six plant species in grassland is actually a grass, with most of the perennial plants living for many years – re-sprouting annually, rather than seeding.  This means…

Julie Hay

There is magic happening at the Rainbow headquarters at Rotunda. Ordinary, everyday things which are usually discarded are being transformed into tools for learning and playing. Lindiwe is carefully flattening bread bags, Linda is making plans for a workshop and dreaming up fundraising ideas, Joseph is updating the crèche registers before driving staff to a…

Pod Gardens

Permaculture systems evolve naturally by responding to the surrounding environment. While there are basic principles, every system is different. “You can’t jump right into permaculture – it is actually generations of observation and development.”  Bruce Haynes is particularly fascinated by urban gardens and their ability to enhance food and economic freedom. Over the last five…

Shuttleworth Weaving

The Shuttleworths are founder members of the Midlands Meander and have earned a reputation for exceptional quality hand woven carpets, never wavering from their intention to create original craft from the best materials available.

Wild Pear

Dombeya rotundifolia in full bloom is sight not to be missed during August and September on the hillsides of Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve in Howick. This small tree with dark brown, craggy bark and a rounded crown is literally covered in white blossom, which is particularly striking as the tree is usually leafless at this…

Karkloof Farmers’ Market

“Do you remember peeping nervously around the door to see if any cars where coming?” recalls Kim with a grin. Her partner in their passion project Karkloof Farmers’ Market, Andrea, giggles, “Yes – then hundreds of people came and our coffee station was chaos because we didn’t have any sort of system!”   It is astonishing…

Bridget Ringdahl

Not every environmental activist walks their talk, but Bridget does. Bridget Ringdahl recently won Gold in the Water Conservation Category of the Enviropedia Eco-Logic Awards for her exceptional work with the WESSA Water Explorer Programme, dressed in a striking outfit created from a discarded pilates ball, foraged plastic and old CDs. This recognition is well…

Lara Kirsten

Playing in the Desert Last month, Lara Kirsten wrapped her precious piano in blankets, tied it up with sturdy rope, loaded it in the back of a bakkie and headed into the desert.  “I couldn’t resist,” she says “the theme for Afrikaburn this year was PLAY. I am a pianist, I love to play, I…