Slow Midlands Meets Enaleni

The Slow Food movement, started 30 years ago in reaction to the introduction of fast food outlets in Italy, is flourishing in the Midlands right now. Three new communities have been formed – SF Community of Mpophomeni Food Conservation, SF Community of Midlands Regenerative Producers and SF Community of KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Supporters. The principles of…

Edible Weed Experience

When you book accommodation with Airbnb, a list of interesting things to do in the area, pops up. In collaboration with Slow Food International, Airbnb are encouraging unusual and unique foodie experiences. The Edible Weed Experience, is exactly that. “People traveling abroad are increasingly seeking authentic and transformative travel experiences. Slow Food can provide them…

Gladiolus

This year’s weather conditions seem to have suited the Gladiolus family particularly well as many species are flowering profusely. In Europe ‘Glads’ (originally South African) have been cultivated for over 250 years, they are popular garden plants and commonly used by florists around the world.  The genus name Gladiolus  comes from the Latin gladius, meaning…

Weenen

If you head out of Mooi River along the Greytown Road past Bruntville, then turn off to Middlerus and trundle along, you eventually get to Weenen. The drive is magnificent. A good dirt road through bushveld and past rural homesteads. This is tough country and I am always astonished at how people survive in this…

Wild Jasmine

Jasminum multipartitum If you want to attract birds to your garden, planting creepers and scrambling shrubs is always a good idea. The sweetly scented flowers of Jasminum multipartitum are host to many insects including the larvae of Cambridge Vagrant Butterfly, the Variable Prince Moth, Oleander Hawk Moth, Death’s Head Hawk Moth, and King Monkey Moth (ideal bird…

Wild Bread Co

Man cannot live on bread alone.  He needs music, poetry, flowers and long walks with the dogs too.  Paul Hildyard spends large parts of each day in his Wild Bread Co bakery, hand building beautiful loaves.  The rest of the time he relishes life in the Midlands – making the most of wonderful places to…

Forest Poison Rope

Strophanthus speciosus For years, when I walked in mist-belt forest almost daily, I was puzzled by the identity of saplings with shiny, elliptic leaves, that were growing on the forest floor. Eventually, I discovered they were Stophanthus specious – a climber, not actually a tree.   Usually the interesting spidery flowers are spotted fallen in the…

Alson Zuma

Leopards live in Fort Nottingham. Alson Zuma has never actually seen one. He has spotted the spoor, heard unusual growls and observed the remains of a fresh predator kill.  He knows they are there.  While some might avoid wandering through the forest and exploring the cliffs, Alson is undeterred. Much of the inspiration for his…

Coral Tree

Erythrina lysistemon, Zulu name: umSinsi Have you seen the orange blaze at the bottom of the Umngeni Valley Nature Reserve that is a group of Erythrina lysistemon in flower?  This variety is not usually found in this area and certainly not in the misty midlands.  There are some splendid specimens to be found planted in…

Denver Jardine is the Bee’s Knees

As a youngster growing up on the coast, Denver would join his Zulu pals to go fruit and honey hunting in the bush. “We’d grab our buckets, rob wild hives, feast on whatever we found and come home dirty, sticky and stung,” he recalls.  Denver was always fascinated by insects and snakes and learned a…