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…

Orange Desmodium

Desmodium repandum Forget the Big Five or the Tallest Tree, it’s the little things in the forest that are really fascinating. Desmodium repandum is found all over Africa and is flowering in the Midlands at the moment. Although the flowers are tiny – less than 15mm – it is hard to miss the bright orange-red…

Autumn – isikhathi sokuvuna

You will know that Autumn is on the way when you feel a delicious chill around your ankles and the leaves of exotic planes and pin oaks turn scarlet, cinnamon and purple before falling. You can almost feel time passing in the air. It is time to relax and tune into the natural cycles, slow…

Snug as a Bug

Winter days in the Midlands are glorious. How fortunate we are to have blue rather than grey skies.  It makes keeping warm so much easier – so make sure to let the sunshine in! Energy use usually increases in the colder months as people try to stay warm, but with constant price increases as fossil…

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…

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…

Sacred Stones

The Midlands is full of surprises, secrets lurk in unexpected places and hidden treasures are uncovered by those with a keen eye for the unusual. The Standing Stones of Karkloof are a perfect example. Karkloof residents have begun mapping areas of important natural and cultural heritage. One of these is the intriguing Standing Stones site,…

Rietspruit Without Reeds

The Rietspruit rises in the hills that fringe Cedara, Sweetwaters and Hilton, where there are many seeps and springs. There is no definitive source, a bit of a dilemma for the intrepid DUCT River Walk Team!  “We realised we would need to walk all three main tributaries to get a clear idea about this river,”…

Ouhout

Leucosidea serica Common Name: Ouhout; Zulu: umtshitshi; Sotho: cheche Before the grasslands midlands were settled by Europeans, there were few trees besides those clustered in damp or rocky places.  One of the original Midlands trees was Leucosidea serica. A real pioneer and found is a variety of places – grassand, forest edges, stream banks and…

Buddleja

Honey fragrance fills the mid-winter air as all the Buddlejas come into flower, lifting your spirits on the chilliest of days. Buddleja salviifolia is a semi-evergreen shrub with dark green wrinkled leaves which are whitish underneath. This versatile and frost hardy shrub is common all over South Africa, reaching 4 m high in good conditions. Buddleja occurs…