Bananas Don’t Grown in Dargle

Well, not usually. However, when uber-gardener Lawrence Qholloi decides to grow bananas (and coffee, mango and casava) – they do! “I am a bit obsessed with tropical fruit at the moment,”  he laughs, plucking an almost ripe papaya from the tree inside his tunnel beside the mist-belt forest. Clearly, the forest inspires him.  “It is…

Higgledy Piggledy Poetry

The battered ground between a petrol station and the railway tracks seems an unlikely spot for creativity to flourish. Factor in the fabulous coffee and the special brand of Steam Punk Magic that Michael Goddard has created in Lion’s River, and it starts to make sense.  Michael has changed our perception of rural KZN midlands…

Xola Keswa

Put on your Permaculture Glasses! Xola Keswa-Dlamini cannot pass a pile of rotting logs or heap of dry leaves without thinking how useful they would be in a food garden. “We are surrounded by so many valuable resources. There should be food growing everywhere. Unfortunately, many people still throw these resources away.” Xola didn’t always…

Falling Stars

Orange and scarlet Crocosmia are at their best in Autumn.  Crocosmia belong to the iris family. It is cosmopolitan family, consisting of approximately 82 genera and 1 700 species. Thirty-eight genera and over half the species occur in South Africa. They are very easy to grow and, ideally, should be left undisturbed to multiply on…

Ros Remembers Rocktober

At the end of April, KZN Midlands Clubs – The Long Donkeys and The Lions – will host  the Mixed National Ultimate Frisbee Tournament in Karkloof. Ros Dredge is part of the organising committee. “We are excited to show off the surroundings to out-of-the province players. The Karkloof Country Club has fields that will give…

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,”…

Eidin Griffin – Rebel Seed

Did you know that Heirloom seeds are older varieties which have adapted to their particular conditions and stayed true to type? Éidín Griffin has been saving seeds, spreading creative ideas and inspiring gardeners for many years and is really passionate about growing good food.  Ancestral seed saving was a necessity on farms in ‘the old…

Spirit of the Midlands

Ultimate Frisbee – The Beautiful Game Twice a week a motley crew of Midlanders gather to play Ultimate Frisbee on the fields at Lions River Club in Dargle.  As the sun sets, artists, architects, photographers, farmers, shoemakers, students and IT-types aged between 16 and 56 dash across the 100m field, deftly flicking Frisbees.   Sure, things…

It is a Goats Life

Fran Vermaak of Swissland Cheese really gets on with her goats – ensuring they produce the delicious milk which goes into her interesting cheeses. Convinced that real care makes a real difference; her goats have names, homes and a comfortable retirement. “My goats are free to roam in the grassland, so eat a variety of…

Purple Broom

Polygala virgata Common Name: Purple broom; Afrikaans Name: Bloukappies; Zulu Names: ithethe, unohlonishwayo obomvu; Sotho Names: hlokoa-le-lelie, ntsebele-ea-moru One of the lazy pleasures of a hot summer’s day is watching fat carpenter bees buzzing nectar from the plump purple flowers of Polygala virgata. This shrub is the spindly relation of the very popular small tree…

Slow, Green, African Christmas

Seasonal celebrations south of the equator, have a distinct flavour. We embrace the sun soaked occasions – the cry of the hadeda, bright agapanthus blue and summer storms that celebrate the uniqueness of our continent. We gather friends and family around colourful tables with the smell of hot earth or freshly cut grass wafting through the…

Peas on Earth

Nothing says springtime quite like a bowl of peas. Peas are definitely the hero of the season, all the nicer because fresh ones are only around for a short while. Sitting with a pile of pea pods in one’s lap quietly shelling them and scooping the tiny green treasures into a bowl is one of…