September 2020 - Page 8

Gardens & Grounds - Leitch

One can ' t open any form of magazine , wildlife journal , social media page or listen to the radio without some sort of comment relating to humans ' impact and effect that we have on our environment and the world at large . One can ' t deny that as land custodians , we have an obligation to vet and or look after what is essentially our home , but one must wonder if instead of dictating to nature , we should rather be present in the moment and actually see what Mother Earth has to teach us . Those long-forgotten lessons swallowed up in the understanding that progress is building newer and better , when in fact the original recipy actually works .
It is to this , that one must look at the relationships that currently exist and wonder how we could play catalyst to encourage better and then , in walks the latest buzz word , diversity !
Wikipedia describes diversity as : “ species diversity is the number of different species that are represented in a given community . The effective number of species refers to the number of equally abundant species needed to obtain the same mean proportional species abundance as that observed in the data set of interest ”
To the layman , the effective translation of learned scholars is that the bigger the number of different species that work together , the richer the area becomes in its entirety . To this means , as custodians of San Lameer , we are obligated to enrich the area by ensuring higher diversity .
We have seen the work started by Ben some years ago addressing the imbalance within the gardens in relation to the water restriction problems by the introduction of the aloe gardens , and this year in particular proved to be a phenomenal show of flowers in the dead of winter , but the HOA has strived to look at other options to better the diversity within the estate and what better place than to look at a 3 million year old plant to show us how it ' s done .
Welcome the Protea .......... Family : -Proteaceae
Tribe : - Proteeae Genus : - Protea
Known as the Suikerbossie in Afrikaans and commonly called the sugar bush in English , due to excessive amounts of nectar the flower produces . Wonderful for birds and bees alike . Named by Swedish born Carl Linnaeus in 1735 after Proteus , son of Poseidon and shape shifter , highlighting the variety of plants found within the large Proteaceae family .
There are over 1500 species of different shapes and sizes , occurring naturally in the Southern Hemisphere . It is believed protea genus originated on the super continent of Gondwana and when the continent eventually divided , the proteas spread across the different continents and countries including South Africa , Australia , New Zealand and South America .
A survey conducted within the Umtamvuna nature reserve by the Atlas Protea project early 2003 indicated the presence of Protea caffra , Protea Roupelliae and Protea simplex , as well as a couple of species of Leucadendron commonly included in the Proteacea family .
Proteas can survive wildfires ; their dormant buds survive the wildfires that so often clear grasslands only to emerge once the fire has gone out . The plants are as such , hardy and can withstand the toughest of weather conditions . What ties all proteas of different varieties and types together is their proteoid root system , which makes them suitable for survival in soils not rich in nutrient .
It is because of these attributes and their proximity within the reserve , that the HOA decided to introduce 11 proteas to an area recently rehabilitated from Strelitzia encroachment to play their part in the contribution to diversity . As the National flower , the Protea is iconic and has proven to be a welcome introduction .

Brett Wortmann Leitch Landscapes Manager

Brett Wortmann Manager / Bestuurder