IUCN staff from the South Africa office supported the work of South Africa National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) on Thursday last week by transplanting Clivia miniata (bush lily) seedlings at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens in Johannesburg, South Africa. The activity was part of the team building exercise as well as a demonstration of environmental responsibility. SANBI is an institute under an IUCN member, the Department of Environmental Affairs.
As staff worked in the nursery, Solomon Nenunwi the Nursery Manager of Walter Sisulu Garden, educated staff on Clivia miniata, emphasizing that the plant does not occur naturally anywhere else in the world but the forests of Kwazulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Swaziland. Always growing under the shade, the bush lily flowers in August to November and sporadically at other times of the year, producing orange – and sometimes yellow – flowers.
After the nursery work, the Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc) rewarded the IUCN staff for the hard work in the nursery by giving them a free guided tour through the garden to the geological garden, the waterfall and the Eagle’s nests.
The tour to the geological garden was conducted by Professor Nick Grobler of BotSoc while Ms Karen Carstens, also from BotSoc, conducted the tour to the waterfall and the eagles nests .
Both Prof Grobler and Ms Carstens expressed their gratitude to IUCN for supporting the garden and encouraged staff to visit again with families to experience the other aspects of the garden.
IUCN Head of Office in S Africa, Mr Hastings Chikoko, commended both Prof Grobler and Ms Carstens for the educational tour and noted with appreciation the work that SANBI and BotSoc are doing in conserving the plant heritage of South Africa and also educating people on the value of nature.
SANBI manages nine National Botanical Gardens (NBGs) namely Free State, Hantam, Harold Porter, Karoo Desert, Kirstenbosch, Lowveld, KwaZulu-Natal, Pretoria and Walter Sisulu and located in six of South Africa’s nine provinces. South Africa’s national botanical gardens have, since their establishment focused on growing and conserving South Africa’s indigenous plants.
According to SANBI, the Walter Sisulu Garden was founded in 1982, but has been a popular venue for outings since the 1800's. The Garden has been voted the best picnic spot in Gauteng for 5 years in a row. The natural vegetation of the area is known as the 'Rocky Highveld Grassland' and consists of a mosaic of grassland and savanna, with dense bush in kloofs and along streams. The variety of habitats accommodates over 600 naturally occurring plant species. The Garden is home to an abundance of wildlife with over 220 birds species recorded on site. A breeding pair of majestic Verreaux’s Eagles nests on the cliffs alongside the waterfall.
For more information about Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden, click here