Indigenous Nursery News Blog

Indigenous Grassland Biodiversity Walk with Prof Braam van Wyk

After 25 years of restoring a section of disturbed grassland at Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery, I am so excited that Prof. Braam van Wyk will be leading a walk through this beloved part of my farm in October.

 

I have been fascinated and delighted by how the grassland ecology has increased in complexity since we have restored this piece of land.

Braam’s passion for bringing botany and ecology to the public in an understandable and interesting manner made him my first choice to lead this special walk.  We will be hosting two days of this walk - on both Saturday the 24 and Sunday the 25th of October.

For those who read my article Planting a Grassland Garden with indigenous plants in 10 steps, this is a great insight into gardening with nature, and will give you plenty of grassland garden landscaping ideas.  Please book early to avoid disappointment. Details for this walk and contact number are on our events page. Please remember to wear sunscreen, bring comfortable walking shoes and a hat, and a water bottle too.

About Prof. Braam van Wyk

Professor Braam van Wyk brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience. He is based at the Department of Plant Science, University of Pretoria.  Braam is a plant taxonomist and has authored and co-authored numerous publications on the botany of Southern Africa, including several books.

Among his published works are Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of the Highveld (Struik 1997), How to Identify Trees in Southern Africa (Struik 2013) and Pocket Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa (Struik, 2015). We use the Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of the Highveld extensively at Random Harvest, and have found it to be an invaluable help time and time again.

About our restored grassland

Restoring the grassland area of Random Harvest with minimal intervention has been an exciting journey.  I have watched as the highly invasive Black and Silver Wattle (Acacia mearnsii and A. dealbata) were removed making way for grazing, and now for the past 13 years or so, the grassland plants have been allowed to recolonize without planting, except for some suitable trees.

The naturally occurring grasses and grassland flowering plants have created habitat for a wide variety of birds (Pin-tailed Whydah, a number of Cisticola species, Cape Longclaw (previously Orange-throated Longclaw), Spotted Thick-knee (previously Spotted Dikkop), African Stonechat, and the African Wattled Lapwing. The latter breeds in the grasslands at Random Harvest. The Zitting Cisticola, Marsh Owl and the Black- crowned Night-Heron have been seen near the dam).

Small mammals (Scrub hare, Slender Mongoose, Spotted Genet and Hedgehogs), Terrapins, and the rare and threatened Giant Bullfrog have also made this area part of their home.

2015 was our designated year for burning the grassland, an important tool in maintaining the rhythm of clearing and regeneration that nature uses to maintain the ecological balance of an area.  With the careful management of the burn by my staff, a bit of spring rain and beautiful warm days, the plants are already sprouting, and we anticipate a good variety of spring flowers to be seen on the walk.

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