1. New Albums and some changes
The latest genera Albums added to the Operation Wildflower Site are the ones on Metalasia, Brabejum and Bauhinia. This means that photos and stories of plants belonging to these genera already on the Site have been moved from the more general Albums called Shrubs and Trees into their own new Albums under Genera.
There is a genus Album in every case where enough material has been accumulated to warrant a stand-alone grouping of photos and stories. There are now more than 160 such Albums on genera of South African plants. The biggest ones (most photos) belong to the genera Crassula, Euphorbia, Pelargonium and Aloe. Keep watching, more will be added! If there is no genus Album yet on the plant you are looking for, check under Types or the Search Box.
In order to access all items on a plant of interest, the Search Box should be used, entering the botanical name of the plant. Most photos and stories on a particular plant are likely to be posted under Genera, (or if there are only few of them, in the conglomerate categories under Types). Habitat, Regions or Parks and Gardens may also contain some material on a species searched for, showing in the list generated when using the Search Box. The latest Parks and Gardens Album is the one on the Quiver Tree Forest.
2. Want to talk about an Album Item?
There is a new way of communicating with the Editor of this Site regarding any of the Album Items.
Please ensure that the Album Item concerned is clearly identified. Type its exact title as well as the Album Name in the Subject Line of your email. Please also state your name.
In some sinister cases plants served to cast spells or provide poison for evil deeds. At some point the cultivated plant also began to inhabit the gardens of humans for their beauty, for their flowers and sweet odours.
The beginnings of all this couldn’t have been easy. Water, winter, grazing animals, insects and a myriad of other challenges had to be overcome before gardens became effective ventures. Every new plant finding its way from nature to garden would always provide some challenges to the amateur gardener of ancient times, as well as even to today’s horticulturist!
But along came the scientific methods: observing, recording, repeating actions under controlled conditions and theory building that established standard procedures for doing things botanical on a vast scale, all over the world, in an ever growing economic sector. Variations of methods for all imaginable cultivation conditions and desired outcomes were made easy. Cross-pollination, careful selection of plants and related patience for testing many methodologies saw to the growing of cultivars upon cultivars that yielded plants never to be seen in nature as she lives independently.
Out there in the wild, nature is still carrying on with the evolving and maintaining of a wonderfully diversified plant world not affected by human fiddling to achieve commercial objectives. (We haven’t managed to usurp all the territory yet!) New plant species appear and adapt as they spread spontaneously to various environments. Many less known ones are awaiting our encounter or discovery in unknown spots where few people go.
At the same time our preoccupation with economic growth at all costs makes us push deeper into the realm of every country’s natural vegetation for progress and standing room(?) for all the new people in our growing numbers. Plants are bulldozed daily and succumb to our insatiable needs.
Operation Wildflower is a small but growing group of South Africans that search for plant habitat demolition events before they occur and then arrange with the authorities to remove the plants they picture for their gardens in a legal manner. They transplant them at home and look after what is pretty, exciting and would otherwise have been destroyed. The organisation has been around for about fifty years, has taught many members much about plants through the networking with knowledgeable members during (and after) the collection activities and quietly goes about the business of multiplying valuable indigenous plants. Some nursery people participate as well; they grow new plants from the seeds they collect from their saved plants once those have flowered, for
for selling on the open market.
We cannot deny progress, although we should all contemplate responsible limits to growth that society could agree on! When a plant species has become rare or threatened by extinction, little efforts like that of Operation Wildflower might contribute to survival of some. Other ways may have to be explored to sustain plant diversity for ensuring a balanced and sufficient response to the problem. But keen and willing people that spend their week-ends by looking in hidden spots, always between the marker flags of the designated area where the development will kill the plants, present one way of bringing more varieties of cherished plants to places where a second chance for flowering (and seed) can be guaranteed.