Friday, July 14, 2006

A visit to the Karoo Botanical Garden in Worcester, South Africa.
On our way to the Small Karoo we made a quick stop at the Karoo Botanical Garden in Worcester. No way that we can drive past our favourite garden. As it is, we travel the 250+ kilometre(there and back) to the garden so often, they know us by name.

Photo left shows a very small portion of the botanical garden. I like this portion, it has a natural look and atmosphere. The syphostemmas with their fat naked stems and branches held up towards heaven, always catch my eye. The small flowers blooming between the large plants are gazanias. The very high tree aloe is Aloe barberae.

Something special amongst the aloes was the white Aloe ferox photo left and the red Aloe tenuior bush in flower photo below.
A white aloe ferox is scarce. The white Aloe ferox flowers become much lighter as they open and the antlers are maroon-black. A very nice contrast. see photo at the bottom.
Even with seeds from two white Aloe ferox plants, the chance of getting white is very small. It is better to have Aloe ferox with different color flowers growing together and pollinate them all with each other. Then sow 100-200 of those seeds and maybe you will get a few of them blooming white

red Aloe tenuior bush

photo left:- Alexandre ViossatThis photo was not taken in the Karoo Botanical Garden. Alexandre Viossat kindly permitted me to place the photo to show some of the different natural colors in Aloe ferox. These colours were not cultivated, the colours occur naturally in the very large Aloe ferox habitat.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

This excursion into the small Karoo is once more into the drier parts of the country to see some succulents. We were heading for Montagu.
The Klein Karoo will make the heart skip a beat of any person who loves succulent plants.
Kogmanspass is just a short tunnel through the mountain. Remarkable as it was built by hand 1876 - 1878

Geological history Kogmanskloof passes through folded layers of the table mountain sandstone in the Langeberge mountains. Rivers deposited the sediment of which these rock were formed along a coastline some 400 to 450 million years ago. Then about 280 million years ago compression forces in the earth's crust began folding the beds for the next 60 million years. Upon this followed forces which formed large crustal fractures roughly parallel to the present coastline. One of the largest of these, the Worcester Fault passes near the southern entrance to the kloof and displaced beds to the south of it downward by several kilometers. Kogmanskloof is but one of several deep gorges carved through the tough sandstone of the table mountain sandstone by the erosive action of swift flowing rivers for millions of years.

The view immediately out of the tunnel into the Kogmanskloof gorge.
It was a lovely winter day. This very hot region is greener in winter than in summer. As on most of our winter trips, the misty weather was not very good for photos but very much better than the summer heat for walking and climbing.

Rudi loves the climbing.  As geologist he is used to climb over rocks just to see what is on the other side of the rock.

photo below:-
The aloes on the slopes are Aloe comptonii.

The very short capitated racemes of Aloe comptonii The leaves are broad and short with blunt teeth.