Where have all the flowers gone?

2017-12-13 06:01
Once upon a time, at this time of the year, there were flashes of bright colours seen here in between the forlorn tufts of grass.

Once upon a time, at this time of the year, there were flashes of bright colours seen here in between the forlorn tufts of grass.

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“ONE of the least known natural jewels of the Midlands is probably the Umvoti Flower Reserve, on the shores of Lake Merthley…”, this described by the National Botanical Institute as being on a par with the famous West Coast wild flowers with special emphasis on the famous Hilton Daisy.

These opinions were expressed in 2004, two years after the official opening of the Umvoti Flower Reserve. It is now 2017, and as can be seen from the photo taken last week, there is an outer boundary fence, but the fence surrounding and protecting the reserve has disappeared. The trails, which enabled visitors to walk through the reserve without disturbing any of the plants, have disappeared.

Regarded throughout the world as a “charismatic” species because of its brilliant red colour, the Hilton Daisy (Gerbera Aurantiaca) is a “Red Data” highly endangered species, but is only one of a total of almost 100 flowering plants that grow (or grew) in the nearly two hectare reserve.

During the height of the season from October to early December, there should be up to 70 different plants in flower on any one day. From January to March the balance, with the main attraction ground orchids, should be seen.

Among the plants listed as grown in the reserve are a number which have traditional medicinal uses, including protection against lightning and madness and are said to be snake deterrents.

At the official opening of the Umvoti Flower Reserve in 2002, it was stressed that considerable publicity had been given, throughout the country, to the reserve and that it should become a drawcard to tourists with the accompanying
economic spin-offs to the district.


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