Special Arbor Week Edition
Sappi Rosebank is
03 September 2018
waterwise (you can be too) By Tim Neary, CSI and Enviro-conservation consultant
In keeping with Sappi’s sustainability theme of responsibility towards people, planet and prosperity, our Rosebank Head Of ce features a waterwise indigenous garden. As we celebrate Arbor Week 2018, we encourage you to use this garden for your enjoyment and relaxation. It may even prompt you to transform your own gardens in a similar way.
Why waterwise gardening?
It’s a wise and responsible choice. We are lulled into a false sense of security that we have abundant water in South Africa. When we open our taps, clean water pours out in apparent abundance... And yet the reality
is that we are classed as a water-stressed country with low and erratic rainfall and ever- increasing population growth that puts stress on our water resources.
Water is a nite resource. No matter how we try and combine the elements of oxygen and hydrogen, we simply cannot create water. It’s also a simple fact that the very water we have today was once the water that sustained the dinosaurs.
Sadly, since we do not take care of our rivers and catchment areas, our potable water is extremely costly to produce.
We get immense pleasure from our gardens; the pure and simple beauty of the plants, creating habitats and biodiversity of ora, watching garden creatures and learning about their habits. There is something
relaxing about gardening and running the soil through your ngers.
It’s about more than indigenous plants
The reality is that waterwise gardening is about far more than choosing and using indigenous plants. It is about knowing
the climate that you are gardening for, and then ideally choosing plants that are adaptable to the changing conditions and providing a habitat for a host of garden creatures, including bugs and so-called pests.
It’s about accepting that a weed is a wild plant growing where it is not wanted, and in competition with cultivated plants. There are also wonderful indigenous plants that, with careful selection, can bring colour to your garden.
Waterwise gardening takes immense patience and understanding that you are gardening in a natural way with the whim of nature, and wherever possible using a natural irrigation system... rain.
Our garden is an integral part of Sappi’s commitment to a sustainable head of ce. As a company that relies on a natural resource, wood bre,
we wanted our of ce to re ect our commitment to sustainability. As such we invested in a waterwise indigenous garden and an interior tout certi ed by the Green Building Council of South Africa. This re ects not only
our commitment to responsible construction, waste management and low-impact materials, but also to a modern, healthy working environment.
What’s in our waterwise garden?
Learn more about some of our indigenous plants
Dietes bicolor (African Iris or Fortnight Lily)
An indigenous clump-forming perennial plant with long sword-like pale-green leaves, growing from multiple fans at the base of the clump. This species belongs to the Iridaceae (Iris) family and can form large clumps if left undisturbed for years.
Plants prefer dappled-shade where they will ower in profusion, though they will grow in shaded areas with an accompanying loss of ower production. They are very drought tolerant.
Shade 1 Mix
Mackaya bella (River Bells)
An endemic hardy, evergreen shrub that owers from early spring to November. Traditionally, twigs were used for re-making and the Blue Pansy butter y caterpillar (Precis oenone oenone) feeds on this shrub.
It grows in deep shade where the owers seem to glow in the dark. It can tolerate a bit of morning sun, provided it is watered well. It’s fairly hardy and will grow in quite cold areas if planted under trees. An excellent garden and container plant that needs regular pruning, which also induces masses of owers.
Crocosmia aurea (Montbretia, Falling Stars or Valentine Flower)
A perennial owering plant belonging to the family Iridaceae. The genus name is derived from the Greek words krokos, meaning ‘saffron’, and osme meaning ‘odour’, as dried leaves of these plants, when immersed in hot water, emit a strong smell similar to saffron.
These plants live in large colonies in shady forests and river banks. They prefer moist habitats, at an altitude below 2,000 metres above sea level.
03 September 2018
Shade 1 Mix
Plectranthus ernstii (Bonsai Mint, Bonsai Spur ower)
A slow growing, semi-succulent perennial herb with swollen stems and a compact habit that resembles a bonsai. Ideal for pot plants and rockeries. Its tuberous roots develop at soil line, making it a great choice for bonsai.
This species occurs naturally in scarp forest, in humus-rich pockets of soil in rock crevices. The soil is mineral poor, but well drained. The aromatic leaves possibly discourage insect predators.
This plant is ‘Near Threatened’.
Watsonia (Bugle Lily)
A genus of plants in the iris family. The most commonly cultivated species is the pink- owered Watsonia borbonica and its white mutant ‘Arderne’s White’. There are 56 accepted species in Southern Africa, with two varieties. All are perennial herbs growing from corms and producing erect spikes of showy owers.
Watsonias are native to South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Most are fynbos plants, adapted to a Mediterranean-type climate, but some occur along the eastern and inland areas.
Shade 2 Mix
Asparagus densi orus ‘Meyersii’
(Cat’s Tail Asparagus)
Also known as the asparagus fern, but it is not a true fern. This perennial has compactly clustered foliage on arched fronds resembling cat’s tails. Tiny, white, fragrant, star-like owers that occur in summer are followed by showy red berries in March that ripen to a bright orange-red; each containing a single black seed that are very attractive to birds.
This plant grows in any soil and will tolerate some drought and periods of neglect once established, but prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter and is watered moderately. It is naturally pest and disease free.
03 September 2018
03 September 2018
Collaborating to protect
an endangered tree
Warburgia salutaris, also known as the Pepper Bark, was once widespread in Southern Africa. Already back in 1926, it was documented that due to high utilisation this tree could become extinct.
Today, the IUCN Red List (2007) rates Warburgia salutaris as ‘Endangered’ both globally and nationally.
Wild populations of this species have been found in Mozambique, SA, Swaziland and Zimbabwe (www.iucnredlist.org). However, the current status of the plant in these countries is relatively unknown, and it is suspected that it has gone extinct in the wild in most cases due to unsustainable harvesting.
A publication by Diederichs (2006) indicates that In South Africa, the species is now found only in protected areas and as ornamental trees in domestic gardens.
A tree of high value
The Pepper Bark’s pure economic value leads to unsustainable use and poaching of the components used in traditional medicine. Losing this species would have severe consequences on the traditional medicine trade where the bark, stems, roots and leaves are used to treat colds and respiratory complaints. It is also used as a tonic for all health conditions, including fever, malaria, in uenza, coughs and as a natural antibiotic for chest infections.
The tree is also used for the treatment of venereal diseases, abdominal pain and constipation, cancer, rheumatism and stomach ulcers. It is applied topically to cuts, on the temples for headaches and
has been used
as an aphrodisiac (Diederichs, 2006). More recently, it has been used in the treatment of HIV (Lumbe pers. comm).
It’s worth noting that many of the medicinal claims of the Warburgia have been scienti cally con rmed and
that the medicinal properties are sought after
by western homeopathy for a number of ailments.
Unacceptable harvesting practices
In the past, only traditional healers
Warburgia seedlings cultivated at Sappi’s Shaw Research Centre.
would harvest the bark of the tree. Thin strips would be taken, which allowed for the plant to regenerate with relative ease.
However, in recent times commercial gatherers who cross the fence into the Kruger National Park (KNP) are practicing destruction harvesting of the Pepper Bark and sending the bark to the muti markets in Johannesburg and Durban.
Through working with the traditional healers, acceptability for nursery grown seedlings has been achieved.
Sappi became involved
In 2014, Sappi became involved in a
project with the Kruger National Park where seedlings were to be grown and given to traditional healers on its borders. It has enjoyed immense success, with over 30,000 seedlings grown to date. Through the project, it has become acceptable to use leaves and twigs harvested from trees as young as four years old, and thus not having to wait some 15 years to harvest the bark.
Continue reading on next page ⊲
Traditional healers with their nursery grown Pepper Bark seedlings.
03 September 2018
Collaborating to protect an endangered tree continued...
The tree is a challenge to grow from both seed and cuttings, and in the wild under stress it holds back on seed production. Through the formation of a working group of scientists and naturalists, these challenges have been resolved to a greater degree. Gene banks and seed orchards have been created within the working group partnership.
Interest in the project has resulted in assistance being given to Zimbabwe and Swaziland, as well as the extension of the project to areas in South Africa where it once occurred naturally.
The Warburgia project is funded by Sappi and the working group consists of Karin Hanwegg from the Agricultural Research Council Nelspruit, Willem Froneman from SANBI Nelspruit, David Everard from Sappi, Michele Hofmeyr and Tim Neary.
The Warburgia collaboration has allowed for an easy working template for endangered trees that are a challenge to grow. As such work on the next project in 2019 will commence with the Prunis Africana.
Did you know?
The Warburgia is the only known tree under armed guard in a protected area in South Africa. It
is hoped that the wild populations will regenerate themselves naturally once not under direct threat
Rangers on bicycles help to protect the Warburgia in the Kruger National Park.
Through illegal practices, even the thinnest branches are stripped and often the whole The Pepper Bark in full splendour. tree is debarked, resulting in its destruction.
photo credit: Ted Woods photo credit: Ted Woods
03 September 2018
With Spring around the corner, here’s your chance to win a R500 voucher from the Garden Shop. Fill in the crossword puzzle below by answering the questions based on the content in this edition.
How to enter?
• Print out your crossword, complete it and scan and eMail your entry to [email protected]
• Deadline for entries: Friday 14 September 2018
2 Wild plants in competition with cultivated plants.
4 One of Sappi’s collaborative partners on the Warburgia project.
5 This tree is known for its healing properties.
8 The common name of a plant with a similar smell to saffron when put in hot water.
9 One of the things to consider before planting an indigenous garden.
10 Another name for the Warburgia salutaris.
1 We don’t have an unlimited water supply. Water is a _____________ resource.
2 One of the plants in our of ce garden; a type of fynbos.
3 A part of the Pepper Bark used for medicinal purposes.
6 Our Rosebank garden is made up of these types of plants.
7 Traditional healers use the Warburgia to treat this serious illness.
11 Our Head Of ce garden uses this type of water for irrigation.
Name and surname: Ext no:
Sappi Arbor Week crossword puzzle competition
Fill in and win