Thursday, 21 March 2013

February and March U3A

Christopher gave us a spellbinding talk and slideshow about plants seen on one of his trips to South Africa. In particular the photographs were taken in the Fynbos a natural shrubland or heathland in a small area of the Western Cape.The word Fynbos means Finebush. It covers 0.08% of the world's surface but has 3% of the world's flowers. some of the plants he showed in his photographs were Proteas, Heathers and Buchu, the latter cultivated for their essential oils which have medicinal properties. Hottentot tea, the Coral bean tree and Euphorbias were also shown. The wood from Camphor trees is used to make chests to store blankets as it protects against moths.
PlantZAfrica is a useful website to learn more about the indigenous flora of that region.
In the March meeting I gave a description of plants that are perennials but which many people do not know are edible. I shall be trialing out various ones and keeping you posted on what I think of them.
Useful books on the subject are: How to Grow Perennial Vegetables and Creating a Forest Gardening both by Martin Crawford of the Agroforestry Research Trust. He has an excellent website where you can purchase trees, plants and seeds. You can find it at agroforestry.co.uk

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