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Monday, 25 April 2011

Epiphytes

On Sunday while I was in Durban my friend Jane and I went to a place called Makaranga Garden Lodge for morning tea, had coffee actually. This Lodge is situated in the upmarket suburb of Gillits, just outside Durban. Be prepared add a lot of noughts to your cheque if you wish to buy property here.

When you turn off the road into the grounds of the lodge property you are in another world. Suddenly the city is gone and you in place that might have existed before man got here. The lodge itself is a modern building discretely tucked away among the trees and vegetation. The immediate grounds around the lodge are neatly manicured, but the rest of this very large property looks like there might be dinosaurs lurking behind every tree.

Durban lies in the subtropics with high rain fall, high temperatures and humidity in summer, what passes for winter hardly counts, plants thrive here.

Click on photos to enlarge.

I took about 200 photos, but the thing that struck me most were the many epiphytes  growing all over, in the trees and on dead trees and branches. The orchid growing on this tree is a typical epiphyte, or air plant. Epiphytes are not parasitic but use other plants as support.

Epiphytes growing on a dead tree. Epiphytes get all their nutrients from the rain and air, the also trap plant particles such as dead leaves among their roots.

Another view of the same dead tree above.

A totally different type of epiphyte, thought I could find out more about this particular type on the internet but there are more 15,000 types of epiphytes in the tropics alone.

 I write this under correction but I think this epiphyte is one of the bromiliads, there is several different epiphytes on this tree. The benefit to epiphytes growing on other plants in a forest is, more sunlight, better pollination and seed distribution.

Different again from the previous.

Another example.

Stags horn epiphyte.


This beauty growing in a container in the Lodge's guest lounge.

This one on the reception desk.

View of the lodge as you arrive.

Rates, rooms start from R1400, about, US$200per night. When I enquired about rates for the executive suites, the young man at reception gave me look which said, "if you have to ask the price you can't afford it.". He never told me. The lodge is ideally situated with easy access to major highways leading into the city, and all points, north, south and west. You can't go much further east, you'll end up in the Indian Ocean.

The coffees we ordered, with a savoury muffin for me with feta cheese and bacon, with extra butter and cream cheese, 99.9% cholesterol, very dangerous to let your cholesterol levels to fall to low! Jane ordered savoury scone with smoke salmon, came R78, about US$10. and worth every cent.


We spent about 2 hours exploring the grounds but I don't think we saw half of it. Another interesting feature is the priceless Shona and other sculptures scattered around the grounds. More of that in the next blog.

5 comments:

Kay L. Davies said...

Fascinating about the epiphytes, Phillip. Some of them are SO beautiful. Your photos are excellent.
And you're right, can't let your cholesterol levels fall too low. LOL
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Joyful said...

Interesting you should feature these plants now. I just finished reading The Orchid Thief. An interesting book. I love all your photos. They really show the beauty of the grounds and it sounds like you had a lovely time exploring.

Gaelyn said...

Fascinating plants and such a variety. Looks like a beautiful place for a walk and snack but couldn't afford to stay there.

Desiree said...

I think I've heard about this beautiful private garden/reserve, Phillip, but never got to see it when my son was living in Durban. I'm so glad you took us through it & I hope you'll share some more of the many pictures you took :)

I loved seeing all these beautiful epiphytes & yes, you're quite correct...that one was a bromeliad. Your tea and muffins sounded yummy!

Jo said...

Hi Phil, you have shown me a place I never knew existed. I will be sure to drag Grant there in May when we visit his mum in Durban. We have many tree orchids here in the wilds. Stanley and I need to go and collect them and bring them to my garden trees and stumps. Have a lovely week off. Love Jo