goose
Weekend Gardener
User avatar
Coatesville , New Zealand

Wonderful

27 Jul '06 9:25 am
Jack
I totally agree with the others and there is not a lot left for me to say as the others have said it all.
Thankyou for sharing your wonderful country with us. :D
Goose

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.-
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Liza
gardening consultant
User avatar
Waterloo, Belgium

Dear , dear Jack!!

22 Aug '06 4:41 am
I wanted so much to pay tribute to you, for your EXCELLENT work in these internet pages of our site! From the first moment you returned! But those moments, I was so full of the vacations trip preparation ; you know, household plus garden..Because I wanted to really read, think , feel, while I was reading and admiring. And now I have done so!

Simply: Thank you for the marvellous experience and new knowledge!! Plus, that even before I leave, you had inspired me to do something of this quality for you , when I'm back from my own holidays... I hope I offered you, too, a little of good quality happiness , like the huge one you offered me with your excellent narrative and photos...[/u]
"..So,perhaps, it is easiest, through awareness of flowers in particular, of their radiant beauty and purity, their vibrant colour, to come to the excellence of the One and be uplifted beyond thought to our divine selves".Dorothy Maclean

Liza
gardening consultant
User avatar
Waterloo, Belgium

Dear , dear Jack!!

22 Aug '06 4:43 am
I wanted so much to pay tribute to you, for your EXCELLENT work in these internet pages of our site! From the first moment you returned! But those moments, I was so full of the vacations trip preparation ; you know, household plus garden..Because I wanted to really read, think , feel, while I was reading and admiring. And now I have done so!

Simply: Thank you for the marvellous experience and new knowledge!! Plus, that even before I leave, you had inspired me to do something of this quality for you , when I'm back from my own holidays... I hope I offered you, too, a little of good quality happiness , like the huge one you offered me with your excellent narrative and photos...Thank you so much!
"..So,perhaps, it is easiest, through awareness of flowers in particular, of their radiant beauty and purity, their vibrant colour, to come to the excellence of the One and be uplifted beyond thought to our divine selves".Dorothy Maclean

Jack Holloway
Passionate Gardener
User avatar
SEQUOIA FARM Haenertsburg South Africa

Return to Samaria, December 2006

26 Dec '06 3:44 am
I spent three nights on Samaria this week with my cousins, 12 birders and my godmother, who at 83 says she is hard-pressed to remember a more exciting event in her over 60 years of coming to the farm. A thunderstorm the evening of my arrival brought much relief from the oppressive high-30s heat of the previous days and the next morning early we set of to see the water in the rock-pools above the valley, and hopefully even catch the last of the flow down the hillside. We find three elephants and later my aunt clambers up the slope above the pools where I photograph her. The party includes a man who is one of the South African experts on dragonflies and damselflies – he opens my eyes to a whole new world during the next three days. We wonder about the police helicopter – and decide that they are watching out for potential illegal border crossings – a big problem at the confluence of three countries, especially as impoverished Zimbabweans flock into South Africa to find work, and now skulk their way home with their year’s meagre gleanings…

Only later we realise the real reason. But first: an album of shots taken over the four days of animals, plants and vistas…
1 Young impala rams, frisky after the rain.JPG
2 We go to see the rockpools and find three elephants on the ridge.JPG
3 A police helicoptor flies up the river, then comes to check us and the elephants out.JPG
4 Mopanie worms eat the butterfly shaped leaves of the Mopanie tree and can completely denude hectares at a time, but the leaves are quickly replaced.JPG
4 With their juicy bits squeezed out and dried they are considered a desirable and nutritious delicacy by the African people - I have eaten them fried when they taste of prawn skins.JPG
5 Zebras are my favourite mammal from a design point of view, especially when they group themselves so beautifully!.JPG
6 And the Gnu is one of the least successful designs, with the oddest name...JPG
7 Baobab in summer clothing - I prefer their winter look.JPG
8 Bushveld landscape.JPG
9 Flowering more prolifically than I've ever seen it in a garden, Grewia flava goes by the delicious name of Velvet Brandybush.JPG
10 Minute flowers growing in the dry and stony veld, I suspect a legume, but I can't identify it.JPG
11 An even tinier flower, the whole head less than a cm at its widest, possibly Hermbstaedtia linearis of the rhubarb and knotweed family.JPG
12 Shy gentian blue  flowers on a scruffy little plant - Aptosimum lineare, I suspect of the snapdragon family.JPG
13 More beautiful than any birch, the Zebra-bark corkwood is tough; its Afrikaans name 'kanniedood' means 'won't die'.JPG

Jack Holloway
Passionate Gardener
User avatar
SEQUOIA FARM Haenertsburg South Africa

An all-time highlight!

26 Dec '06 4:18 am
My cousin and I are sitting chatting, looking down into the river bed. It is – and here I guess, because apparently no-one has ever measured it – around 100m across and 3 to 5 m deep. Usually it flows from season to season after a good year – the first thing we always check on as we arrive. In July it was flowing, a slight stream meandering its way from pool to pool where the animals drank; now there are only isolated pools. It seems though that during the last weeks there was enough rain for some flow to have happened.

Then, as we sit, I see a little wave come down the opposite side of the river. It takes me a moment to realise the river is coming down in flood. I shout. We shout. People come running. Within seconds I have my camera, mercifully with an empty memory. I shoot the first bit of water, rolling in like an incoming tide. I imagine a quick flow, lasting minutes or hours. But then the waters come… we still don’t know from where… a dam has broken, people say. I believe not. But somehow the river must have been supplemented with serious storm water just as it made its steady way down from 100s of km away. I have tried to get an answer from the weather bureau, but they are obviously on a skeleton staff at present. What follows is one of the most exciting things I have ever dreamt of seeing; There are stories of people going to bed with the river empty and waking with it full, but no-one has seen the likes of this before – by all indications the first full scale flooding of the river in 5 years. And we saw it!

I could write pages, and show many pics – we were three serious photographers. But I will let just a few of my pics tell the story. With only a few exceptions amongst the last six pics, they were all taken within a narrow band immediately in line with the camp. Enjoy: they tell a story of the immense power of nature!
1 I run for my camera and the countdown begins - in July we sat looking at a sliver of water flow across the river through this gully.JPG
2 As gently as the tide coming in the first water arrives.JPG
3 At this stage I half expected it to fizzle out into nothingness.JPG
4 Then I realised how much water there was behind it.JPG
5 And that a wall of water the width of the river - about 100m - was approaching.JPG
6 And approaching....JPG
7 And I started becoming aware of the foam.JPG
8 Modern cameras record the time - this is 3 minutes after the first pic was taken!.JPG
9  12 minutes - and the island is fast disappearing.JPG
10 Minute 13, and one of the hundreds of huge trees that rushed past.JPG
11 After 30 minutes the debris all but covered the surface of the water and after 3 hours the water reached its highest level.JPG
12 the 6th hour -  the sun sets on a wet world as the river pushes up into one of the little local gullies.JPG
13  6th hour - the river is right up and flowing serenely in the late afternoon light, but massive tree stumps still float by from time to time.JPG
14 The sun sets on a scene that seven hours before had been a deep dry riverbed.JPG
15 18 hours on and the level has dropped sufficiently for the island to start to re-appear - note the wet line on the opposite bank, showing a drop of 2-3m from the highest level.JPG
16 30 hours on there are still vast reflections.JPG
17 42 hours on and the sandbanks start to re-appear - within another 48 hours I hear the river was only just flowing.JPG

moosey
head gardener
User avatar

26 Dec '06 7:05 am
Dear Jack, your photographs are amazing, as is the 'countryside' you are so priveledged to share. And, of course, your own comments, which seem to combine the stateliness of a well-educated bloke (ha!) with the amazed eyes of a five year old boy. Hey - this is the way we all should be! It's the five-year-old inside us that we should always nurture, though I reckon most would happily thow away the twenty-year-old. Oops - no offence intended to twenty year olds!

Water is indeed one of the great forces - giving and taking life, and shaping the land, and soothing us silly over-heating people. It allows me to garden the way I do, to grow roses and trees and (aargh!) have greenish lawns to loll on in summer. Please, everyone, look after your water!

I agree about the zebras. Such lovely stripes. I seem to have run out of adjectives!

Thanks so much for your forum friendship. Yippee!
Head Gardener
mooseyscountrygarden.com
http://www.mooseyscountrygarden.com

Dixie
garden enthusiast
User avatar
Waikato-New Zealand

Wonderful

26 Dec '06 10:54 am
Here we are ,spending Boxing day quietly ,and I thought I'd pop into the forum to see if anyone else had called in ,and WOW -Jack's account of Nature's spectacle has been an amazing and unexpected adventure for us to all share -Thank you Jack -and also Moosey's thoughtful words mean so much too.
Dixie.

pumpkin
compost executive
User avatar
Dairy Flat, New Zealand

Stunning!

26 Dec '06 11:06 am
How scarey was it to be there?! I have seen water raging a few times, always from a safe vantage point and controlled. To be in the same actual area must have been spine-tingling!

Never tire of your pics Jack, the natural beauty you capture is quite breathtaking!

Liza
gardening consultant
User avatar
Waterloo, Belgium

Yes!! Stunning indeed!

26 Dec '06 11:40 am
Jack !! Thank you for this exceptional visual and narrative experience! That lovely coloured worm -- how can you...eat it! It is a piece of living Art , like the.... zebras! Nature is an amazing Garden!
"..So,perhaps, it is easiest, through awareness of flowers in particular, of their radiant beauty and purity, their vibrant colour, to come to the excellence of the One and be uplifted beyond thought to our divine selves".Dorothy Maclean

goose
Weekend Gardener
User avatar
Coatesville , New Zealand

Fabulous pics

27 Dec '06 9:03 am
You certainly do have some exciting experiences, Im so pleased that you can share them with us thru this wonderful forum.

Thanks Jack.
Goose

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.-
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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