Amanda and I love to find natural areas that look like they have been gardened (and gardens that look like natural areas). This happens very rarely, as what we like in a garden requires balance, variety with simplicity, and a good colour mix. We are often looking at things at the wrong time of year, or one plant has taken over, or it has been dry and everything looks dead.
At Nyanga in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe we found perfection. There were amazing colour combinations, fascinating plants, and great textures. All this was set among rocks, and the occasional stump, with a great backdrop (of the rest of Zimbabwe).
The silver leaves plant is a Helichrysum (one of about a dozen that live there). The red is a Rumex (a dock). Orange flower balls on a stalk are Leonotis (probably molissima)
There were also about a dozen types of orchid we found flowering which Amanda wrote about here
Just while I am talking about Zimbabwe – you should come here. At the moment it is safe. The people are very very friendly. And it is a beautiful country full of amazing plants living in a great variety of habitats. Enough said.
We collected a plant story from Benjamin – the ranger at Matobo who took us to within 5 meters of a white rhino. His more important plant is Mopane (Colophospermum mopane). He was the first person to find a plant important for an ecological reason – mopane trees stop erosion. He went on to tell us about their medicinal properties. Fantastic (wind ruined the recording but we have some great photos of him).