LOOK: KZN Coastal Botanical Society Indigenous Plant Fair a huge success

Some of the plants available at the plant fair. Picture: Dominic Naidoo

Some of the plants available at the plant fair. Picture: Dominic Naidoo

Published Sep 8, 2022


The sun shone brightly this past Sunday, warming both plants and people, some sprawled on the grass and some lounged on camp chairs. This year's KZN Coastal Botanical Society Indigenous Plant Fair returned to the beautiful Beachwood Mangrove Nature Reserve located on the northern banks of the Umgeni river.

Managing the event, Janet Longman, said “the original aim of the plant fair was to make indigenous plants available and accessible to the public as local plant nurseries may not normally keep a large range, or if they did, these nurseries were not accessible to the general public.”

Longman explained that it is vitally important that we plant more indigenous plants in our gardens as these plants are designed to grow here naturally. “They have natural enemies, animals and insects, which use them as a food source and thus prevent them from overpowering other plants which exotics do.”

Some of the plants on offer at the plant fair. Picture: Dominic Naidoo

Having many different species of indigenous plants and trees would also attract indigenous animals, such as small mammals, reptiles, birds and insects which, in turn creates a stronger ecosystem.

Speaking of the KZN April and May floods, Longman said that “in the southern areas of Natal where the flooding was particularly devastating, one can actually see that areas with natural, indigenous vegetation had very little damage compared to areas where exotic, non-native plants had proliferated.”

Picture: Dominic Naidoo

Native vegetation has evolved to withstand flooding during rainy seasons. Their roots run deep and bind the soil, preventing erosion and slowing down flood waters. This was evident at the Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve, where the flood waters engulfed most of the reserve itself but, when the waters receded, the reserve was almost completely intact.

The fair, which ran from September 3-4 , hosted numerous private nurseries from around the province, as well as the Botanical Society’s own nursery, selling 100% indigenous plants, ground cover and trees.

Environmental science graduates from the Green Buddies environmental NPO volunteered their time to assist at the event. Picture: Dominic Naidoo

Excited to be a part of the event, Mbuso Shandu, self-taught horticulturist and owner of Go Green nursery based in Cornubia, said “it is important that people plant more indigenous vegetation because they are resilient, drought resistant and actually heal the soil they grow in, unlike invasive species of plants.”

Longman wished to extend a “huge thanks to the Beachwood Mangroves for offering the venue, which included a Lapa and boardwalk where many families took advantage of the guided tours of the mangroves, and learnt about the environment.”

Some of the succulents on offer at the event. Picture: Dominic Naidoo

The Botanical Society Kwa-Zulu Natal Coastal Branch is a regional member of the Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc). It is a member-driven organisation which offers citizen scientists, amateur nature enthusiasts, the general public, and environmental experts the opportunity to join hands and be a part of finding solutions to biodiversity challenges across the country.

Some of the plants available at the plant fair. Picture: Dominic Naidoo

BotSoc’s mission is to win the hearts, minds and material support of individuals and organisations, wherever they may be, for the conservation, cultivation, study and wise use of indigenous flora and vegetation of South Africa.

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