As we step into September and welcome in spring, it is time for the flowers to start blooming, and the trees to flourish with new leaves sprouting out. The gardens at Granny Mouse Country House and Spa are always stunning, and well maintained by the garden and grounds manager, William Brown- who has a vast knowledge on all things flowers and garden related. If you birthday is celebrated in September, and you are unaware of what flowers represent your birth month, then consider taking a keen interest in the Aster and the Morning glory – as these are your birth flowers. Flowers are seen as a gesture of love or friendship and may have a special symbolism attached to it. Asters They come in a variety of purples and pinks and regarded as a feminine flower representing positivity. They prefer cooler climates with relatively wet summers. They enjoy full to partial sun in which to thrive. According to Horticulturist at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa, William Brown: “Asters should be planted in early to mid-spring in fertilised and moist, well-drained soil and water thoroughly”. Morning glory These feature in an array of pink, purple and blue shades and is a symbol of affection. What is interesting to note about these flowers is that blooms open in the early morning and generally curl closed later in the day. “These flowers are annual climbers that prefer a sunny, sheltered area to grow in. They do however need a lot of sun to reach their full potential. They should also be planted in well-drained soil and should be planted early in the season. Another tip is that if you are planting from seed, soak them first for a day before planting,” Brown adds. According to proflowers.com, “it’s estimated that there are more than 600 different species of these colourful wildflowers. Ancient Greeks name the aster after the Greek word (astér), meaning star. They often used asters to create wreaths, which they would place on altars to pay tribute to the . . .
The Plettenberg Hotel in Plettenberg Bay offers unparalleled sites for whale-watching and invites visitors to enjoy unforgettable whale-watching experiences and learn more about these majestic sea animals. Visitors to the hotel are afforded the experience of watching whales from the comfort of their hotel rooms in the sea-facing suites. Around 100 Southern Right Whales migrate to South African shores from the Antarctic to give birth and mate along the southern coast. This happens between June and November every year. The hotel is situated on a rocky headland in Plettenberg Bay along the famous Garden Route and is a haven for Southern Right, Humpback and Bryde’s whales. It’s important to note that excursions restrict viewing distances and time spent with each animal so that there is minimal interference and the whale is not disturbed. That being said, if you’re lucky, you can enjoy a spectacular display of breaching, tail and flipper slapping, sailing and spy hopping. “It is important that we take steps to ensure the health and well-being of these creatures that grace our shores” says Jacqui Elliott, CEO of The Collection by Liz McGrath. “Not only do they bring joy to those who love whale-watching, but they are critical to the environment and need to be conserved.” CLICK HERE to submit your press release to MyPR.co.za. . . .
National Arbor Week is allocated for the planting of trees and to educate the general public on the importance of greening in the cycle of life. National Arbor Week in South Africa, which usually takes place in September, is the time of the year when all South Africans are called upon to plant an indigenous tree, as a practical and symbolic gesture of sustainable environmental management. At Servest, this forms part of a moral obligation by the CEO and his team. “Our landscaping department drives the culture of greening, how can we not practice what we preach’’, says Steve Wallbanks. Servest recently relocated to Waterfall Logistics Park in Midrand and plan to contribute towards growing more trees in the region. In honouring this commitment, South Africa’s national tree, a Yellowood (Podocarpus) tree was planted at the Servest Head Quarters (HQ) on Monday, 03 September 2018. Planting indigenous trees are important in our ecosystems, especially due to the benefits this has when it comes to water conservation. This is particularly important for our country, given the recent droughts; and our need to use water wisely to ensure our future generations have sufficient natural resources. Steve emphasises, “We understand this importance and take our commitment to creating a sustainable environment, very seriously.” In this regard, they grow their own indigenous trees on a farm outside Mpumalanga. These trees and other plants are then used to establish magnificent landscapes all over the country that allow ecosystems to thrive and create self-sustaining environments. According to documented research, over and above the ecological benefits, such as the reduction of air pollution, the benefits of urban trees include beautification, reduction of the urban heat island effect, reduction of storm water run-off, reduction of energy costs through increased shade over buildings, enhancement of property values, improved wildlife habitat, and mitigation of the overall urban . . .
Vietnam is the worlds largest recipient of illegal rhino horn from South Africa. To reduce rhino horn consumption and therefore demand, Wilderness Foundation Africa is working with school-going Vietnamese youngsters to create a generation of ambassadors who will grow up to be in a position to influence their peers, parents and families to reduce and ultimately stop the demand for rhino horn. Building on the story and campaign developed with the expertise of Boomtown in 2015, Rhino Ranger returns this month for a second instalment of the Rhino Ranger comic book. Rhino Ranger is a superhero character that was conceptualised and created to spread the message of the “Wild Rhino | Vietnam, be my Hero” campaign to the target audience in Vietnam. The story of Rhino Ranger continues as he travels to Vietnam to discover why his mother was killed in South Africa. “Our first edition was incredibly popular, and our competition to become a Wild Rhino Youth Ambassador has been a huge success,” remarks Cheryl Reynolds, Relationship and Communications Manager of Wilderness Foundation Africa. "To target a younger audience, we are adding an activity book for those under 12. It's incredibly exciting to see the campaign grow and reach more young Vietnamese children and mould future generations.” Using cultural insights, the personal experience of the Wilderness Foundation Africa team who have been to Vietnam on various occasions throughout the campaign, Boomtown was able to create a comic that was truly believable to its readership. “The appearance of streets and the depiction of the culture need to be a true reflection of Vietnam,” remarks Andrew MacKenzie, Boomtown Managing Director, who has visited Vietnam with the Wilderness Foundation Africa when it first launched Rhino Ranger. “We need the youth that we engage with to buy into the campaign and become ambassadors for change. We cannot do that if they cannot connect with our content.” The story for each edition is left . . .
While studying her three-year National Diploma in Horticulture at Durban University of Technology (DUT) between 2012 to 2015, Amanda Maphumulo never envisioned working alongside the author of ‘Wild Flowers in KZN’ – a reference book that was instrumental in achieving her diploma. But in 2016, Amanda was invited to work with the renowned horticulturalist and landscaper, Elsa Pooley, landscaping and establishing the indigenous gardens at the mature lifestyle village, Renishaw Hills. “In high school I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I knew it was something to do with plants and nature,” recalled Amanda. “I was excited to get to DUT and actually view plant cells through a microscope. We didn’t have a science lab or microscopes at school so I’d just learnt about them in books.” On completing her studies, the 28-year-old Magabeni resident didn’t have any leads on a job so she started researching nurseries around the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast area. “I found Izinyoni Indigenous Nursery which I thought would be perfect, even if I could get a volunteer position, it was close enough to travel. I arrived there with my CV and diploma and said I had studied horticulture. Although there wasn’t a position available, I said I’d do anything to work near plants, pick up litter, whatever!” Her determination paid off and she started working in a part-time capacity in 2015. The following year she was introduced to Elsa Pooley. “I had been learning from her book at university, and now I was getting to meet her. It was such an honour.” Amanda was invited to join the Renishaw Hills’ team in 2016, working as a Garden Installation and Maintenance Supervisor. Amanda works closely with Elsa, establishing indigenous gardens at each residence on the lush estate. Elsa draws up the landscape designs and Amanda will work from these, planting the gardens and often, using her own creativity to design the gardens herself. “I’ve learnt so much from Mrs Pooley, she’s passionate and . . .
It is estimated that each year, 8 million tonnes of litter end up in the environment - causing a serious threat to people, wildlife, soil, water and air. The World Cleanup Day is a call to action for the public, decision makers and all citizens alike, to take real action in solving the waste problem. For the past 22 years, Plastics|SA has been partnering with Ocean Conservancy by coordinating South Africa’s involvement in the annual International Coastal Cleanup Day. This annual event takes place on the third Saturday in September and sees thousands of volunteers each year collecting and removing litter from our waterways as part of Cleanup & Recycle SA week. This year, the week will take place from 10-15 September 2018 - culminating in the first World Cleanup Day on Saturday, 15 September 2018. “This is the biggest positive civic action the world has seen, and we are fortunate to be part of this global movement that hopes to inspire change in human behaviour,” says Douw Steyn, Sustainability Director of Plastics|SA. Plastics|SA’s commitment to reducing packaging waste Packaging waste continues to be one of the biggest culprits when it comes to pollution of our water sources and marine environment. However, as one of the first signatories of the Marine Debris Declaration, whereby 74 plastics associations from around the world have committed themselves to fight marine litter in 2011, Plastics|SA actively supports projects in six key areas aimed at contributing to sustainable solutions, namely education, research, public policy, sharing best practices, plastics recycling/recovery, and plastic pellet containment. “We have managed to get other packaging streams and retailers to support our efforts and recycling initiatives, such as our beach clean-ups, Operation Clean Sweep, sponsoring litter booms and the Aqua Amazing schools’ education programme. Last year alone, we donated 350 000 yellow refuse bags that were used for clean-ups around the country . . .
Former competitive South African pool swimmer Sarah Ferguson's close encounters with nature on her recent Elephant Coast expedition have unequivocally reinforced her determination to expose the dangers of plastic pollution. As an ambassador for SPAR Eastern Cape's Stop Plastic campaign, Ferguson swam 100km over a six-day period, from Ponta Dobela in Mozambique to Sodwana Bay in KwaZulu-Natal last month. In July, Ferguson linked up with SPAR EC to support them in their Stop Plastic campaign, which was launched in April. The Eastern Cape retail giant are focused on ending the practice of single-use plastic by encouraging consumers to consider the dangers the material poses to the world and offering them alternative and viable packaging options. The chief objective of the swim is to create a seven-part documentary series which Ferguson's environmental movement, Breathe Conservation, is producing to demonstrate the threat of plastic pollution. During her swim, the Cape Town-based physiotherapist said her intimate encounters with ocean animals had made a lasting impression. "The sound of humpback whales and the waves pushing me from behind, plus the odd turtle and shark sighting, was enthralling and filled me with such a sense of awe and immense well-being," said Ferguson. "Also, being totally exposed to the elements was utterly invigorating and freeing." She spoke about the importance of society taking responsibility for the threat posed by plastic. "The issue of plastic pollution is a global one," she said. "The marine animals I was privileged to swim amongst are essential for our ecosystem. "They do not have a voice to speak out on the negative effects of human ignorance and waste and I am choosing to use my voice to advocate on their behalf. "We are destroying the planet we are called to look after. It is not too late to change but if we do not change our behaviour today, the next generation may not have the privilege of encountering . . .
The South African plastics industry has reiterated its commitment to keep South Africa’s water sources free of plastic pollution. Plastics|SA’s Executive Director, Anton Hanekom, said reducing the amount of plastics that make their way into streams, rivers and the ocean is one of the biggest focus areas for the plastics industry worldwide today. Plastics|SA was one of the first signatories of The Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter, a global declaration and public commitment by the international plastics community, signed in March 2011, to address the issue of plastics in the marine environment. Operation Clean Sweep was developed as an important step towards implementing the core principles of this declaration. “When we re-launched Operation Clean Sweep in South Africa as one of our product stewardship programmes last year, our call went out to every segment of the plastics industry, including plastic producers, transporters, bulk terminal operators, recyclers and plastics processors, to implement good housekeeping practices. Every employee of every factory has a role to play if we are to achieve our goal of zero pellet, flake and powder loss. We need the commitment from every person in every company, from top management to shop floor employees, to help protect the environment and save valuable resources,” Hanekom says. Pellet, flake and powder loss has many negative impacts on individual companies, on the plastics industry as a whole and on the environment. Slips and falls caused by pellet, flake or powder spills in factories are one of the causes of accidents in the plastics industry, resulting in lost work time, higher worker compensation costs and lower employee morale. Once spilled, they can end up in waterways and the ocean if they are casually swept into storm drains instead of properly cleaned up and discarded. “All employees in every aspect of the industry must be educated on how to properly handle and . . .
Entries are now open for the country’s most prestigious accolade for sustainable restaurants. Launched in 2016 as a first for South Africa, the Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award acknowledges a restaurant that brings its customers seasonal, local and responsibly produced food. “We launched the award to acknowledge the one restaurant leading the pack in South Africa,” says Eat Out Editor, Linda Scarborough. “We’re looking for an awareness of not just the environment and higher animal welfare standards in farming, but of human health and social justice, too.” Since the award’s inception in 2016, more restaurant owners have worked to make connections with their farmers, asking for proof of claims from suppliers, taking steps to improve their own methods and menus, and thus improving the education of their consumers. “We hope to continue and encourage this trend to foster sustainable practices in South Africa,” Scarborough adds. Says Feroz Koor, group head of sustainability, Woolworths Holdings: “Each year it becomes more apparent how important it is for us all to be aware of our environmental and social impact. Restaurants have a vital role to play because they bridge the gap between food suppliers and diners, and can influence both sides. Our aim with this award has always been to increase awareness and inspire all parties to reduce their impact. We are starting to see the results of this reflected in the entries.” Entrants can find the entry form on the Eat Out website here. Entries will be judged on a strict set of criteria in three categories: responsible sourcing, community impact and environmental impact. Scores are allocated for the sourcing of meat, seafood and fresh produce; the design of menus; the impact of the restaurant on its surrounding communities; treatment of staff; use of resources like water and electricity; and efforts to recycle, amongst other measures. Last year’s winner was Camphors at Vergelegen Estate in Somerset West. The . . .
Gamtoos Valley's Kouga Dam is at a low...6.9% We all need to be waterwise and save as much water as we can. What do you do to save water? Do you shower in a plastic 'bowl' and reuse the water to flush your toilet? Do you have a plastic container in your basin to harvest water when you wash your hands, to reuse the water on your potplants? Please be waterwise and save water! Water from the Kouga Dam in the Gamtoos Valley, is distributed to consumers by means of a system of canals and pipelines. The Kouga Dam and the main canal supply water for both irrigation and urban use; the branch canals are used mainly for irrigation and the Loerie Dam for urban water supply only. Water is supplied to the Port Elizabeth Municipality's purification works at the Loerie Dam site by means of an outlet control tower and tunnel. The main canal starts at the Kouga dam and ends at the Loerie Balancing Dam. The canal system consists of canals, siphons, balancing dams and pipelines. The total length of the main canal is 97 km (72 km canal, 17 km siphons and 8 km tunnels). The total length of the branch canals is 30 km and the total length of the pipelines is 91 km. In addition to the Loerie Balancing Dam, a further two balancing dams were constructed along the route of the main canal to prevent the wasting of water due to fluctuations of demand. The main canal has a carrying capacity of 8,5 m3/s at the Kouga Dam. The carrying capacity decreases at each of the balancing dams until the ultimate caring capacity at the point of discharge of the canal into the loerie Dam is 3,1 m3/s. The Loerie Dam with a capacity of 3,4 million m3 consists of an earth-fill embankment with a clay core and a side channel spillway on the left flank of the dam wall. The dam also has a crest spillway which was added in 1983 after the earth embankment had been overtopped on two occasions. From the Kouga Dam, irrigation water is supplied by means of the canal and pipeline system to more than 7400 ha of . . .