Mike, an architect friend, asked if I would help him plant some trees and re-establish the 'veld' around his new house at Perdeberg, in the Tankwa karoo. It's about 3.5 hours drive from CT, in an arid zone with an annual rainfall of about 200mm/8". So I suggested he bring me a couple of samples of plants growing around the farm and the koppie, to give me a clue ...help me decide what plants to take up.So the day before I left for NYC Mike dropped off FOUR bags full of plant samples! I think he asked his kids to do the collecting, and they enjoyed the game. Anyway I just stuffed the most important looking bag in my fridge, and left the rest in my office.
Now, 2 months later, I decided to tackle the plant identification - no mean task since the samples were collected at the end of a hot dry summer and had no fruits / seeds. But I know these karoo guys...after years of plant-watching the woody stems & tiny curled-up leaves speak to me...and even thought I don't know the EXACT species, I get the general gist. This 'je ne sais quoi' is not the kind of thing a proper botanist should say - I know - but the species names are pretty academic anyway because they're not commercially available. So I'll have to buy ecological equivalents.
At least I have the Perdeberg plant recipe to guide me: it's a smorgasbord of arid fynbos, with typical karoo aromatics (wild rosemary, harrpuisbos), some renosterveld bits and the usual awkward woody shrubs. It might not sound delightful, but trust me - when combined with karoo koppies and a long horizon it's Yum.