This is 6am at the Durban Botanic Gardens with Chris Dalzell the Curator. Chris gave us a fabulous tour of the whole Gardens including the Cycad collection which is where we are in the photo. The Garden also has amazing birds like Pelican and Vervet Monkey. Today we are giving our workshops on orchid propagation from seed in the laboratory here. We have more people signed up for our workshop than any of the others….it’s going to be fun. The talk we gave last night went really well. Actually one of the orchids we found in the wild on Sunday was one that no one knew was at Vernon Crooks. More about that later. We better go and get ourselves sorted for a busy day.
Eulophia speciosa is one of the orchids that Margaret grows from seed in her lab and here it is flowering in the growing house. We like it. The trip around the growing area was realy inspiring and tomorrow we are getting up at 5.30 to have a special tour from Chris the Curator of the Botanic garden before it opens in the morning. A botanic gardens all to ourselves, how good is that.
In this photo you can see how we found out all about how micropropagated plants from the Durban lab are weaned and grown on. Under the fleece there are thousands of small plants in trays. Most of them are threatened medicinal plants. You can see that production from the lab is very high.
We spent this afternoon with Margaret in the Durban Botanic Gardens. Margaret runs the lab and after a tour where she showed us all her projects, we sorted out our plants for the workshop on Wednesday, and made sure we had all the equipment we needed. The lab is fantastic and most of her work is raising threatened South African medicinal plants. The plants are raised in the lab mostly by tissue culture and then grown on into large plants ready for sale or use in the Botanic Gardens. It was really interesting.
Today has been another very busy day. The congress started at 8:30 with speeches, two brilliant school choirs and then lectures. Laurens lecture was great and we also heard about work with medicinal plants in South Africa and other projects all over the world. As you can see we have put up our display and everyone has been really interested in our project.