In January we harvested Sterculia seeds for the first time and managed to grow them.
We walked many times all over the reserve to see what had come up after the fire and to identify what we saw. Amongst them was a new Drimia, many Tritoniopsis, Heliophylla, Syncarpa etc. We concentrate more on the lesser known species now. We also kept an eye on the Ladyslipper and Vanstadensberg areas.
We gathered many partially burnt fence poles and electricity poles to build a platform for a new birdhide. There were some nice ones along the N2 but we had no success trying to get some volunteers to fetch them for us.
Our water supply is still very vulnerable and required the occasional repair. Thank goodness we have not been requested to re-route the pipe across the farm (yet).
The main theme this year has been the construction of the bird hide. This took many hours at home to convert the old Wendy House into something a bit more suitable and also the construction of the platform in the water.
The Boulder Trail has proved to be very popular, among ourselves but also among visitors, especially since Speelman and Patrick have done the much needed clearing and repairs.
It took a major effort to control all the aliens which have sprung up after the fire and we spent many Wednesdays in the Bird Hide area cutting and poisoning rooikrans and other undesirables. Thankfully later in the year we got much needed help from Working for Fire. We also introduced a spraying program against the Podylarias which is not yet complete but so far looks very promising.
The efforts in the nursery paid off and we had a good selection of plants to offer at our Open Day. The event is now widely known and we had our best attendance ever.
Later in the year we revamped the greenhouse to make it possible to get a wheelbarrow in and to make the plants more accessible. So far it definitely is an improvement. We hope to replace some of the torn shade cloth in due course.
The irrigation of the nursery was vastly improved by Spillhaus fixing the pump and supply pipes to the tanks. We still rely on the staff to do regular watering for us but hopefully in the future we will be able to put all of that on a timer.
We continued our efforts in the Arboretum including the planting of some more trees. Unfortunately due to various reasons the turnout at our workparties has not been very high so we are spread rather thinly and manage to do only the things we see as priorities.
2018 was a good year for the Friends and we hope to carry this through to 2019 where we plan no major new projects but rather consolidate what we have.