The main aim of the database, created for the Wildflower Wholesale Nursery website, was to collect searchable information about suitable plants for landscaping that occur or are adapted to the Highveld. Currently the database consist of about 900 plant species.
When planning a landscape, the most important initial action is to reconcile your expectations with reality. It is important to plant the correct plants for a specific area. Various parameters can be used to describe the specific landscape. For example, the area will be in a specific Plant Biome such as Grassland, Fynbos, Savannah etc. Secondly, it will be in a specific habitat (soil type, rocky outcrop, seep etc.) and finally the landscape will be in a specific climate (annual rainfall, frost, etc.).
For example, when you live in Gauteng your ideal choice would be Grassland plants that is frost tolerant, with loamy soil and moderate water requirements. Not long ago there was a very promising book published that grouped plants in Plant Palettes. Examples were given, for instance, of a shady garden, bird friendly garden, etc. The challenge arises when you start implementing and choose your plants that could work for your Palette in your area. For a plant palette to be successful, you also have to consider the Biome, summer or winter growing, habitat and water requirements. For this reason the Wildflower Wholesale Nursery database could help in your choice of a specific plant palette.
When you open the website (www.wildflowernursery.co.za) look for the link that says “Use the Indigenous Plant Palette” and click on that.
Once inside the Wildflower Wholesale Nursery Database, certain parameters can be set up in such a way that the database can be searched. The main parameters that you can choose from are the following:
- Botanical Name
- Common Name
- Water Requirements
- Growth Rate
- Flowering Time
- Flower Colour
- Plant Size
Let us start at the top:
If you know the plant name just type the name and press the search button. Otherwise scroll down and use the criteria displayed with associated drop-down lists.
The next step is to enter your choices that can be selected from the drop down list.
It is here that you must start applying your mind. ENTER AS LITTLE VARIABLES AS POSSIBLE. The challenge with a database like this is that you can only make ONE choice. A flower is either blue or white. It cannot be both. Plant height can only be 2m or 3m – it cannot be both or something in between. In this instance, rather select “Shrub” under plant type and see what happens.
For example, you are looking for an evergreen shrub with low water requirements. White flowers are preferable but not essential. It should also be able to tolerate sun. It must be reasonable frost hardy.
Let us now complete the blank list below:
You can either clear your entries or start the search:
The following displays the first few plants that were selected. If the selection you can choose from is still too large, refine your search criteria by choosing more variables. Otherwise scrutinise the list and if one catches your fancy, click on the lower right hand button that says view.
A detailed view of that particular plant will now be displayed (in this display it is slightly clipped):
The two variables, Region and Habitat, are search parameters that are still a bit tricky. This is because one plant can occur in many regions and in diverse habitats. But we are working on it.
The wildflower team is currently working on a solution to make this data more accessible as well downloadable from the database. The development of such tools together with the resolution of glitches unfortunately takes time and requires resources.
The aim is to create a tool that will greatly assist the novice or the person who is starting from scratch. In addition, raising awareness and increasing the demand for local plants will hopefully encourage more nurseries to stock our beautiful indigenous plants.
But assistance from you will also be greatly appreciated:
I always need more pictures, especially of the plant shape, flower and seed (habitat will also be useful).
Please send relevant info or any comments to [email protected].