A unique ecol­ogy

Get­ting to grips with wet­lands

Condé Nast House & Garden - - FIELD NOTES -

Wa­ter world

A wet­land is a dis­tinct ecosys­tem in­un­dated by wa­ter ei­ther per­ma­nently, or sea­son­ally – as is the case at Arderne Gar­dens.

The pri­mary fac­tor that dis­tin­guishes wet­lands from other land forms or wa­ter bod­ies is the char­ac­ter­is­tic veg­e­ta­tion of aquatic plants, adapted to the uniquely boggy, hy­dric soil.

Safe haven

Wet­lands are a crit­i­cal part of our nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. They re­duce the im­pacts of floods, ab­sorb pol­lu­tants, and im­prove wa­ter qual­ity. Wet­lands pro­vide a unique habi­tat for a mul­ti­tude of an­i­mals, birds and plants and con­tain di­verse life, sup­port­ing spe­cialised plants and wildlife found nowhere else.

On stage

Unique wet­land plants seen at

Arderne Gar­dens are the en­dan­gered Bloukaloss­ie iris (Ixia mon­odelph) whose habi­tat is re­stricted to the low-ly­ing, wet­land habi­tats of the Cape, and the en­demic Wat­so­nia tab­u­laris with flame­coloured, sun­bird-en­tic­ing flow­ers – a spec­tac­u­lar sight at Arderne in spring.

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