Dear Friends, Rhodies and Countrymen,
The Roan team would like to wish you all a
“Happy floralliouses Cosmos EASTER”.
The importance of flowers in nature is everywhere—they can feed insects, birds, animals and humans; provide natural medicines; and aid in a plant's reproduction by enticing outside pollinators. Without flowers, plants would merely be green, and the world would be a duller place. Flowers are not just beautiful to look at, but they also serve a vital role in our ecosystem. Flowers attract insects and birds, which serve as pollinators for the plant itself. Insects and birds also help keep the surrounding ecosystem of flowers well maintained and healthy by utilizing the plants or flowers for their own growth. All plants produce a flower at some point during the process of their growth. The flower itself produces seeds, which are then transported by birds or insects, or by being released into the wind or dropped from the plant. Flowers help keep the ecosystem growing and provide new plant life, as well as help sustain local insects, birds and animals.
In addition to the benefits flowers provide to the local ecosystem, they also greatly benefit humans. The natural bugs and birds that flowers attract help keep our own surrounding environment healthy. The seeds that flowers drop and pollinate locally produce more plants, and more fruits and vegetables for us to eat. In addition, certain bugs such as bees, produce honey from the nectar.. The bugs and birds flowers attract help keep some "bad" bugs away, such as bugs that may eat or destroy other plants.
Flowers help our ecosystem flourish and attract a plethora of life to the area and facilitate the expansion of our environment. If flowers are cut down or destroyed before pollination can occur, that particular species has a high chance of dying off in that area. In addition, local wildlife will also vanish in that area since they would have no food.
Our attention this month is on a very special flower that was not originally indigenous to South Africa, but it has become part and parcel part of our scenery for over a hundred years. It is a pretty pink and white flower called Cosmos. So if it’s not indigenous how did it get to SA?
Cosmos is native to scrub and meadow land in Mexico where most of the species occur, as well as the United States, as far north as the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, Central America, and to South America as far south as Paraguay. One species, C. bipinnatus, is naturalized across much of the eastern United States and eastern Canada. It is also widespread over the high eastern plains of South Africa, where it was introduced via contaminated horse feed imported from Argentina during the Anglo-Boer War.
The Cosmos country region lies in the south western part of the Mpumalanga Province against the Free State and Gauteng borders and includes the towns of Secunda, Delmas, Leandra, Bethal, Standerton, Balfour and Greylingstad. You will find Cosmos along the roadside driving down to Durban in Natal as well as the North West; the region and country of De La Rey, in fact wherever there was a skirmish or battle and horses roamed you will find “COSMOS”
Cosmos are easy to grow and make good border or container plants. The flowers make for good decorations in flower arrangements and also attract birds, bees, and butterflies to your garden. They produce 6 to 10 cm. daisy-like flowers in various colours, including pink, orange, red and yellow, white, and maroon. These beautiful plants can grow up to 2 m. tall.
Read the words and listen to the song John wrote after being so captivated by the site of a cosmos field and how it is all related to the Anglo Boer War. The song describes how British soldiers that were sent to fight in the Boer war were fed “fake news” that the Boers were a bunch of crude, Godless, bloodthirsty ruffians. One British soldier noticed pretty flowers growing in the English gardens on his march to Tilbury docks to board a troop ship. During his combat in South Africa he also noticed pretty flowers growing in the towns that British occupied. He was amazed that each town had its own beautiful church and the Boer folk were no different from his own. They had deep Christian beliefs and family values. After the war he wondered what it was all about and realised the Boer nation had been torn apart. He also realised that the grief over the death of his comrades was just as traumatic as that felt by the enemy and their families. No difference between Johnny Boer and British Tommy Atkins! The advent of the growth of the cosmos brought on by the war would be a stark reminder of the tragedy of the Boer War. So remember when you see the cosmos it brings home the fact that flowers like the cosmos and the poppy bring honour and remembrance to those that died in conflict.
“All the Pretty Flowers” All along the roadside, up against the hillside, covering the fields, so beautiful and free; all around the crosses, all the pretty cosmos are growing where the battles used to be…Words and music John Edmond.