Each year I return to my native Zimbabwe to go camping in the Eastern Highlands. I head up to the Mountains to have some time solo, to recalibrate, reflect on the year ahead and to do some serious botanical adventuring. This time alone, camping and immersed in the wealth of botanica that grows in the Nyanga National Park is precious to me.
I went back in February this year as this is when the Formosanum Lilies flower - the hillsides in much of the Eastern Highlands are covered with hosts of these white lilies, growing in astonishing quantities. Known locally as ‘St Joseph’s Lilies, walking amongst these flowers is wonderful and being enveloped in their ravishing scent is dizzying in the heat of the day.
Although this species grows abundantly in parts of Southern Africa, it is a native of Taiwan and an ‘invader’ to Zimbabwe. Being a man with a hard stance towards plants that are a threat to native habitats somehow I always forgive the St Joseph Lilies. Their enchanting beauty, never fails to captivate me, allow me this inconsistency!