SO WHAT IS GOING ON THEN?!

This year we have decided to plant in February!

Previously we had planted at the beginning of the rains but we have noticed a couple of issues:

- the planted area needs to be cleared every month as everything grows at a ridiculous speed - the surrounding shrubs and bush that is. The trees grow relatively slowly in comparison which means the bush is always in danger of swamping the new seedlings and indeed did swamp a lot of them.

The rainy season is erratic: the seedlings  could be washed out and die with too much rain or they could shrivel up and die with too little. Seedlings  are sensitive little things!

TREEZ can't afford to have the planted areas cleared so often

So, for the reasons cited above, this year we will plant in February :) And in the meantime, we will do a few rain dances!

In other planting news, the Mulunguzi Timber Co-Operative who harvested some of the last remaining pine areas on our side of the mountain, have been busy! They have been clearing and replanting a huge area on the South Eastern slopes of the Plateau. They have been talking about replanting 100,000 pine trees, and they might just do it!! 

Although this side is looking quite bare, with some hard work from all of us the trees will thrive and in a few years we will have a beautiful mountain again :) And not that the mountain is not beautiful now; it is all about what we are used to. For many of us Zomba equates to huge pine forests but right now, there are really the most amazing views - it is absolutely stunning!

2018 was celebrated at midnight this year! This might sound strange to most of you: of course The New Year is celebrated at midnight.... but it had never happened here in the 4 years we have been open. 10pm has generally been the accepted time when guests have paid their last respects to the year before, and why not: at 10, it is not only the Malawian midnight, it is midnight somewhere in the world :)

Since then, we have enjoyed a gentle easing in to the New Year. The guest's trickled out and we are currently enjoying a well deserved break! Although having guests is good for business (obviously) it is also really nice for us to be able to have the lodge and the gardens to ourselves :) 

The Flame Lillies are all out and offer a startling contrast to the various shades of green. I am waiting for the next orchids to come out but the rains are refusing to come. We don't have much cloud cover to squeeze any moisture from. I wouldn't normally mind ... but this is the rainy season! We are contemplating putting the sprinkler on!! No rain at all since the 28th of December: what is going on?? 

In other news, aside from sponsoring the Happy Hammers football team, we are now in talks with the Nankhunda team: Sponsorship in exchange for firefighting, planting, patrolling :) 

That is it for the first week of 2018 :)