Fandango’s Flashback Friday — 22 July

Fandango asks if you would like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen?

This post was originally published on 22 July 2016

Common names: White or common arum lily (English); Wit varkoor (Afrikaans); intebe (Xhosa) ihlukwe (Zulu)
Family: 
Araceae (Arums, Anthurium, Caladium and Philodendron)

DSC_0211 (3)
DSC_0209 (2)


The arum lilies in my gardenArum Lily is a popular garden plant which grows in wet mud, and in and around the edges of shallow ponds or static water.  Its size depends upon the amount of shade it experiences; it grows larger in shadier corners.  At winter times in the Cape the Arum lilies line the roads wherever there is a bit of damp or water.

flowers
Arum lilies

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — 1 July

Fandango asks if you would like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen?

This post was originally published on 1 July 2016

Cornwall Park is Hastings’ oldest and most established park, full of beautiful plant life, enormous trees, playgrounds, a Chinese garden, cricket clubrooms and playing fields.

I found this impressive stone fountain ( Well I think it was a fountain)which sadly does not work….

Lion Statue

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — 24 June

Fandango asks if you would like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen?

This post was originally published on 24 June 2016

Leonotis leonurus, also known as lion’s tail and wild dagga, is blooming in my garden at the moment. The plant is a broadleaf evergreen large shrub native to South Africa and southern Africa, where it is very common.

DSC_0212
DSC_0215 (2)
DSC_0222

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — 15 April

Fandango asks if you would like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen?

This post was originally published on 15 April 2016

Family: Thymelaeaceae (fibre-bark/gonna family)

IMG_8326 (2)

Common names: aandbossie, juffertjie-roer-by-die nag (Afr.)

Gnidia squarrosa has attractive, multicoloured winter-spring flowers that will fill your garden with perfume in the evenings.

IMG_8327 (3)

Description
Gnidia squarrosa is a much-branched, lax, willowy shrub that reaches a height of 1 to 2 m, with roughly equal spread. The leaves are small and narrowly lance-shaped. The flowers are borne in rounded heads of 6 – 30 flowers at the tips of the slender branches. The flower consists of a long  tube topped by a 4-pointed star, with 8 tiny finger-like petals . The tubes are mostly greenish yellow, the face of the star is creamy white and the flowers are flushed with maroon-pink, but the degree of pink varies from flowerhead to flowerhead on the same bush. On one end of the scale some heads are almost completely greenish yellow with only a stripe of colour on the back and tip of the stars, while on the other end the base of the tubes are deep maroon and most of the flowers are stained pink, and many are somewhere in between, with only a few of the flowers unevenly stained pink. Overall, they give an attractive multi-coloured effect. The flowers are sweetly fragrant at night but unscented during the day, and adorn the bush in winter to spring (June to October). While not a candidate for the commercial trade, they make a good cutflower, lasting a few days in the vase. 

Distribution
Gnidia squarrosa is found from the Cape Peninsula to the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, where it grows in coastal limestone soils and on sandy slopes.

Ecology
The tubular flower, its pale colour and its strong night fragrance indicate that this species is pollinated by moths.

IMG_8325 (2)

Derivation of the name
The genus Gnidia was named by Linnaeus, but it is not clear where it came from or why he chose it. It is perhaps a Greek word for Daphne or laurel, or it is possibly derived from the old Greek name for Knossos in Crete, Knidiossos was one version. Both common names are Afrikaans, aandbossie means ‘night or evening-scented bush’, and juffertjie-roer-by-die-nag means literally ‘young-lady-gad-about-at-night’. Both are generic names given to many plants with night-scented flowers, and the latter name is more strictly used for Struthiola species.

IMG_8326

Gnidia squarrosa is an easy plant in the garden, particularly fynbos and coastal gardens. It does best in full sun and well-drained soil, and will need some room to spread. Remember to treat it like a fynbos plant, i.e. put it in a well-drained, sunny spot and don’t give it manure or heavy doses of chemical fertilizers, and it will thrive. Plant it where you can appreciate its beautiful night scent, e.g. near the house, or beside the patio or a path that you use in the evenings.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — 8 April

Fandango asks if you would like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen?

This post was originally published on 8 April 2016

Arctotis are low growing, spreading plants which bear large daisy-like flowers from late autumn/early winter into spring. These colourful plants have a compact, mounded growth habit and make a perfect ground cover.

IMG_8492 (2)

They are versatile and hardy, relatively drought tolerant and cope well with coastal conditions. Also great for mixed patio pots, rockeries and retaining walls. Arctotis has pink flowers against its green-grey foliage.

IMG_7619 (2)

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — 1 April

Fandango asks if you would like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen?

This post was originally published on 1 April 2016

Family: Asteraceae

Common Names: Wild Rosemary, Wilderoosmaryn, Kapokbos

IMG_8330

Wild rosemary is one of the shrubs that most people in the Cape know because it is so common in the veld and easy to identify with its thin, grey leaves, which smell like Vicks when crushed. It is also a well-known medicinal plant and an excellent shrub for the waterwise garden.
Eriocephalus africanus
 is found mostly on clay and granite slopes throughout the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Namaqualand. Along this wide distribution Eriocephalus africanus is very variable, especially when comparing plants growing in the salty air along the coast with those growing under much drier conditions inland. In general, they all form bushy evergreen shrubs up to 1 metre with a silvery, grey appearance.

IMG_8320

Looking at the leaves that are arranged in tufts along the branches, it is easy to see a number of features that help the plant to survive with little water. Special features include the grey leaf colour which reflects sunlight and thereby reduces leaf temperature. The minute, silvery hairs covering the leaves trap moisture and thus reduce transpiration. The small, needle-shaped leaves are another adaptation that limits water loss. The aromatic oils are also thought to help reduce water loss. Shrubs growing on the coast have succulent leaves, whereas those growing away from the coast have thinner, less succulent leaves.

Flowering times vary, but the best displays are in winter when the whole shrub is covered in small, white flowers. Typical of the family Asteraceae, the flowers are a composition of 2-3 showy white ray florets on the outside and purple disc florets in the centre.On warm days many bees are attracted to the flowers, seeking their small amounts of nectar. Soon after flowering, fruits are formed that are covered in long, white hairs. These attractive, fluffy seed heads look like cotton wool or snow, which gave Eriocephalus the common name kapokbos in Afrikaans. (Kapok refers to snow).

Eriocephalus prefers full sun and well drained soils. In the western Cape it is best to plant during the wet winter months so that the plants can establish themselves before the dry summer. Wild rosemary is fairly hardy and will grow in most gardens throughout the country.

IMG_8332

Mass plantings of Eriocephalus flowering in winter are very beautiful, but they also make striking combinations in smaller groups. The shrubs can be pruned lightly to encourage bushy growth, to shape into a hedge or even a ball. The root system is well developed with a taproot that can penetrate the soil to a depth of 6 m, and lateral roots that extend about 2 m around the plant and are closer to the surface. This extensive root system makes Eriocephalus africanus resistant to drought and able to recover from grazing by animals. New plants are easy to propagate from seed or cuttings. The seed may be sown in autumn or spring and germinates within 10 days. Eriocephalus roots easily from tip or heel cuttings taken in spring or autumn.

Wild rosemary has traditionally been used as a medicine for many ailments like coughs and colds, flatulence and colic, as a diuretic and a diaphoretic. A tea is usually made with 1 cup of boiling water and a sprig of wild rosemary. In her book on indigenous herbs, Margaret Roberts mentions that wild rosemary seems to have similar qualities to ordinary rosemary as both have an invigorating effect on the skin and hair. She suggests boiling springs of wild rosemary (1 measure of twigs and flowers to 2 measures of water) for 15 minutes and when cooled to add it to the bath or to use as a hair growth stimulant and conditioner. Wild rosemary can also be used for cooking, in sachets and pot-pourris.

In Southern Africa there are 34 species of Eriocephalus, all with woolly fruits.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — 25 March

Fandango asks if you would like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen?

This post was originally published on 25 March 2016

Osteospermum fruticosum , also called the trailing African daisy or shrubby daisy bush, is a shrubby, semi-succulent herbaceous flowering plant native to South Africa, belonging to the small tribe Calenduleae of the sunflower family (Asteraceae).

IMG_8418
IMG_8416
IMG_8415

It grows between 6 and 12 inches tall and can spread four to six feet in width. The dark-centered daisy-like flowers range in color from deep purple to white. Some hybrid growers have bred pale yellow-flowering strains. The plant is a perennial in mild climates.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — 18 March

Fandango asks if you would like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen?

This post was originally published on 18 March 2016

Common names: blue felicia bush, shrubby felicia, bush felicia, blue felicia, blue marguerite, blue daisy bush, Paris daisy (Eng.); bloumagriet, blou-astertjie (Afr.)

IMG_8324 (2)

Felicia amelloides catches the eye wherever it is planted, with its striking sky-blue and sunny yellow flowerheads, held well above the leaves. South Africa has been blessed with many felicias, several of which make excellent garden plants. This species is one of the best. Apart from its beauty, this plant has many advantages. It is hardy, fast growing, long-flowering and long-lived, more or less frost- and wind-resistant, needs only moderate water and little care. It is also readily available from nurseries. As blue is a difficult colour to get into a garden, this is definitely a plant that will draw attention.

This species comes from the coastal strip of both the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces, mainly from Humansdorp to Port Alfred. It has been recorded from as far west as the De Hoop-Potberg Nature Reserve and it reaches the Kei River mouth to the east. The furthest inland it extends seems to be to the Vanstadensberg and Winterhoek Mountains near Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage, and the Ecca Pass, near Grahamstown.

IMG_8328

This felicia is mainly found on old coastal sand dunes that are beginning to stabilize, or where dunes meet permanent bush or where there is any shelter. It is also found on sandy flats, exposed stony hillsides, gravelly slopes, outcrops of Table Mountain Sandstone and on rock slabs. The associated vegetation has been described as fynbos (sometimes called macchia), transition fynbos/bush, coastal scrub, thick scrub, ericoid vegetation and Stoebe plumosa communities.

IMG_7728
IMG_7731

The blue felicia bush receives some rain all year round in much of its natural area and endures a wide range of temperatures, including some frost. It does not seem to need the regular coastal mists as it grows well in inland gardens. With this natural distribution and habitat, it could be grown in many parts of South Africa, except, perhaps, where there is very high rainfall and heavy frost. Good drainage and some shelter would probably overcome these problems.Felicias are visited by bees and small flying insects, such as wasps and butterflies. They also have tiny thrips running around the florets, usually carrying pollen grains on their bodies. Sometimes a bright yellow ‘flower’ spider lurks in the daisy’s centre, matching the disc florets perfectly. Whatever animal achieves pollination, it is generally very successful as full heads of seed are the norm.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — 11 March

Fandango asks if you would like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen?

This post was originally published in March 2016

Common names: wild garlic (Eng.); wilde knoffel (Afr.)

IMG_8099 (2)

This is a popular garden plant that is useful for difficult hot corners of the garden as it will tolerate prolonged drought, although it flourishes with regular watering.

Description
Tulbaghia violacea is a fast-growing, bulbous plant that reaches a height of 0.5 m. The leaves are long, narrow, strap-like, slightly fleshy and smell strongly of garlic when bruised. They grow from fat, tuberous roots which spread to form clumps of plants. The pinkish mauve, tubular flowers, clustered into umbels of up to twenty flowers, are held above the leaves on a tall flower stalk, and appear over a long period in summer (January to April). They too smell of garlic when picked. The fruit, triangular capsules, are grouped into a head, and when ripe they split to release the flattened, hard black seeds.

Distribution
This drought resistant plant stretches from the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo, to as far north as Zimbabwe.

Derivation of name and historical aspects
Tulbaghia is named after Ryk Tulbagh (died 1771), governor of the Cape of Good Hope and violacea means violet-coloured. Only two species are grown as ornamentals and enjoy popularity in cultivation.

IMG_8352 (2)

Ecology
Most of the species of Tulbaghia are adapted for moth pollination and have dull flowers that become sweetly scented at night. T. violacea seems likely to be pollinated by butterflies and bees as they are scented during the day.

Uses and cultural aspects
This attractive plant is ideal for the herb garden, as both the leaves and flowers can be used in salads and other dishes. The crushed leaves may be used to help cure sinus headaches and to discourage moles from the garden (by their strong smell). The smell repels fleas, ticks and mosquitoes when crushed on the skin.

The fresh bulbs are boiled in water and the decoctions are taken orally to clear up coughs and colds. The bulb has been used as a remedy for pulmonary tuberculosis and to destroy intestinal worms. Wild garlic may prove to have the same or similar antibacterial and antifungal activities as has been scientifically verified for real garlic. The leaves are used to treat cancer of the oesophagus.

IMG_8351 (2)

The Zulus use the leaves and flowers as spinach and as a hot, peppery seasoning with meat and potatoes. They also use the bulb to make an aphrodisiac medicine. Wild garlic is a very good snake repellent and for this reason the Zulus plant it around their homes.

Growing Tulbaghia violacea

Tulbaghia violacea grows very easily in most soils. It can be used as an edging plant, along a pathway, are displayed to great advantage in a rockery and can also be mass planted to form a groundcover, in sunny or partially shaded positions. It thrives in well-drained soil containing plenty of compost.

IMG_8354 (2)

Propagate from seed or by dividing larger clumps. The hard black seeds are best sown in spring in deep seed trays and can be planted out during their second year. Once the clumps that have been divided are planted, they should be left undisturbed for as long as possible. First flowering can generally be expected in the second or third year.

Tulbaghias seldom fall prey to pests and diseases, but slugs and snails can cause considerable damage to the foliage.

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — November 5th

Fandango asks if you would like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen?

This post was originally published on 5 November 2015

The Tulbagh spiderhead is a fynbos shrub great for an informal indigenous garden. During springtime ,when it is in full bloom it is attracts a large variety of bees, butterflies and beetles.

DSC_0069

Description
Serruria triternata is a shrub growing about  1 m tall. In its natural habitat it is multi-stemmed, robust and sturdy. The leaves are needle-like and curve upwards. 
Hairy brown seeds are produced two months after flowering. The small silver white flowers are produced in dense flat-topped clusters along branch tips.

Conservation status

DSC_0091

The Tulbagh spiderhead is classified as Near Threatened (NT) which means it does not currently qualify for any of the threat categories but is listed in the Red Data book (Raimondo et al. 2009).

Derivation of name and historical aspects
The genus Serruria was named after Dr James Serrurier who was a professor of botany at Utrecht in the early 18th century. Triternata means three times divided into three, referring to the dissected leaves.

IMG_7878

Serruria is one of 14 genera making up the Proteaceae family. There are about 55 species within Serruria, all of which are endemic to the winter rainfall fynbos region of the south-western Western Cape. Of these 55 species, 49 species are listed in the current Red Data List, a very scary thought!

Ecology
The Tulbagh spiderhead is pollinated by various beetles, butterflies and moths. After pollination, seeds are produced and fall to the ground. Each seed has a white waxy tip at its base and is a favourite food of indigenous ants. Ants disperse the seed by carrying them underground to their nests where they eat off the elaiosome. The seed is now in safe storage, hidden away from predators like mice.  In early winter the rains begin and new seedlings germinate from the ant nests where they were safely protected.

The leaves of the Tulbagh spiderhead are tough and very narrow. This protects the plant from drying out in the hot sun and drying winds.

DSC_0067

Serruria triternata was first collected for display at Kirstenbosch in 1988. It is not widely used in horticulture.

IMG_20150919_130127_BURST001_COVER

The best time to plant into the garden is at the start of the rainy season. This enables plants to establish themselves and send down deep roots before the hot, dry summer arrives.