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This is the plant that puts fire on your tongue and maybe even a tear in your eye when you eat spicy Mexican, Szechuan and Indian or Thai food. Love them or hate them, chillies are probably the most popular spice worldwide. The exact origins of chilli peppers have been difficult to determine until recently, because the macro-remains of the plant are only preserved archaeologically quite rarely. In pre-Hispanic times, it is believed that chillies were not cultivated north of Mexico, but wild chillies like the chiltepin (or chile piquin) were spread by humans and birds from their South American homes into Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
Garden Spurge, Graceful Sandmat, Large-Spotted Spurge, Milk Purslane, Tropical Euphorbia (Euphorbia hypericifolia)
Euphorbia hypericifolia is native to the Americas where it occurs in the tropics and subtropics, having been recorded from the southern USA, the Caribbean and throughout South America. It has been widely introduced to the Pacific Islands, and to some extent in tropical Africa, Mauritius, India and Southeast Asia; where it occurs from sea-level up to an altitude of about 600m, along roadsides, stony river banks, on disturbed sites, and as a weed in cultivation.
The plants resemble the annual plant called “baby's breath” (Gypsophila paniculata), and can be used in the garden in much the same way, but these wispy plants with their abundance of frothy drifts of small white flowers, interspersed amongst their olive green leaves, belie their delicate looks with their hardy temperaments.
Impatiens – known to many as “Busy Lizzies” – are a vital ingredient to any summer garden. Few other plants offer such a mass of blooms for such a long period as these valiant little plants. There are lovely rich hues of reds and oranges for “hot” beds, gentle pastels to relax the eye and a pure white hybrid to add a sense of coolness on those hot summer’s days.
Couple them with Dahlias and your garden will simply be bursting with colour! In fact, the kaleidoscope of colours at your disposal will quite possibly leave you with a dilemma around choosing what you’re going to buy.
Water-wise gardening is not only for dry areas; nor does it mean that you can only plant indigenous plants, cacti and succulents. Water wise gardening implements the basic principles of Xeriscape gardening, with the most important one being the practice of selecting plants with water requirements corresponding to the local rainfall patterns and climate where they are to be planted, as well as for their drought tolerance; significantly reducing the need to water. This water efficient method of gardening can be adapted to many different types of gardens and using the principles of Xeriscape gardening will allow you to plant and maintain your annuals, perennials, vegetables, shrubs and trees in the most water wise manner possible.
October is undoubtedly rose month in South Africa and nothing compares with that first flush of perfect blooms which last so much longer because the sun is not too scorching hot yet. Many other spring flowering plants like yesterday, today and tomorrow, crab apples, and cherries are also in full bloom; not forgetting the beautiful bearded irises, foxgloves and delphiniums. Luckily we are all inspired to garden at this time of the year because there is no time to rest for gardeners in October. If you really want a good return on money spent in the garden this season you need to get cracking and plant this month. This will give you the whole season to reap the rewards of summer with her promise of bountiful blooms, fruits, vegetables and herbs. Although October is a busy month in the garden, set time aside to visit some of the gardens which are open to the public at this time of the year for inspiration and practical tips.