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Gardening in South Africa

Good old fashioned cauliflower has seen somewhat of a renaissance in recent years, and it's not hard to understand why.


Cauliflower has been around for a very long time and its history and ancestry can be traced back to the wild cabbage, and its similarities with kale or collards. The ‘cole’ vegetables have a growth habit typical of many members of the family Brassicaceae, with broad, spreading leaves and a branched flowering stem, carrying many individual flowers. They are grown and eaten throughout the world, and include such apparently diverse forms such as cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, broccoli and cauliflower. All of these were, however, domesticated from one ancestral species, the wild cabbage, Brassica oleracea, which is native to the coastal cliffs of the northern Mediterranean and Western Europe, from Greece to the British Isles.

Virginian stocks are probably one of the easiest of all plants to grow from seed, thriving in part shade to full sun.


Virginian Stock 'Enchanted Evening' picture courtesy www.mayford.co.zaVirginian Stock 'Enchanted Evening' picture courtesy www.mayford.co.zaThis delightful little annual is hardy and deserves a place in every winter and spring garden. Not only does it flower profusely in delightful shades of pink, rose red, lilac and creamy-white, but it also smells heavenly. It must be the easiest annual to grow and quickly produces small bushes +-20 to 30cm tall and 10 to 15cm wide.

As part of the xeriscape or drought tolerant garden, the stunning Geraldton Wax Plant can’t be beat!


Picture courtesy Ross Funnell - see her flickr pagePicture courtesy Ross Funnell - see her flickr pageWhen in full bloom the geraldton wax plant looks like a billowing cloud of cotton candy as the branches sway in the breeze. The needle-thin leaves can be bright to dark-green, depending on the season, and contrast beautifully in texture and colour with the shiny berry-like buds arranged in open sprays along the ends of the stems, and the lush clusters of waxy, star-shaped flowers. If you crush the leaves, they emit a pleasant lemony scent, and the flowers have a sweet, honey fragrance, oozing nectar and attracting butterflies, bees, and other pollinating insects; particularly on warm, late winter or spring days.

The Firebush is a voluptuous tropical beauty which produces flowers and berries all year round.


Hamelia patens at Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula, Maui, Hawaii. Picture courtesy Forest and Kim Starr - see their flickr pageHamelia patens at Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula, Maui, Hawaii. Picture courtesy Forest and Kim Starr - see their flickr pageThe firebush is a reliable tropical plant that has found its way into many a landscape because of its  proven drought  and soil tolerance – it can basically grow anywhere!  It is native to the American subtropics and tropics, ranging from the gulf states of Mexico, South Florida, the West Indies, and Central and South America, as far south as Argentina. It is a member of the Rubiaceae family, and other notable members of this family include Ixora, Gardenia, Pentas, Quinine and Coffee.

Boxwood has been modernised and is seen in almost any style of garden today.


Buxus macowanii Picture courtesy www.newplant.co.zaBuxus macowanii Picture courtesy www.newplant.co.zaBoxwoods are popular with gardeners for their attractive, compact, and low spreading growth habit. Their versatility is renowned and these garden plants can be pruned successfully into just about any shape you desire.

Buxus is a genus of about 70 species in the family Buxaceae, with members widely distributed throughout the temperate counties of the globe, excluding America and Australia. The Common Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) and the English Boxwood (Buxus microphylla 'Faulkner') are quite well-known in South Africa, but did you know we have our very own Boxwood, which is just as versatile?

Books

Gardening in the Shade

shade book

Growing Vegetables in South Africa

Growing Bedding Plants in South Africa

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