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Gardening in South Africa

Daffodils never fail to charm, so spoil yourself with some - you’re worth it!

What would spring be like without the sunny blooms of daffodils to remind us that winter is finally over and 'spring has sprung' and there is something truly magical about a deciduous woodland floor covered with daffodils in full bloom. The bulbs begin to grow when most of the leaves have fallen from the trees, allowing the autumn and winter sunlight through; and have finished blooming by the time the tree is in full leaf again.

Chinese Plumbago is loved for its masses of vivid cobalt-blue flowers from late summer through autumn.


Cerastostigma willmottianumCerastostigma willmottianumThis delightful little plant is native to East Asia, occurring from Western China to Tibet. In the wild it can be found growing in warm valleys and at forest edges, or in thickets. It is named after Miss Ellen Ann Willmott, a celebrated English gardener, and is loved for its masses of vivid cobalt-blue flowers which appear from late summer and continue through autumn, when many other flowers have gone over. Flowering lasts for six weeks or more and is a very welcome sight.

Common Primroses are little gems which are hard to ignore when in full bloom.

Primula acaulis mixed bicolour. Picture courtesy www.nuleaf.co.zaPrimula acaulis mixed bicolour. Picture courtesy www.nuleaf.co.zaThe wild primrose is a cheerful little flower with its pretty pale yellow flowers with orange-yellow centres, peeking above a rosette of fat, wrinkled leaves - like a little splash of sunshine in a bleak wintry world. Although they often flower in winter, primroses are synonymous with spring, and in their countries of origin are one of the first wild flowers to show their faces - even their name derives from the Latin for “first rose”.

Bokbaaivygies can be used just about anywhere you have full sun in the winter garden.


Bokbaaivygie. Picture courtesy Doreanthus Maria KlangBokbaaivygie. Picture courtesy Doreanthus Maria KlangBokbaai vygies are one of South Africa’s most famous wildflower exports, and they are grown worldwide for their multitude of silky-textured flowers in a dazzling range of colours like yellow, cream, pink, lavender, magenta, and orange. This winter-growing annual is a succulent which forms a low groundcover, +-10cm tall and 30cm wide. The green or maroon-tinted leaves are spoon-shaped and more or less flat, and the conspicuous raised surface cells on the leaves are modified for water storage, and glisten beautifully in bright sunlight. The common name Bokbaaivygie commemorates a farm which was owned by the Duckitt family for generations, called “Bokbaai“ (Buck Bay,) near Darling on the Cape west coast, where this species grows in abundance.

Broccoli that matures during cool weather produces the sweetest tasting heads.


Love it or hate it, broccoli still holds its own in the vegetable kingdom, ranking as the world's fifth most popular vegetable. President Barack Obama certainly would agree, and at a state dinner at the White House he once stated that broccoli was his favourite vegetable! Many would disagree however, and one famous person who would definitely disagree is America's 43rd President, George Bush. He hated broccoli so much that he banned it from being served on Air Force One, and was quoted saying, "I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. I'm President of the United States, and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli!” No matter your taste, broccoli remains one of the world's most nutritious vegetables, and certainly one of the most exotic looking, with its dark green, crisp and sturdy florets.

Books

Gardening in the Shade

shade book

Growing Vegetables in South Africa

Growing Bedding Plants in South Africa

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