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Gardening in South Africa

The Tea Bush is a low-maintenance, hardy garden plant, and a real show-stopper when in full bloom.


Leptospermum 'Burgundy Queen'Leptospermum 'Burgundy Queen'These natives of Australia and New Zealand are old time favourites for cold South African gardens because they can be depended upon to produce a show stopping abundance of flowers in winter and spring. The delicate flowers can be single or double and come in all shades of pink, red or white, and are magnets for bees. The flowers are followed by attractive, small woody capsules containing tiny seeds, hanging on for a long time after the petals have dropped.

Leptospermum scoparium is a member of the family Myrtaceae, along with the Mediterranean shrub Common Myrtle (Myrtus communis,) and well-known Australian plants such as the gum trees (Eucalyptus) and bottlebrushes (Callistemon.) The tea bush is thought to have originated in Australia and then spread to New Zealand, where it is now much commoner. In New Zealand it grows in a wide range of areas from peaty bogs to coastal and montane regions, so it is surprisingly adaptable, especially to arid sites and soils.

The Cape honeysuckle is water-wise and a ‘must-have’ for bird and butterfly gardens.


Picture courtesy Wilferd Duckitt - Lesser Double-Collard Sunbird in Tecomaria capensis - See his flickr page.Picture courtesy Wilferd Duckitt - Lesser Double-Collard Sunbird in Tecomaria capensis - See his flickr page.alt Cape Honeysuckle, Kaapse Kanferfoelie, malangula, umsilingi, lungana, molaka (Tecomaria capensis)

This indigenous shrub remains wildly popular with gardeners in South Africa and around the world for its clusters of tubular flowers in brilliant shades of orange, red, yellow, apricot or salmon, thanks to modern garden hybrids. Flowering is sporadic throughout the year in warm regions, and these hybrids have even more blooming power, and the vibrancy of the flower colours is shown off perfectly by the plants dark green, glossy leaves. The flowers are followed by long, narrow seed pods which split open when ripe, to disperse the seeds.

Freesias are one of the most fragrant spring flowers and are said to symbolise sweetness, friendship and trust.


These little beauties are sure to capture your heart and are grown worldwide for their cheerful colours and fabulously fragrant flowers which last long in a vase and will perfume an entire room, bringing spring right into your home. Freesias remain one of the most sought after cut flowers commercially, and the plants are also cultivated for their perfume. Today, the essential oil is widely used in soaps, scented candles, potpourri and body oils.

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.

Books

Gardening in the Shade

shade book

Growing Vegetables in South Africa

Growing Bedding Plants in South Africa

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