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Gardening in South Africa

Carpets of Colour

Marigolds Marigolds If it’s warm, rich colours you are after then marigolds are just the thing for you. Their colourful flowers come in shades of orange, yellow, red and bi-coloured, with many flower shapes and sizes to choose from. You may be forgiven for thinking that surely marigolds are a bit old fashioned, because they bring back memories of your grandmother’s garden. This may have even been true a few years back, however they have made a big comeback in contemporary gardens.

Rare (uncommon) Tree of the Year 2017

Euclea pseudebenus Picture courtesy www.kyffhauser.co.zaEuclea pseudebenus Picture courtesy www.kyffhauser.co.za  Ebony Tree, Ebony Guarri, Ebbehout, Tsawib (Euclea pseudebenus)

If you are looking for an elegant indigenous shade tree which is evergreen and can cope with very hot and dry conditions, the ebony tree is one of the best and well worth searching for.  This dessert plant is quite happy growing in both winter and summer rainfall conditions and is found in northern Namaqualand and eastwards to Bushmanland, where it hugs the Gariep River on both the South African and Namibian sides. Its range extends throughout the southwestern, central and north-western part of Namibia and into the Kaokoveld and southern Angola. In its natural desert and semi-desert habitat it can be found growing in stony ground, usually in low-lying seasonal flood plains and in areas along watercourses, or close by. It is well adapted to its harsh environment, possessing an extensive taproot system that is able to reach deep into the ground, where subterranean water may be found.

Common Tree of the Year 2017

Ziziphus mucronata Picture courtesy www.kyffhauser.co.zaZiziphus mucronata Picture courtesy www.kyffhauser.co.za Buffalo-thorn, Blinkblaar-wag-‘n-bietjie, Haakdoring, umPhafa, mokgalo, mphasamhala, mutshetshete, Umpafa, umLahlabantu (Ziziphus mucronata)

Ziziphus is a genus of about 40 species of spiny shrubs and small trees in the buckthorn and jubjube family (Rhamnaceae), which can be found growing wild in warm-temperate and subtropical regions throughout the world. The Buffalo Thorn occurs throughout the summer rainfall areas of sub-Saharan Africa, extending from South Africa to Ethiopia and Arabia. It is not common in the Western Cape.  Although it is common in areas dominated by thorny vegetation, it can be found in a wide range of habitats like: valleys and woodlands, along forest margins and streams, as well as open grasslands, scrubland and on rocky koppies.

Nothing smells or tastes of the tropics quite like pineapple sage.

Pineapple Sage FlowersPineapple Sage FlowersAmong the most intriguing of the sage family members, pineapple sage is simply spectacular in late summer when in full bloom, with its masses of tubular blood red flower spikes contrasting perfectly against the bright green, fuzzy leaves. And, if you are mad about collecting herbs you are sure to have at least one plant growing somewhere in your garden or in a pot, just for the pleasure of brushing against it, or grabbing and crushing a leaf as you pass by to inhale the refreshing scent.  Nothing smells anything like the sweet, soft pineapple fragrance that this herb imparts.

Nothing adds tropical ambiance to gardens or indoor spaces like the lush evergreen and dramatically lobed leaves of philodendrons.


Philodendron Xanadu 'Havana' Picture courtesy www.kazimingi.co.zaPhilodendron Xanadu 'Havana' Picture courtesy www.kazimingi.co.zaGrown both indoors and outdoors for their lush evergreen foliage and dramatically lobed leaves, philodendrons add a lovely tropical ambiance to any garden or indoor space. Because of their low-growing and clumping growth habit, the dwarf varieties make handsome, low maintenance specimen plants for the garden and an ideal groundcover underneath large trees. If planted in large drifts they have a dramatic impact on large landscape areas like office parks, schools, colleges etc. The tree philodendron is only recommended for large gardens, where it can be used to great effect if combined artfully with other tropical plants. It can also be impressive if potted for use in large halls, malls, offices or homes.

Books

Gardening in the Shade

shade book

Growing Vegetables in South Africa

Growing Bedding Plants in South Africa

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