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Gardening in South Africa

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.

Winter Warmth and Smiles

CalendulaCalendulaNo garden should be without calendulas at this time of year; it’s the only way to guarantee a little burst of sunshine when the weather fails you!  Whether it’s a sweep of golden blooms or a vivacious display in a pot, calendulas are a golden ray on a cold winter day. What’s more, even the most inexperienced of gardeners can grow them easily.

Falling for Fennel

Picture courtesy Nick WarnerPicture courtesy Nick WarnerDiscover what the people of the Mediterranean region have known about fennel for centuries, their many creative uses for this summer vegetable will have you falling for fennel! Many people are familiar with fennel only in the form of the seeds which are found in various spice blends, where they're hidden away amongst the other flavours. As a result, the first time they're exposed to fresh fennel, the mildly liquorice-like flavour can be a surprise. Like Marmite, or black jelly beans, fennel is something that you either love or hate, but if you fall in the love side, fennel will inspire you to try recipes from around the world, some that you would probably never even have imagined. Whether it’s starring in a salad, braised to melting perfection, or crumbed and fried until golden, this super-star is just simply delicious!


Gardening in the Shade

shade book

Growing Vegetables in South Africa

Growing Bedding Plants in South Africa

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