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Gardening in South Africa

The Bladdernut tree makes a truly attractive and tidy subject for any garden and is especially suitable for small gardens.

 
Diospyros whyteana fruit & pods. Picture courtesy Malcolm Manners - see his flickr pageDiospyros whyteana fruit & pods. Picture courtesy Malcolm Manners - see his flickr pageBladdernut, Swartbas, Mohlatsane, munyavhili, umTenatane, uManzimane (Diospyros whyteana)
SA Tree No: 611

This decorative little evergreen tree is increasingly being cultivated in gardens around South Africa for its tidy shape and strikingly glossy, dark green leaves with a fringe of ginger hairs. The occasional bright red or orange leaf occurs, adding to the overall attractiveness of this plant. Scented, creamy-yellow to white bell-shaped flowers appear in spring, dangling from their hairy stalks. As with all Diospyros species, male and female flowers occur on separate trees, and only the female plants bear the masses of showy, fleshy berries that turn scarlet when ripe, and are borne throughout summer. Yet another attractive feature of this tree is its inflated, papery, balloon-like fruit pods that encapsulate the fruits, dry to red, and remain on the tree for many months after the fruit has fallen. The bark is another pretty feature, with the young branches being yellowish-green to pinkish and covered by fine coppery hairs. The mature bark is smooth and a lovely dark grey to almost black.

Zantedeschia hybrids are easy to grow and offer gardeners a vast array of rainbow colours to enjoy.

 
Zantedeschia 'Jack of Hearts'  Picture courtesy BLOOMZ, New ZealandZantedeschia 'Jack of Hearts' Picture courtesy BLOOMZ, New Zealand Arum Lily, Calla Lily, Pig lily, Kleinvarkoor, Witvarkoor, mohalalitoe, magapule, intebe, ihlukwe, ilabatheka-elimhlophe, ilabatheka-omhlophe (Zantedeschia)

Today a new generation of Zantedeschia hybrids have been bred from our original indigenous species; not only for their spectacular fashionable colours but for their sheer flower power. These new varieties produce many more blooms from a given tuber size, and the number of flowers produced by a tuber is directly proportional to the size of the tuber of each specific variety. Each year after the tuber has produced its magic, it will grow bigger in size, to produce more and even taller blooms the following season. These popular varieties are grown in the garden and in pots not only for the wonderful show they put on, but also for the production of magnificent cut flowers for the vase. Zantedeschia hybrids are easy to grow, and provide gardeners with a vast array of rainbow colours to enjoy in all shades of pink, yellow, white, cream, apricot, peach, orange, purple(almost black) and red.

Attracting birds and other wildlife to your garden can be so simple!

Many indigenous as well as exotic plants can be incorporated into your garden design to attract wildlife, and it doesn't matter how large or small your garden is; if you follow a few simple guidelines you will soon be rewarded with the delightful sound of birdsong, and the fleeting beauty of a flitting butterfly or busy bee.

Because of the continual expansion of our urban areas into the natural environment, city gardens, parks and open areas have become vital in sustaining wildlife; and it is possible - with a bit of planning - to create both a beautiful and sustainable sanctuary for birds and other wildlife in our suburban gardens.

Summer Snapdragons bloom continuously during the hot summer months

Angelonia 'Serena Blue' Picture courtesy Ball StraathofAngelonia 'Serena Blue' Picture courtesy Ball StraathofCondensed Version:

These tropical evergreen perennials are tough, easy to care for, and are planted in summer for their lovely snapdragon-like flowers, born on slender upright spikes. They bloom continuously during the hot summer months; have attractive bright green willow-like leaves; and hybrids are available in clear flower colours or two-toned combinations of rose, pink, blue, lilac, violet-blue, purple, and white. Their rounded upright growth habit and long blooming season make them perfect bedding plants and worthwhile additions to background plantings in flower borders. Numerous hybrids have been bred for flower performance and compact growth; making them an ideal choice for colourful container plantings.

 

Gardening in the Western Cape

Cape Agulhas Dune Fynbos - Overberg. Picture courtesy South African Tourism. Visit their flickr pageCape Agulhas Dune Fynbos - Overberg. Picture courtesy South African Tourism. Visit their flickr pageThe beautiful Western Cape draws millions of visitors each year, and foreign investors are snapping up valuable properties in the Province. For many South Africans it’s a favourite holiday destination, with many even moving to the Province to retire or seek a better quality of life.  Bordered by two oceans - the warm Indian Ocean to the south and the cold Atlantic to the west - The Western Cape Province is truly diverse in its beauty - from the wild Cape Agulhas coast with its sparse, sweeping stretches of sand, punctuated only by rocky outcrops and solitary fishing villages; to the sun-drenched vineyards of the Cape Winelands, and the magnificent Garden Route with its emerald lakes and indigenous forests. Even the magnificent passes which reach into the interior; and the wide and arid, windswept spaces of the Klein Karoo, seem part of a fantasy landscape that often defies description. 

Books

Gardening in the Shade

shade book

Growing Vegetables in South Africa

Growing Bedding Plants in South Africa

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