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Gardening in South Africa

Tending your garden in October

Amarula Profusion. Picture courtesy www.ludwigsroses.co.zaAmarula Profusion. Picture courtesy www.ludwigsroses.co.zaAll Regions

October is undoubtedly rose month in South Africa and nothing compares with that first flush of perfect blooms which last so much longer because the sun is not too scorching hot yet. Many other spring flowering plants like yesterday, today and tomorrow, crab apples, and cherries are also in full bloom; not forgetting the beautiful bearded irises, foxgloves and delphiniums. Luckily we are all inspired to garden at this time of the year because there is no time to rest for gardeners in October. If you really want a good return on money spent in the garden this season you need to get cracking and plant this month. This will give you the whole season to reap the rewards of summer with her promise of bountiful blooms, fruits, vegetables and herbs. Although October is a busy month in the garden, set time aside to visit some of the gardens which are open to the public at this time of the year for inspiration and practical tips.

This herb is truly magnificent in stature and will have all your guests wondering what it is!

Angelica grows beautifully in potsAngelica grows beautifully in potsAngelica, Archangel (Angelica archangelica)

Next time you savour the flavour of a Martini, remind yourself it comes from the angelica root. In fact, angelica has been a flavouring agent in many popular types of liquor, including Gin, Vermouth, Benedictine, Absinthe and Chartreuse.  Angelica has a long history and was used as a seasoning as well as medicinally. Today it is sadly not commonly cultivated in herb gardens, but this herb is truly magnificent in stature and will have all your guests wondering what it is, plus it will increase the variety and interest of flavours in your herb garden.

Tolerating heat, frost, drought, pollution, salt and humidity, the Indian hawthorn is an excellent choice for the urban landscape.

Raphiolepis x delacourii Raphiolepis x delacourii Indian Hawthorns are popular landscape shrubs for gardens large and small because they remain attractive all year round. Raphiolepis is a genus of about fifteen species of evergreen shrubs and small trees in the rose family (Rosaceae), native to warm temperate and subtropical eastern and south-eastern Asia; Japan, Korea, China, Thailand and Vietnam. The common name is a little confusing since it is neither from India, nor does it have thorns like most of the other hawthorns which come from Europe and America. These ornamentals are grown for their dense, neat growth and abundant clusters of delicate pink or white blossoms in late winter and spring; followed by showy blue-black berries in autumn. The leathery oval leaves are glossy with lightly toothed edges; and the new foliage is often red or bronze, ageing to a rich, dark green.

Sunsets and Honey

GazaniaGazaniaOur companions this month are reminiscent of two very special gifts from Mother Nature – sunsets and honey. Our indigenous Gazanias bloom in bursts of brilliant colours in the shades of a magnificent African sunset. Part of the Asteraceae, or daisy, family they have the common daisy shape, but the petals come in the most intricate colours and detail. Our other little gift, Alyssum, blooms in dainty umbrellas of multiple tiny flowers; scented sweetly with a very real honey-like fragrance. Perhaps the greatest gift of all is that neither of these beauties is particularly fussy, in fact they are pretty hardy and perfect for some of our harsher South African gardens where they do an excellent job of attracting birds, bees, butterflies and other ‘friendly’ insects.

Eggplants are packed with nutrition and their fibre content makes them perfect for weight watchers!

Egg Fruit Black Beauty www.ballstraathof.co.zaEgg Fruit Black Beauty www.ballstraathof.co.zaDescription, History & Interesting Facts:

Eggplants have long been prized for their beauty as well as their unique texture and taste. They are members of the nightshade (Solanum) family and closely related to tomatoes, bell peppers and potatoes. This plant has a mysterious past, and the true ancestor of Solanum melongena is still under debate. Some scholars suggest that, because of DNA sequencing reported in 2010, which provides evidence that S. melongena is descended from Solanum linnaeanum, an African plant; that eggplants most likely originated in Africa and were dispersed throughout the Middle East and into Asia, where they were first cultivated and documented. Other scholars suggest that the true ancestor of our cultivated eggplant has not yet been identified, and was probably located in the savannas of south-east Asia. Its place of domestication is still currently believed to have been south-east Asia.


Gardening in the Shade

shade book

Growing Vegetables in South Africa

Growing Bedding Plants in South Africa

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