About me

About me
๐ŸŒฟ I've been gardening ever since a child, when I spent time with my father in his vegetable garden. But my fascination with Echeverias started in the 1980's, when my father gave me a pot with five Echeverias, which turned out to be E. imbricata. At first I wasn't much interested in them and planted them in some obscure corner of the garden and completely forgot about them. How great was my surprise when, a couple of months later, I noticed that they had spread and made a beautiful display - I was hooked!
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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Winter succulents


The only thing flowering in the succulent garden now is Kalanchoe rotundifolia and some Erigeron...


Kalanchoe rotundifolia flower. It seems to like the cold, all the plants are flowering profusely! (June 2017)
 


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Rattail cactus (aporocactus flagelliformis)


Every Spring my Rattail cactus (aporocactus flagelliformis) rewards me with a mass of beautiful flowers. We’re heading for winter now here in South Africa, so I have a while to wait for these beauties again!


The lovely flowers can be up to 7 or 8cm long!


The bright pink flowers 1.5 inches long, 2.5 inches wide (4 by 6 cm), are produced along the long hanging stems, up to 4 feet long (120 cm) or more, in spring and summer and are sometimes followed by small red fruits. In the wild, they are pollinated by hummingbirds, but in cultivation, they generally need to be hand pollinated. They originate from the Highland plateaus of Mexico (Oaxaca, Hidalgo), but are cilutivated throughout the world.


Although all the info I’ve read says they don’t tolerate frost, they have survived many frosty winters outside in my garden, but I must say, since I’ve decided to bring them inside during winter, I do get a much longer and better flowering period. But they do need some cold to produce their flowers, so I keep them in a cool place in the house.


They need to be kept moist all the time so water abundantly in summer. Needs good drainage.

One of my Rattail Cacti over-wintering it in my flower room

I had two of these beauties but this one has gone to a good home, so I will now be lavishing all my attention on the one I have left (below)


The Rattail cactus is another succulent that actually prefers a hanging basket, as the trailing stems can get several feet long. Just prepare a hanging basket with some good succulent soil and lots of drainage. Cut of one of the long tails and plant in the centre of the basket. It will soon send out lots of shoots and before long they will be trailing over the edge.

Happy succulenting!


Sunday, 8 January 2017

A visit to a Tea Garden


One of our favourite haunts, where we have been going for about 17 or 18 years, is the 'Boomhuisie' (meaning Treehouse) Tea Garden and restaurant in Viljoen Street, Krugersdorp-North (Gauteng, South Africa). They are obviously succulent-lovers and have some of the biggest Barrel cacti I have ever seen. The one above is about half a meter wide and very healthy-looking.


I've had my Barrel Cactus for over 15 years and it is only half the size of these, so I can just imagine how old they are!

Graptoveria "Fred Ives" sharing space with some Echeverias
Another Graptoveria
 
A collection of cacti

A sign greeting one as you enter the garden - Image credit

Part of the garden overlooking the Koi pond - Image credit

A walk through the garden

A walk past the Koi pond

The Koi pond contains a large number of Koi, some of them almost a meter long!

One of the inside dining rooms - Image credit

The dรฉcor is an eclectic mix of vintage and artsy-fartsy creativity - Image credit

The treehouse in one of the large Jacaranda's, from which the tea garden derives its name

Just enjoying! Image credit

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Sunday, 1 January 2017

A proposal - Happy New Year!


I don't normally make any New Year's resolutions, but here is one that can serve all of us well! May you scatter joy and happiness wherever you go all 365 days of the upcoming year and get the same in return. Happy New Year to you!

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Starting over

Aloe ferox youngsters in my garden having survived another winter

Have you ever jumped the gun and then regretted it afterwards? Well, that's what happened to me! A couple of months ago we were in the process of selling our smallholding, something we've been thinking of for a couple of years now, planning retirement and all that, and apart from having to have a massive clean-up of all the stuff one accumulates over 38 years of living in one place, one of my biggest worries was all my succulents - those in the garden were OK, but I had dozens of succulents and cacti in pots and it was impossible for me to take all of them with me. After a short search I was lucky and blessed enough to find another succulent-lover who was thrilled to take all of them off my hands.

Now, here's the thing - the sale fell through! (Much to my relief, I must say, as in the process of selling we suddenly realised what we are leaving behind and we fell in love with our life and our smallholding all over again! One doesn't realise what you have until you lose it, or almost lose it, right?)

This new planting was just coming along nicely and the Aeoniums on the left were some of my favourites.

This Echeveria elegans was also just starting to flower for the first time in in about the 4 years I had it

Another first, this Haworthia cooperii var Transiensis was also pushing up it's first tiny little flowers

My only consolation is that I still have a few succulents and cacti left in the garden and it would be easy to take cuttings and start a new collection. But here's the question : do I want to start another potted collection again? At first, after they were all gone, I felt empty and lost, no daily routine of checking up on all of them, spotting new growth and new flowers and softly chatting to each and every one. All their small watering cans are standing empty, calling out for something to water.

But on the other hand, it's also very liberating to not constantly be worried about them and rushing outside to bring them under cover every time it starts hailing. So, for now, I'll be chatting to all my succulents and cacti in the ground in the garden, checking on them daily and giving them some special attention!


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