About me

About me
🌿 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, 18 July 2017

The beauty and ease of Echeverias

With their wonderful grey-green waxy colours and absolutely symmetrical appearance, Echeverias must certainly be one of the most beautiful succulents on our planet. Add to that the ease with which they propagate and the minimal care they need, and you have a winner!

Echeverias are native to semi-desert areas of Central America, Mexico and north-western South America and although they do thrive in hot, desert conditions, with a bit of extra water you will have the biggest and most gorgeous plants that reward with lots and lots of flowers.

Most will tolerate shade and some frost, although hybrids, like this E. imbricata (or glauca), tend to be less tolerant. I often bring my most prized plants which are in pots, indoors for winterizing.

 Echeveria imbricata planted in an old dog basket

 Large Echeveria imbricata (10" in dia), sharing a concrete pot with some waxy-green Aeoniums. A shade-loving Aloe zebrina took hold at the base of the pot, probably a seed spread by birds.

The beautiful flowers of E. imbricata

Once they start flowering, there's no stopping them!

This succulent propagates by making lots of pups which can be separated and planted out to form new clumps and in a few months you could have cultivated a beautiful collection! It is also easily propagated by taking a leaf and sticking it in some sandy soil, keeping it slightly moist until roots have formed, when a new little plant will emerge next to the leaf cutting. 

A few Echeverias planted in front of some Phormiums soon spread to cover the whole area in a matter of two seasons.

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 décor 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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