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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Saturday, 8 December 2018

Firesticks - Euphorbia tirucalli

Firesticks - Euphorbia tirucalli in the Summer on the North Coast, Ballito, KZN - green with no yellow or pink (Sheffield Beach, Ballito)

 This is what Firesticks - Euphorbia tirucalli - looks like in winter on the North Coast, KwaZulu Natal - note the beautiful pink colour on the tips. And here they grow absolutely HUGE! (Sheffield Beach, Ballito)

It has been said that the pink and orange colours only come out when the plant is grown in the shade, but this specimen is in full sun year-round. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

I took a stroll

 
I took a little stroll 
along the pathway 
and observed the wild flowers blooming.
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It was a very fine day.
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(Photo taken on my stroll through Sheffield Beach Estate in Ballito, KwaZulu Natal - my new home for the past 7 months)

 

Aloe arborescens (Torch Aloe)

 

Family: Asphodelaceae
Common names: krantz aloe (English), kransaalwyn (Afrikaans), ikalene (Xhosa), inkalane or umhlabana (Zulu)

The krantz aloe is a valuable garden asset, it has large beautiful flowers, attractive foliage, decorative form, and it is easy to grow. It is also a 'must-have' for anyone wanting to stock their herb gardens with indigenous healing plants.

This species is distributed mainly over the eastern, summer rainfall areas of the country. It has the third widest distribution of any aloe, occurring from the Cape Peninsula along the eastern coast, through KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo province and further north into Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. It is one of the few aloes that can be found growing at sea level right up to the tops of mountains. The krantz aloe is adapted to many habitats, but is usually found in mountainous areas where it favours exposed ridges and rocky outcrops. It is also found in dense bush.

It enjoys full sun, well-drained, compost-enriched soil and can tolerate moderate frost but is sensitive to severe frost. It is fast-growing, and it will tolerate drought and neglect once established. It is grown mainly as an ornamental or as an accent plant, but is also an excellent and impenetrable hedge plant.
The krantz aloe is easily propagated from a branch or stem cut off, allowed to dry for a day or so until the wound has sealed, and then planted in well-drained soil or sand. They need not be rooted in any particular place and then transplanted, but can be placed directly into their permanent place in the garden. It is important to remember not to water the cuttings too heavily; overwatering may cause them to rot. This aloe can also be grown from seed, sown in spring. Seed should take three to four weeks to germinate, and the seedlings must be protected from frost.

Aloe arborescens hybridises readily with other aloes.

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Saturday, 17 February 2018

Today!


It has been 8 weeks since we sold our smallholding in Gauteng and moved down to the North Coast of KwaZulu Natal (South Africa) (ONLY 6 weeks??!! feels like a life-time!) and it has taken me all this while to find my feet, gather my thoughts and feel as if I once again belong somewhere. The biggest thing about moving from a place where you have lived for 43 years is seemingly losing your 'identity' - an identity tied to the bird life you studied for so many years, an identity tied to the grass, trees and the very soil you were walking on, an identity tied to "your" plants and birds and insects and little animals nurtured in your garden for so long.


I open my eyes in the mornings and in stead of hearing the Cape Robin-chat singing on my patio, I hear the exotic sound of the Burchell's Coucal outside my window, the sound of the surf pounding on the beach in stead of traffic whizzing past my front gate, and when I rise and go for an early morning walk, I see tropical (and unknown!) vegetation in stead of veld grass and Bluegum trees. A big a change as you can ever imagine!

Yes, it has taken me 8 weeks to get into the swing of things in this new life we have chosen and although I was, and still am, mourning the loss of my pets (my chooks will forever be ingrained in my heart), I now look forward to discovering all that is new in this exotic coastal location; insects I have never seen in my life, the names of the trees and plants which thrive in these hot and humid conditions and finding out which succulents like to grow here!


A small, but brand-new beginning... Spekboom cuttings on the left, an unknown and as yet unidentified succulent on the right and a new Echeveria and some Sedum rubrotinctum (Jelly beans) in the small wooden box planter.]

Watch this space! Smile!

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