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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Thursday, 27 December 2018

A new beginning...


After giving all my succulents away when I left Gauteng last December 2017, I have now acquired a brand new little piece of Crassula tetragona - a new beginning! Pronounced KRASS-yoo-la tet-ra-GON-uh subsp. row-BUS-tah.

Afrikaans: Karkai (Ken enigiemand hierdie Afrikaanse naam...?

Tetragona is a unique variety of evergreen succulent that is native to South Africa and also known as the Miniature Pine Tree due to its foliage resembling a pine tree. Often used as a popular bonsai specimen, grows well in pots or in the ground and grows to a height of 1 meter, this plant grows well in full-sun to partial sun, needs a good water when the soil has dried out.

Native to Southern Africa, it is widely distributed from the Orange River boundary of Namaqualand to beyond the Kei River in the Eastern Cape. Wikipedia says "Tetragona" comes from the phyllotaxy of the leaves. It is popularly named the "miniature pine tree" among ornamental plant enthusiasts, for its popular use as a "pine tree" in Bonsai.

(Pic taken in my bedroom in Sheffield Beach, Ballito, KwaZulu Natal)

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Haworthia cooperi


I've never had much success with growing Haworthia Cooperi. This one of mine started deteriorating soon after I acquired it until it was completely dead!

Haworthia cooperi is a diverse and varied species of the genus Haworthia in the family Asphodelaceae, endemic to the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. It is a fast growing, clustering species with soft, fleshy foliage (the leaves have the feel of tiny, plump grapes). While it clusters, it adds additional offsets slowly, gradually increasing its size to fill a 3 to 4 inch pot.

This plant thrives in dappled shade and I think the mistake I made was to let it get too much direct sunlight. Another factor is that the haworthias show evidence of stress when temperatures become very high (above the mid 90°F - 32°C), which was often the case in my garden, even when the plant was in the shade.
Fat juicy leaves and translucent flesh are the hallmarks of Haworthia window plant. Not all Haworthia have the see-through leaves, but those that do are spectacular specimens of the genus

Read more at Gardening Know How: How To Grow Haworthia: Information On Caring For Window Plants https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/cacti-succulents/haworthia-cacti-succulents/haworthia-window-plants.htm

Fat juicy leaves and translucent flesh are the hallmarks of Haworthia window plant. Not all Haworthia have the see-through leaves, but those that do are spectacular specimens of the genus.

Read more at Gardening Know How: How To Grow Haworthia: Information On Caring For Window Plants https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/cacti-succulents/haworthia-cacti-succulents/haworthia-window-plants.htm

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

The happiest Season of all!


Christmas, and summer time. Everything is in full flower (Echeveria imbricata). Surely it must be the happiest season of all! 
 
Here's wishing you a Merry Christmas and a festive season filled with LOVE, JOY and INSPIRATION!

Monday, 24 December 2018

Festive Greetings 2018


Wishing you and your succulents a magical and blissful holiday! May this Christmas season bring you nothing but fond gardening memories, happiness and laughter!

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Canned gardening


Use empty food tins as pots for your succulents. Just remember to punch a few holes in the bottom to enable good drainage.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Hoya kerrii ‘Variegata’


My Mother's Day gift this year (May 2018), Hoya kerrii ‘Variegata’ (Sweetheart Hoya) is a climbing plant that can grow up to 13 feet (4 m) tall. The stems are up to 0.3 inch (7 mm) in diameter. The leaves ะฐrะต thick, variegated, heart-shaped, are up to 2.4 inches (6cm) wide. Adult plants show inflorescences of up to 2 inches (5cm) diameter and up to 25 small, star-shaped flowers, creamy-white with pink to rose-purple centers. Also called Wax Plant.

Hoya plants don’t ask for much, beyond the well-draining soil and the warm humid conditions that many tropical flowers crave. They don’t like wet feet or heavy soil, and as many grow as epiphytes in nature (similar to bromeliads and orchids). Give them at least a half day of sunshine, and bring them indoors when temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C).

When your Hoya finishes blooming, leave the flower stalk, as it may produce new flowers. Removing the stalk forces the plant to produce a new stalk, which delays blooming and wastes the plant’s energy. They are light feeders, and a monthly drink of compost tea or dilute fish emulsion provides all the nutrition these tropicals need. Hoyas like the security of a snug pot, and plants that are a bit root bound will flower more prolifically than those that are swimming around in a giant pot. Hoya is native to the south-east of Asia.























Sunday, 16 December 2018

Crassula muscosa (Rattail crassula)

Crassula muscosa


Crassula muscosa (also known as Rattail crassula) - is a succulent plant native to South Africa and Namibia, belonging to the family of Crassulaceae and to the genus Crassula. It has very small, light green leaves that are densely packed around a thin stem, and the arrangement of the leaves around the stems gives them a square shape. It grows as an intricate bush with very small yellow-green flowers, with a maximum height of 15–20 cm. It loves environments with a moderate degree of humidity, in which the soil is well drained and composed of fertile soil and sand.

As the plant gets older, it drops many of those small little leaves and can spread to an area covering meters, which is ideal for any open sunny spots in the garden. (I have found that it actually also grows quite well in the shade.)

In bright sunlight

In a shady spot

Also known as the Watch Chain Plant, if planting it indoors, place in a room that gets a lot of sunlight, such as near a north-facing window. Best color maintained with a little shade, even on the coast.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Mother-in-Law's Tongue


Have you ever seen Mother-in-Law's Tongue flowering? Well, here it is! (Sansevieria trifasciata).


Also known as the Snake Plant, it this lovely feature plant is easy to propagate and looks great planted en masse in the garden or in pots on the patio or in your home. They thrive in in both bright and low light areas.


As a houseplant, it does best in bright light but handle low light levels indoors as well. Outdoors bright light to full sun. Handles dry and poor soil conditions but appreciates good well-drained soil inside or outside. Lightly fertilize with a liquid 20-20-20 fertilizer 1/2 strength. DO NOT over-water or over-pot. Temperatures below 4℃ may cause damage to leaves. Relatively pest free.

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.
.
It was a very fine day.
.
(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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