“An acquaintance merely enjoys your company, a fair-weather companion flatters when all is well, a true friend has your best interests at heart and the pluck to tell you what you need to hear.” (E.A. Bucchianeri: Brushstrokes of a Gadfly)
I met Francis Thompson at a Rare Plant Fair in Stellenbosch many years ago. He lives in Cape Town and I visit him whenever I am there and vice versa. On our last get-together, I was instructed that he wanted a Lapageria rosea climber – a plant which just happens to be notoriously difficult to propagate. “Oh yes??” I said, a bit taken aback. His casual reply was that seeing as I had a large specimen in my garden it shouldn’t be a problem. “Oh yes??” I repeated. “Yes,” said Francis. “You just split it, Leoné!”
I passed this story on to my staff and Lebo seemed to share my dismay. After a few follow up calls from our friend, we finally decided at the beginning of September that we had better take the plunge. Well, we now have two mother plants in our pot and about twenty babies sprouting new leaves. Francis neglected to mention that this project will probably take a year to come to fruition but we wait with bated breath...
Thanks for being “a true friend”, Francis!
IN THE GARDEN
Grape harvest! (if the birds don't get there first)
IN THE NURSERY
Click here to go to the new page on the website showing all the plants featured in this newsletter.
· Indigenous plants
Argyrolobium tomentosum is a gorgeous soft perennial which has attractive white edged trifoliate leaves and yellow pea like flowers from summer to autumn. It is hardy and evergreen and likes semi shade. We have the short form in stock which grows to a height of about 40cm. It also self-seeds.
Birds love the large orange autumn berries of Cassinopsis ilicifolia, a dense spiny evergreen shrub with lovely shiny green leaves and small whitish flowers in spring. It grows up to 3m high so is a good choice for screening. It is very hardy and does best in shade or semi shade.
Helichrysum cymosum is a beautiful scrambling ground cover with woolly stems and small aromatic silver leaves. It is evergreen and very hardy and grows about 30cm high in either sun or semi shade. It has clusters of pale yellow flowers in late summer but is really worth having for its lovely foliage. We believe that it should be allowed to cascade over a wall or terrace.
The rare Sclerochiton odoratissimus, with its scented white flowers in summer, remains one of my favourite plants. This is a hardy evergreen upright shrub that grows to about 1.2m. It likes semi shade. Plants in the nursery are now in bud.
· Exotic plants
We have a selection of the wonderfully floriferous buddlejas in stock. With their lance shaped leaves and tapering spikes of flowers from summer to autumn, these tall shrubs are a must for anyone wanting to attract butterflies and bees to the garden. Colours range from white and pale lilac to deep purple.
The very pretty white daisy flowers of the summer flowering Aster ericoides also attract butterflies. This 30cm high bushy compact perennial is very hardy and evergreen and wants a sunny spot.
If you are looking for some height in the garden, try Catalpa bignoniodes. This attractive upright tree has large heart shaped lime green leaves and panicles of white spotted trumpet shaped flowers in summer. It is very hardy, grows to a height of about 5m and likes full sun. When picking out a spot bear in mind that it is deciduous.
Lovely as a feature plant or in a border, Philadelphus Mont Blanc is a fast growing 2m high deciduous shrub. It can take sun or semi shade and has scented bell shaped white flowers in summer. Remember to prune back after flowering.
Best wishes to all for a wonderful festive season with family and friends and happy holidays!
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