Category Archives: ALL

It’s Jacaranda season !

Jacaranda mimosifolia

This exotic tree is popular in South Africa but is no longer allowed to be planted here. This one flowering in Ladismith, Little Karoo.

Karoo gold (Rhigozum) flowering now in its natural habitat.

This spiney shrub blends in with the karoo scrub until it blooms profusely in the summer with bright yellow flowers, dotting the veld like bright gold nuggets.

You know it’s going to rain when these cacti flower.

Echinopsis eyriesii

My Amaryllis flowered ! (Hippeastrum reginae).

This South African cultivar sends out leaves and scape at the same time after a season of vegetative growth. It can be grown in a pot or in the ground and it’s long lasting blooms are prized as cut flowers. They thrive when transplanted every few years.

Today John the Farmer is fermenting some herbs.

Sceletium tortuosum is a rare succulent plant that has medicinal properties that relieves anxiety and lifts depression in those with a serotonin imbalance.

It is used by the first people of South Africa, the Khoikhoi and the San during hunting expeditions as it reduces appetite and increases stamina.

It can be chewed, drank as tea or snuffed with different effects according to the method taken.

It is prepared traditionally by fermenting and then drying the herb.

It occurs in the karroo regions of the western cape, typically growing prostrate under the shade of other bushes and trees.

Today John the Farmer is saving seeds of Marigold !

Marigold (Tagetes patula) seeds
Marigold (Tagetes patula) flowers

Tagetes patula is native to Guatumala and Mexico. The flowers are used to add to poultry feed to intensify the color of egg yolk. The essential oil is used in perfumery. It is also used as a pesticide, grown alongside vegetables to fumigate for nematodes. It is used as a saffron-like spice.

The bright flowers of Marigold are also used in the festival of the Day of the Dead in Mexico. They are said to guide the spirits of the departed to their friends and loved ones.

Arum Lily, Zantedeschia. Feature plant at Towerkop Nursery.

Zantedeschia ‘Picassso’ hybrid.

Arum lillies are native to Southern Africa but are cultivated world wide for their long lasting blooms.

It is dormant or evergreen depending on habitat or location. It remains evergreen under cultivation, given plenty of water in a free-draining substrate.

They make good bedding plants, spaced 15cm apart.

The tubers were boiled and fed to pigs, hence the Afrikaans name ‘Varkoor’.

The common white variety Zantedeschia aethiopica is medicinal. The warmed leaves used a poultice to treat sores, boils, insect bites, gout and rheumatism.

The Wilde dagga, Leonotus ocymifolia, attracts sunbirds to the allotment.

I managed to finally capture the Malachite sunbird feeding .

The plant is used medicinally for the symptomatic treatment of coughs in acute bronchial disease, high blood preasure, headaches, asthma and viral hepatitis.

My wheelbarrow at the end of summer.

Containing nasturtium, pansies, portulaca.
A rare, for me, double portulaca. Enjoy !

Aloe ferox tapping in the Little Karoo.

Tapping

Aloe tappers near Calitzdorp in the Little Karoo arrange the cut aloe leaves in a ring around a depression in the ground lined with plastic. Aloin sap flows from the aloe leaves and is collected in the plastic. It is then boiled and reduced to a resinous form taken as a laxative and for arthritis.