Tag Archives: water-wise

Chearful Portulacas flowering now at Towerkop Nursery.

portulacaportulaca1

Portulacas are easy to grow succulent annuals that come in many colours. I like the salmon coloured ones the most !

Sea-onion, Albuca bracteata. Feature plant at Towerkop Nursery.

albucaAlbuca bracteata – Sea onion being attended to by a bee !

Attractive inflorescences on long spikes of small white fragrant flowers with green central stripes produced from spring to summer.

These South African natives are particularly attractive in rock gardens, slopes and containers.

 

 

Aloe variegata, flowering now at Towerkop Nursery.

aloe-variegata

This small Aloe is widespread in the arid western interior of South Africa.

Featured plant at Towerkop Nursery.

watsonia

Watsonia. Robust, deciduous, cormous perennial of the Iris family. Indigenous to South Africa.

Featured plant at Towerkop Nursery.

orbea_variegata

Carrion Flower – Orbea variegata. Native to the Southwestern and southern cape of South Africa.

John the Farmer made a wall garden!

Wall Garden

I made this wall garden for a client as a feature to distract from an imposing wall. I recycled some left over and damaged guttering (the square type).

How to construct the wall garden:

I cut the guttering into equal lengths and fitted each length with end pieces so each length becomes a container

Be sure to drill drainage holes before affixing them to the wall

Wall01

Drill holes for drainage

The gutters are the spaced equally on the wall, marked off and attached by their own brackets.

Wall02

Fix the gutters to the wall equidistant

The wall was north facing in a hot climate, so I built a screen to shade the wall garden in summer but allow the winter sun to reach the plants. To do this I positioned the gutters vertically but this is not necessary. They could also be arranged in a stepped pattern, for instance.

Wall04

Screen made from fencing poles

Wall05

Screen attached to wall

I then cut chicken wire to fit the bottom of each gutter over the drainage holes to hold the soil and prevent the drainage holes from becoming blocked.

Wall07

Each gutter is filled with soil

I then filled the gutters with first gravel, then finer river sand, then composted ground to assure good drainage.

Water the soil in well and begin planting.

Planting

Planting

Wall2

Water in well

Wall08

Group plants in each container

 

 

Recommended plants:

 

I  recommended smaller hardier plants at the top and plants with more foliage at the bottom to avoid a top-heavy look

Gutters 1-2

Glottiphyllum longum

Echevaria (Desert Rose)

Stapelia sp.

Hawarthia sp.

Sedum sp.

Aptenia cordifolia

Crassula sp.

 

Gutters 3-5

 

Senecio sp.

Geranium

Epiphytes (Air plants)

Bulbinella

Nustertium

Gazanias

Strawberries

Lobelia

Bulbinella (Bulbine frutescens). Featured plant at Towerkop Nursery.

Bulbine

Bulbine

Bulbine frutescens

 

Common Names: Afrikaans: balsemkopiva, copaiba, geelkatstert, katstert

 

English: snake flower, cat’s tail, burn jelly plant, stalked bulbine, grass aloe

 

Description:

 

There are over 50 species of bulbine, and many are used by our traditional herbalists including B.

 

asphodeloides (wildekopiva), B. alooides (rooistorm), B. narcissifolia (geelslangkop), B. natalensis

 

(rooiwortel), and B. latifolia.

 

Bulbine frutescens is an aloe-like succulent plant with a rosette of long, fleshy, yellow-green 

 

leaves. Long flower stems bear elongated clusters of small, yellow-orange flowers with

 

characteristically fluffy stamens.

 

 

 

This is a popular, waterwise garden plant, especially when planted en masse as a ground cover, or in rock gardens. It is also cultivated for its medicinal properties.

 


It is a fast growing, branched, succulent perennial with fleshy, linear green leaves in opposite rows and clasping the stems at the base. It forms spreading clumps with greyish stems often bearing adventitious roots. The small 6-petaled star shaped flowers are carried on an upright, spreading raceme during spring (or occasionally at other times). The petals are either yellow or sometimes orange, which combines attractively with the fluffy yellow stamens to give a bi-coloured look. The fruit is a small, rounded capsule and contains black seeds which are dispersed by wind.

 

Bulbine frutescens occurs widespread throughout parts of Northern Cape, Western and Eastern Cape; however, it reaches its peak in the succulent-rich, dry valleys of Eastern Cape.

 

Medicinal Properties:

 

Bulbine frutescens is one of nature’s extraordinary medicinal plants, a first-aid pharmacy in one

 

The fresh leaf produces a jelly-like juice that is wonderful for burns, rashes, blisters, insect bites, cracked lips, acne, cold sores, mouth ulcers and areas of cracked skin.

 

 

 

An infusion is made of a few fresh leaves in a cup of boiling water. The strained drink is taken for coughs, colds and arthritis.

 

 

 

Cultivation:

 

This is a an easy to grow, waterwise, floriferous groundcover, which with the minimum of care, will look good all year round. It combines beautifully with blue dwarf agapanthus, flowering at the same time. It does well and looks good in medium to large pots. Will cascade over edges. May need some pruning to keep tidy.

 

 

 

Bulbine frutescens likes full sun but they will also grow in semi-shade for part of the day and can thrive with very little water. Resistant to drought, heat and frost it can be grown easily anywhere, including a windowsill or a pot on the balcony. It thrives in almost any soil, even where little else grows. Space plants 20-30cm apart. This succulent perennial multiplies rapidly. The dead flower heads should be removed to encourage further flowering.

 

 

 

Propagation:

 

 

 

Propogation is best done in Spring. Easy from seed or from cuttings and division of clumps. Any piece with a bit of stem will root quickly. The cuttings can be planted immediately and kept in a shady area. They do not need any special attention or treatment, and build strong roots in a couple of months.

 

 

 

Bulbine frutescens will thrive with a little compost and a watering once a week or so. Will flower almost year round but is mostly dormant in summer, blooming in the spring, and then again in autumn, attracting an abundance of bees.