Blackwood's

Gardening without Blackwood’s – #lockdown2020 – 2 April

Well, almost a week has passed since the lockdown commenced.  Finding ways to pass the time meaningfully are still a challenge.  Here are a few ideas for times when the weather is inclement and being outdoors is not the ideal. Use spare time to reflect on gardening and your garden in particular and start compiling a list of things that you can do in the future to improve not only the plants in your garden, but the manner in which you perceive it.  Ask yourself questions like – do I/we spend enough time and effort in the garden?  Does the garden have the correct plants to encourage birds? Are we growing enough of our own vegetables?  Do we really need all that lawn? There is seemingly an endless list of pertinent questions that can be answered.  Once this is completed, you should have a lot more clarity in terms of where to from “lockdown” for your garden. The road ahead will have a clear direction!

It’s the ideal time to start making a list of plants that you may not have in the garden, but would like to acquire sometime in the future.  Start making a so-called shopping list of plants that can make a telling impact on your garden in the years to come.  Here are a few suggestions from me. These are some lesser known plants that are worthy of consideration:

Echeveria ‘Blue Curls’ – giant rock rose.  There are literally hundreds of different echeveria types that vary in size, shape, form and colour of foliage.  Some of the newer hybrids like this one are quite spectacular in the garden.  Full sun and dry growing conditions are their preference.  Start collecting echeverias and their many relatives like Graptopetalum, Graptoveria and Aeoniums.

Adenium hybrid – impala lily.  Some of these lovely flowering succulents are indigenous to the dry bushveld areas in South Africa, whilst others originate from further north.  Many garden hybrids have been produced, mainly from the orient.  Most of them are spectacular in full bloom. They make splendid container plants that can be moved under shelter when periods of high rainfall are expected. They often drown in the garden when it’s really wet.

Tabernaemontana elegans – toad tree.  One of our loveliest smaller indigenous trees with white flowers. The large fruit or seed pods are “toad-like” in appearance, hence the common name. These split open, revealing fleshy, edible seeds.  Beautiful specimen trees for frost free gardens.

Metarungia longistrobus – sunbird bush.  An indigenous shrub that’s seldom seen in gardens. The lovely coppery-gold flowers are rich in nectar attracting sunbirds and other nectar feeders to the autumn garden. They grow in sun or light shade and need to be pruned back after flowering.

Platycerium bifurcatum – stag’s horn fern.  One of a dozen or so different stag’s horn ferns found in tropical rain forests around the world. They are easy to grow epiphytes that attach to trees or pieces of wood. Make distinctive impressions in the garden, adding an extra dimension to the landscape. They propagate by means of spores that are wind dispersed. An interesting group of plants well worthy of being collected.

Till next time

Love your garden

Gerald