Vygies – or mesembryanthemums – are truly South Africa’s most colourful plant group. Their silky-textured flowers – in just about every colour of the rainbow – will give an extraordinary luminosity to any border.
Plant vygies in a sunny, well-drained position. Where drainage is a problem, rockeries and north and west-facing slopes are ideal sites. Vygies thrive in many different soil types, and need little nourishment. Perennial vygies can be planted at any time of the year.
Indian Hawthorn is a hardy sun-loving shrub which is in flower now. It is grown for it’s popular pink flowers and used extensively in Bonsai culture.
It is often trimmed to create hedges, or ball standards. It is attractive to bees, butterflies and birds
The Satynblom is a stemless geophyte occuring in the Hantam Karoo
The lovely large glossy red flowers (hence the common namesatynblom), have black markings on the inside and anther filaments that are fused into a column.
The Monkey Beetle (Clania glenlyonensis) ” is a main pollinator of Romulea monadelpha and within the Hantam National Botanical Garden. It also visits a range of other flowers, and because of its rapid and busy flight, high loads of pollen carried on its hairy body, and large numbers, it is considered a keystone pollinator.
The Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia Reginae) is the most popular perennial around the world.
Bees are common visitors when the spathe is in flower. Sunbirds may be the pollinator, but this has still to be proven. The role of sunbirds in Strelitzia pollination needs to be investigated, as they have been observed “robbing” the flowers by taking nectar but by-passing the pollination mechanism. Birds eat and disperse the seed.
Strelitzia reginae is widely used in landscaping as an architectural plant and focal point.
The malachite sunbird (Nectarinia famosa) is a small nectivorous bird.
The breeding male malachite sunbird, which has very long central tail feathers, is 25 cm long, and the shorter-tailed female 15 cm. The adult male is metallic green when breeding, with blackish-green wings with small yellow pectoral patches.
Most sunbird species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed most of the time. As a fairly large sunbird, the malachite sunbird is no exception. They have long thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues, both adaptations to nectar feeding. Some plant species from which malachite sunbirds feed include many Aloe species, such as Aloe broomii, Aloe ferox and Aloe arborescens, and Protea species, such as Protea roupelliae as well as various other bird-pollinated plants such as Leonotis and Strelitzia.
The call is a loud tseep-tseep, and the male malachite sunbird has a twittering song