The Spur flower (Plectranthus) family is a real treat in the Western Cape at the moment. It is the largest South African genus in the mint (Lamiaceae) family, with 44 natural species. Among the South African members of the genus we have some of the showiest garden plants providing a mass display of colour in late summer and autumn. Colour selections range between pink, purple and white and many shades in-between. Plectranthus are noted for their aromatic leaves when crushed or even brushed against.
Plectranthus are easily cultivated and require little extra attention or special treatment. They enjoy well-composted soils, and as rule thrive in semi shade or cool positions on south facing aspects. They are ideally suited to growth under the shade of trees. They are generally shallow rooted and enjoy adequate water but they do store water in their stems and are resistant to prolonged periods of drought. Plectranthus are often grown for their attractive foliage, flowers or both and vary in their growth forms from dense prostrate ground covers to sub-shrubs and large shrubs.
Brunfelsia grandiflora is a tree-like shrub indigenous to the tropical regions of South America, ranging from Venezuela to Bolivia. It is especially abundant in Brazil and on the Caribbean Islands. In the wild this plant can grow up to 10 feet (3 meters) tall, and produces many dark green long oval leaves that will grow up to 12 inches (30cm) long. This shrub produces many ornamental flowers and has long been cultivated for its aesthetic beauty. The flowers are thin, trumpet-like and will grow up to 4 inch long, producing five petals and varying in color from lavender, dark blue and violet to light purple and white (Ratsch 1998, 112).
TRADITIONAL USE: The indigenous peoples of the Amazon have used Manaca for ritual healing ceremonies, and in magical and religious observances. The shaman of the Kofan Indian tribe drink a tea made from the roots and root bark of the plant to see into the body of an ill patient. The plant allows them to understand the nature of the ailment and to help heal the patient. Many tribes throughout the Amazonian River basin add Brunfelsia grandiflora leaves, roots and root bark to their Ayahuasca brews, to produce a brew that is blessed by the plant and animal spirits. In Peru, the roots are sometimes taken as a plant teacher for a period of one month. It is said that the older, thick roots are toxic, whereas the young roots that are 1.5cm or under are safe for use. A dose generally consists of two or three roots (Plowman 1977).
The flowers on an individual plant last less than one month, but nearly all the plants will come into bloom at the same time in the late summer. They are equally distributed as a terrestrial or epiphytic. When planted in the ground, they quickly create large clumps, and when planted at the base of a tree, will slowly climb the trunk.
Banana Peels, elk horn, Elk Horn Fern, epiphyte, Fern, fertile fronds, Flora and Fauna, Frond, garden, home grown, nature, organic, ornamental plant, plants, Platycerium, Platycerium superbum, stag horn, worm castings
This is my “MOTHER” superbum ( Platycerium superbum ). She arrived in my family of plants in 1988, which makes her the ripe old age of 25. Obviously then she was only a pup, looking like the pup pictured below.As she is an epiphyte, a container like the one above was created for her years ago. It was filled with a mixture of potting soil and worm castings. She was then attached using soft string and hung underneath a tree. The leaf drop replenishes the container with humus. She loves a twice weekly spray of water. Chopped Banana peels and mashed banana are added twice a year.
Today I finally planted my Ginger” grown from scraps” into the ground.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is easy to grow and makes for a great project with kids. And with its attractive foliage, this plant will add beauty to your home and garden, as well. Just pick up a root from your grocery store’s produce section and get growing!
Because ginger root tubers grow right near the soil surface, don’t bury them when you transplant them to your garden.
Simply lay the ginger root on the top of the potting soil to “plant” it.
Pull the roots from the ground and allow them to dry in the open air before removing the stalks and harvesting.
Ginger root is sold in a clump that’s often called a “hand.” You’ll want to choose a hand that’s fresh and firm with as many “fingers” as possible. To get as many plants as you can, cut or break the fingers off the main root. Each section with a growing tip will become a plant. Be sure to allow any cut surfaces to dry before planting them in moist soil.
Planting is easy as pie: Simply pick a pot that’s at least twice the diameter as the length of your root section. Fill it ¾ full with standard potting soil, and place the small root sections on the soil surface. Water it well. Your plant will survive dry spells, but to get the most consistent growth, keep it damp at all times. Place your ginger pot in a spot where it’ll stay warm. There’s no need to find a sunny spot on your windowsill. At this stage, your ginger actually grows better without direct sunshine. Before you know it, you’ll see sprouts.
Growing your own Sweet Potatoes is really easy.
Cut a cube of your sweet potato about 5 cm x 5 cm.
Fill a large container with potting soil and mix in worm compost. (Placing stone ship in the bottom to ensure drainage.)
Plant your sweet potato piece in the center about 5 cm in-depth.
Water well until water runs out of the pot, making sure all the soil is thoroughly wet. Do this every day. In a short period of time you will see vine growth.
After about 3 months, start feeling around in the soil for new potatoes and harvest as required.
This Sweet Potato has been in the same pot now for 3 years and has provided a great deal of Sweet potatoes.
It also becomes quite a talking point, when I show my guests a new potato pulled from the ground.
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Cone-flowers are endemic to eastern and central North America, where they are found growing in moist to dry prairies and open wooded areas. They have large, showy heads of composite flowers, blooming from early to late summer. The generic name is derived from the Greek word ἐχῖνος (echino), meaning “sea urchin,” due to the spiny central disk. Some species are used in herbal medicines and some are cultivated in gardens for their showy flowers.
They tolerate a wide variety of conditions, maintain attractive foliage throughout the season, and multiply rapidly. Appropriate species are used in prairie restorations. Echinacea plants also reseed in the fall. New flowers will grow where seeds have fallen from the prior year.