A huge storm came through last week. The wind blew hard and broke this Syringa tree virtually in half. It fell crushing the perimeter fence.
I was also devastated to find that we had a robber visit and steal our wild hive of Bees.
While installing a vegetable garden in Claremont, I noticed this Pride of India in full flower. What a stunning sight to see.
Lagerstroemia speciosa is a small to medium sized tree with smooth flaky bark.
It is a native to Southern tropical Asia. It is primarily grown as an ornamental.
Pride of India has a long history of folkloric medical applications that include blood pressure control, urinary dysfunctions (helps ease urination), cholesterol level control, treatment of diarrhea, facilitates bowel movement, diabetes and as an analgesic
This eye-catching caterpillar of the Cape Lappet Moth (Eutricha capensis) is usually found in large clusters on tree trunks of trees. Larvae congregate conspicuously on tree trunks, feeding on Acacia, white stinkwood (Celtis), bush willow (Combretum), Bauhinia and other trees in nature, and on trees such as mango, peach and the Brazilian Pepper in gardens.”
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“Well,” said the Captain at a venture, “I’ll take five pounds for it.”
The Arderne Gardens, with its shady glades, romatic nooks, and Japanese-style ponds has, for generations, been a place for Capetonians to bring their children, take much cherished wedding photographs, and relax away from the increasing hubbub of city life. The garden, thanks to the extraordinary interest and commitment of its founders, also has one of the most diverse and valuable collections of exotic trees in all of South Africa. It now officially includes one of the largest trees in South Africa, the vast Moreton Bay Fig (or, Wedding Tree, as it is commonly called) and quite possibly the largest Aleppo Pine in the world. These trees, along with four others, were proudly designated Champion Trees in 2008.
Protea nitida (commonly called Wagon tree, Waboom or Blousuikerbos) is a large, slow-growing Protea endemic to South Africa. It is one of the few Proteas that grow into trees, and the only one that has usable timber.
Uses and cultural aspects
Protea nitida has various common names relating to its historical uses. Baboons would climb up the trees to feed on the nectar of the flowers, or baboon sentries would use trees as lookouts, and therefore the plant was given the name bobbejaansuikerbos. Brandhout, the Afrikaans word for firewood, indicates another use. The name waboom originates from the use of the wood for wheel rims and brake blocks of wagons. Interestingly, the name waboom was first recorded in 1720 and has thus been used for far longer than its scientific name. The wood was popular for the manufacture of ornamental furniture. It also made excellent charcoal. The bark was used for tanning leather. The tannin-rich bark was used to prepare an infusion for treating diarrhea. The leaves were used for making ink. Either dry or fresh leaves were boiled up with a rusty iron nail and a piece of sugar candy. The resulting fluid (a decoction) is a fine blue-black, ideal for dyeing. These days, however, the greatest use for P. nitida is as a garden specimen.
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