Saturday, 3 December 2016

Summer-time is Echeveria time

I’ve been absent from the world, lost in the beauty of my sunny front yard garden. Too much work, a whole lot of plants, and life goes on. And the Echeverias (E. elegans) are flowering! A sure sign of mid-summer and lots of rain.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Cycad up-date (Cycas revoluta)

It has been just 6 weeks since I posted pics of my cycad flushing after I had been terribly worried that he might be dying, and look at him now! He seems to have almost doubled in size and is looking very lush and tropical!

My Cycas revoluta 6 weeks ago

Enjoying some mid-day shade

Don't the leaves just look beautiful and healthy?!

We've had tons of rain, 10-20mm just about every day and the garden is really loving it. The Hydrangea bushes are covered in flower heads, some as large as a dinner plate! Hydrangeas are not something I'll plant in my garden again any time soon - in the summer heat the water just disappears into our deep top soil, leaving me having to water them just about every day in summer, thank heavens for the past bounty of rain!

Friday, 7 October 2016

Hooray! My Cycad is flushing!

In April this year (2016), I was worried about my Cycad (Cycas revoluta (Sago Palm), afraid that it was dying because all the leaves started lying down flat. I got a lovely comment from "A" at that post, saying,

"Hi Maree, I'm quite confident that there is absolutely nothing wrong with your cycas. It is quite common for them to skip a season without flushing, sometimes stress related, but I doubt this is the cause. With cycas you can almost always tell if something is wrong by looking at the colour of the leaves - like if there was a mineral shortage they would turn yellowish or show signs of burns at the tips of the leaves the most common problem and cause of death with them is root-rot, this can also be picked up by looking at the leaves - the base of the leaves becomes a darkish rot-like brown, which progresses towards the tip of the leaves as the root rot becomes worse and goes untreated. Just as a side note - you won't be able to see changes in the current set of leave if you try and correct the condition by adding compost or whatever, it will only show in the new set.

But with yours, I suspect the answer might relate to the age of your plant - as the plant gets older the flush gets larger and preparing for the larger flush takes more time and nutrients. So I think it would be safe to say that you can expect a nice large one before December this year. You can also try feeding it with Seagrow or just a healthy dose of compost from your heap and watch it prosper."

And now, here's the wonderful proof of this!

I am absolutely thrilled that he is OK! I've been spending the winter worrying about him and talking to him, and at the end of winter I did give him a good dose of compost.

So, a big thank you "A", for setting my mind at ease and also for the wonderful information you imparted, very grateful for that!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

The succulent grows in symmetry

The succulent grows in symmetry,
Budding as a flower,
Reaching for moisture,
And sunlight every hour,

She waits in peace for loving,
Someone to grow beside,
Hopeful in the waiting,
With no shade to hide behind,

But then, a plant is placed by her,
A quiet friend to greet,
So, now they'll grow in harmony,
Until their purpose is complete.


Friday, 30 September 2016

Reasons Succulents Are The Best Plants Ever!

They are low maintenance
they come in all kinds of colours
They're fat and happy

They like hanging out!
They can live in teacups or anywhere else
they regularly have babies
You can use their cuttings to make more succulents


Monday, 26 September 2016

One for Monday

koi swim in the pond
riot of colour swirling
a day in the garden

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Where is the best place to plant a succulent garden?

Summer is here and there's lots of work to be done in the garden. If, like me, you're thinking of starting a succulent garden, read what "Random Harvest Nursery" has to say about this...

Where the light changes, is the best place for your succulent and rock garden. It does not matter if it is a dry and problematic area.

The creation of that special place is a labour of love, because creating mood and feeling in a garden is the same as weaving a tapestry of colours. It takes a lot of patience and planning, but don’t let that put you off.

If your space is against a wall, you could paint a desert scene that flows into your bed, especially if your rockery is too small to plant a large Aloe.

Then, taking your time, gradually release your creative genius by adding soil and doing some earth shaping to help fashion different shadows and light, that will add drama to architectural plants. Create miniature landscape features like rocky canyons, outcrops and a dry river bed. Have fun by copying a typical dry river bed in nature.

Include debris such as water smoothed pebbles, seeds that may have been carried along an irregular flash flood, driftwood, grass lodged behind an occasional rock, and dried grasses and reeds etc.

The driftwood will help to encourage soil organisms and enhance your plants. You could even use different coloured sands to complete the picture.

A little water is essential for the insects, birds and lizards that
will be drawn to the living, evolving eco-system. Make sure to allow for
a little seepage, alternatively a small grindstone shaped rock with a
dripper is sufficient. Space permitting, you could even create a small
pool backed up against a shaded rocky area in your dry riverbed.


Rocks and gravel come next, cultivating this habitat for plants, wildlife and organisms.  When choosing rocks and gravel they should have similar harmonious colours that will blend naturally together.

Creating a natural cobblestone, or rock pathway through your
succulent bed, will enable you to stroll through and get a closer look at your creation. A stone seat, built to look like a stone wall, or a dry stone wall or gabion with plants growing out of the spaces between the rocks completes the picture.

Succulents need healthy, well-drained soil to which compost and organic fertilizer have been added.

When you have done the planting, mulch the area with gravel, woodchips, bark, leaves, or other organic material; thereafter mulch the bed with a thin layer at least once a year, but twice is better to keep the soil healthy.

When deciding what to plant where, take the colours, shapes and textures of the leaves and stems, as well as the overall character of the plants, into account.

When planting, think of their natural habitat, Lithops spp. (Stone Plants) that grow so cryptically take on the appearance of the gravel in which they grow. Only when they burst forth in colourful, glistening
bloom are they highly visible to both us and their pollinators.

When placing your plants stand back and keep checking if they have been placed correctly. Start with feature plants or “star performers” such as large Aloes. Rocks should look completely natural.

Place bulbs such as Haemanthus humilis (Rabbit’s ears), strategically under rocks and growing from crevasses. If at the end you have made a mistake, remember that succulents transplant very successfully and you can easily move them.


Include other non-succulent species of plant to complete the picture.
Try to stick to those that would be found growing naturally near to the
succulents that you have used, or at least have similar water and sun


Use grasses sparingly as they can overshadow other plants. Include a few Tulbaghia violacea (Wild Garlic) to help with pest control.

The bold lines and often stocky shapes of succulents contrast very well or are shown off with striking effect when planted with softer plants such as some annuals or plants with small leaves and dainty flowers.

Last but not least, sow a scatter pack of Namaqualand Daisies for spring-time splendour in and around your succulents.

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