Friday, July 19, 2013

Fab 5 - Ericas

The genus Erica has about 860 species in them and of that 860 species South Africa is home to 760. Their flowers have many different shapes from bottle to globe to tube to urn shaped flowers and they are mostly pollinated by birds, insects and the wind.

I always thought Erica species was such a typical fynbos plant, with their small growth habit and needle like leaves, but after seeing them in flower I look at them differently because they are such beautiful plants and easy to maintain if they are given what they need.

This month's Fab 5 wasn't easy because I was exposed to so many amazing Erica sp. It was difficult to choose only 5. I selected the best 5 flowering Erica sp. I could find (and photograph). 

Erica baccans
Erica baccans produces bright cherry pink splashes of colour. Its common name is berry heath and is grown easily in a variety of garden conditions it even grows well in a pot. They are in full flower from September to November.

Erica patersonii
 The bright golden yellow tubular flowers are arranged in closely packed spikes. Flowering stems resemble corn on the cob, giving its common name Mealie heath. It is listed as rare and occurs in wet or marshy areas along the Western Cape. They are threatened by urban expansion and farming.

Erica blenna
 Flowers are bright orange with green tips and are sticky. They flowers from April to November. This Erica is relatively small because it is a slow grower. It is one of the most magnificent Ericas and is well known.

Erica leucotrachela
 Erica leucotrachela has two toned tubular flowers flowering from May to October. The species is found on mountain peaks between Rooi-els and Palmiet River and is endemic to Betty's Bay. It loves growing in moist cool conditions. This Erica really reminds me of Christmas because of its red and white flowers.

Erica haematocodon
 Erica haematocodon has deep red bell-shaped flowers and is listed as a rare plant. They are in full flower from December to February and occur naturally on rocky slopes of Cape Peninsula.

These photos were taken at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, most of these Ericas are grown and cultivated here as many of them are endangered or rare in their natural habitat. This is only 5 of many beautiful Ericas displayed in the numerous sections of the garden. Once you see some of them you'll notice how enticing they are and it could just lead to a lifetime of interest.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Lachenalia bulbs


Lachenalia come in many colours like this one consisting of red, yellow, orange, purple and green.

One of my favorite bulbs is Lachenalia also know as the Cape cowslip. They belong to the Hyacinthaceae family and are deciduous perennials. They normally get one to several leaves but usually only two is seen. They flower in racemes or spikes. Flowers are more or less zygomorphic meaning its symmetrical when cut in half. Flowers are often described as nodding because their flowers are hanging. They come in many shapes, bell shaped, tubular shaped, cylindrical or urn shaped. They are variously coloured and often scented.

Flowers are often described as nodding.

Lachenalia viridiflora an endangered blue species.

Different flowers have different shapes and flower in recemes or spikes, in this case its flowering in a spike.

Most Lachenalia sp. are easy to grow and are often very attractive, making them well worth cultivating. Their small size combined with their variously coloured flowers make them ideal pot plants although mass plantings in the garden of some species look great in gardens, giving the garden a different look when it all flowers.

Lachenalia trichophylla is a great pot plant because of its hairy leaves and different growth.

These bulbs will bring colour and texture into any house and garden and are generally easy to grow.

Mass plantings in gardens will look lovely especially with bright yellow species.

This bulb is a beautiful low maintenance plant when they deciduous u forget about them and when they in flower they bring such beautiful colours back into the house and garden, its a must have for all bulb lovers.

Attracting bees and other friendly insects into your garden.
All of the pictures of these bulbs were taken at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens in the conservory and in the nurseries, being a temporary student in the gardens I have the advantage of seeing these beautiful plants being grown and get to take pictures through out the day. Lucky me!