SA natives

jungle_cottage(sub tropics)October 30, 2003

What a nice forum,

I have lived in SA all my life,but now in Hong-Kong,so this is a pleasant find.

I still have a garden in SA that is completely indigenous that I began in 1991.Here I rest and recharge once year amongs all my beloved plants and wildlife.

Here in HK I already have a few of my favorites to keep me company,including a magnificent Acacia Sieb.So when I get down I touch its thick yellow papery bark and tell it not to worry,I will send greetings to its homeland.

Then I have a stiff G&T and doze in the gentle shade it provides,dreaming of home.

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You sound terribly home-sick!!
I think your paperbark thorn should tell you not to worry, not the other way round!
Welcome to the forum. I hope we can cheer you up a bit! :-)

    Bookmark   October 31, 2003 at 3:17PM
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jungle_cottage(sub tropics)

Thank-you,I am quite a cheerful chappie.But you know there isnt another place quite like africa,especialy if you truly appreciate the fauna and flora.So I will always miss it.
Not to say the world isnt packed with fantastic places,just depends where you grew up.This very morning I spotted a small family of leopard cats crossing my drive-way set me up for months.Reasuring my Sieb' far outweighs sympathy for my own chosen plight.
J-C (sorry for the plantless inter)

    Bookmark   October 31, 2003 at 8:11PM
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Hi J-C,
Yes, I know exactly how you feel - been there. And I didn't even grow up in Africa!
Periodically the big question pops up (out-of-control crime and destruction etc vs. fauna, flora, climate). I have just returned from the IScongress and an extensive Cape tour, and again there is no doubt where I want and need to be. Although Jo'burg is not quite the right place...
Keep reassuring your paperbark! :-)

    Bookmark   November 1, 2003 at 12:59AM
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jungle_cottage(sub tropics)

Fauna Flora climate wins hands down,I didnt leave because of the crime etc, originaly for political reasons,pre-ANC.
Somehow over the years you adapt to insecurity,the shootings there however are almost as high as in the USA.Not much of a draw card for foreigners.
To be honest I never feel unsafe there, avoiding situations becomes second nature,calculated risk.
The rhythm of pending doom easily recognizable,eat or be eaten,should something ever happen to my person it will probably be as great a shock to my system as that felt by an Impala ambushed by a lion LOL

    Bookmark   November 1, 2003 at 10:42PM
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I'll have to agree that there is no other place that can compare with S. Africa's fauna and flora, and I miss it terribly. I love Canada and this is where I want to be, but it does not stop me missing beautiful S. Africa with all it's diversity. I suppose I took the fauna and flora for granted when I lived there, and did not realize just how beautiful it was, so each native plant that I have now is very precious. I would not mind an old date palm again and would love one of those fantastic and magestic aloes. (sigh) I want to grow pommegranets (sp?) and figs and naartjies - those big ones with loose skin! Does anyone in North America have experiences with growing jacaranda?

BTW I have just received 4 cuttings of phygelius, (Cape fuschia) 2 red and 2 yellow. I have them in water, and I intend to dip them in hormone powder today and plant them as I do hardwood cuttings. Anyone know if this is suitable, or should I leave them in water to root?

Does anyone have any experiences they can share on growing these plants in zone 6 North America?



Here is a link that might be useful: Cape fuschia

    Bookmark   November 2, 2003 at 11:13AM
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jungle_cottage(sub tropics)

This happened with me as well.Its only after you leave that you realize in a big way what a special place sa is as far as fauna and flora go.I have always loved it of course but it was only after many years away that I became a complete indigenous convert.
Phygelias is very easy to root so its beter off in the ground immediately so the roots can establish properly.They do very well in London.I would love to grow them here but they would almost certainly rot in the high humidity and rainfall.
In London they liked it sheltered of course,and needed a heavy cutting back every so often.In fact after each flowering otherwise they grow lanky and will flower on the ground.I also found that too rich a soil makes them grow like crazy but fall all over the place,winter wasnt a problem,the tops all got frosted black and turned muchy but as this happened I just kept cutting them back to healthy (near woody) growth and then the following year they sprouted like anything.I planted every thing slightly tender on sloping mounds to avoid cold wet build up and used dry mulch just before the bad weather set in.Mulch like wood chips or bark especialy can stay dry for ages repelling water,so I put it on dry and when the soil is dry.
Hope this helped

    Bookmark   November 3, 2003 at 12:50AM
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modjadje(Willamette Valley Zone 8)

I've been told that Los Angeles and San Diego has many, many jacarandas growing very happily ... Jacaranda is a South American native, i believe, but so prolifically planted along Pretoria's sidewalks that one could erroneously assume that it was a native tree.
Ah yes, nothing to make me get heimwee like jacarandas in the spring rain in Pretoria, carpeting streets and sidewalks with their beautiful, delicately lavender flowers.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2003 at 2:12PM
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jungle_cottage(sub tropics)

Ah yes,Jacaranda! It has been classified as a noxious weed tree for quite a while now,I thought they had or were actualy getting rid of them in Pretoria,and replacing them with indigenous species.
How things change!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2003 at 8:51PM
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cjhin(Gauteng ZA)


Current legislation says that no new Jacaranda trees, except for sterile cultivars, may sold or planted. Existing trees, probably as of the time of implementation of the legislation, need not be removed. So, the big ones can keep on spreading their seeds!


    Bookmark   November 10, 2003 at 9:00AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

I assume that the Jacarandas are only a weed problem in the summer rainfall parts of South Africa? They didn't seem to be all that commonly planted in Capetown... Here in northern California/San Francisco Bay Area, we are at the northern limit of their adaptability, and they do not naturalize here for lack of summer rains.

I also grew very fond of the flora of the western and southern cape on my only trip so far to South Africa, and would highly recommend it to anyone. We are able to grow many South African natives here, and I am especially fond of the fynbos and succulent flora. Here in San Francisco, I have Aloe succotrina, A. ferox, A. arborescens aurea, A. stiata and A. saponaria in bud or bloom, and the first of the Leucodendrons and Leucospermums are either budding up or changing colors for their winter bloom. Some of the bulbs in bloom at present include Nerine bowdenii, Moraea polystachya, Bulbine frutescens and Clivia nobilis and Veltheimia bracteata are in full bloom. Dombeya burguessiae is also putting on a good show, as is the virtually everblooming Polygala dalmasiana. The two forms of Cussonia, C. paniculata and C.spicata have both put on incredible growth spurts this year, and are approaching 10 feet tall after 5 years in the ground, but still no blooms or branching yet. Of course Strelitzia reginae is ubiquitous here in coastal California, and S. nicholai can get tree sized here, but does occasionally get frozen back to the ground in our zone 9 conditions. We can grow many more South African plants here, and the climatic conditions are sufficiently diverse to be able to grow a range of plants, Aloe polyphylla grows rather easily here, without any special efforts.

I have recently become interested in some plants that I hadn't realized were represented in South Africa, such as Thamnocalamus tesselatus, which I am using for the first time in a newly planted garden as a clumping screen bamboo. I wish I had bought some Cyathea dreggei and Blechnum tabulare last year when I had the chance, as I admired both when I saw them growing at Kirstenbosch.

Of course many succulents from South Africa do very well here as well, and the Cotyledons such as C. macrantha and C. orbiculata are already blooming, and combine so well with mass groundcover plantings of Senecio mandraliscae and Plectranthus neochilus, both still blooming in early winter here, as is the lovely lavender P. zuluensis, and the last of the P. ecklonii, which doesn't seem to be as dependable for bloom in our coastal conditions as the first two species. I like to combine these with other succulents from Mexico and the Canary Islands, such as Echeverias, Sedums and Aeoniums, to get an international mix of succulents!

I would love to get back to see South Africa in the summer and fall, and explore the eastern Cape and the Drakensberg Mtns, and will be saving up for the next trip...

    Bookmark   December 11, 2003 at 1:50AM
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I have to chime in and agree that the South African flora are wondrous, sheer numbers bear that out.

But I also have to declare my allegiance is elsewhere. If I could only grow plants from one region it would be a South African-sized chunk of land straddling the border between the USA and Mexico, rectangular in shape, running from California to Texas. I don't think such area can compare to South Africa for species richness and surely doesn't constitute a whole floral kingdom (as does the Cape Kingdom). But, as much as I enjoy South African plants, I love native American plants a tiny bit more.

I'm glad I can enjoy plants from both continents. So many South African plants will grow here (near Houston) if you take care to give them drainage, drainage, and more drainage. In that way they are like many of the USA/Mexico plants. I've got to admit, I'm still learning the limits and the "best practices."

I truly marvel that some of these plant species can endure (both here and in South Africa). There are not many years that favor seedling establishment in some of the driest areas, and fewer times when two encouraging years occur back-to-back (as so many species need). So many of the plant species (here and in South Africa) are represented more often as seeds, enduring in the soil, with the occasional above ground population happening only sometimes or even rarely.


Here is a link that might be useful: Cape Floral Kingdom, one of 6 in the world

    Bookmark   December 11, 2003 at 5:56PM
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JayEmVee(z9 SF Bay, CA)

There's a boulevard of jacaranda as street trees between Berkeley and Oakland. A few also in front yards between Berkeley and Albany. I love watching them.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2004 at 9:21PM
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