Archive | September, 2011

Bulbine

27 Sep

Bulbine (Bulbine frutescens), evergreen succulent 12 to 18 inches in height with a larger spread, fleshy bright green leaves, spike-like clusters of bright yellow or orange flowers most of the year, full sun, drought tolerant, good container plant.

A native of Africa, the name Bulbine comes from the Latin word bulbus meaning an onion or bulb. This name is misleading, as plants do not have a bulbous base.

This is a popular, waterwise garden plant, especially when planted en masse as a ground cover, or in rock gardens. It is also cultivated for its medicinal properties.


Bulbine is a fast growing,  branched, succulent perennial with fleshy, linear green leaves in opposite rows and clasping the stems at the base. It forms spreading clumps with greyish stems often bearing adventitious roots. The small 6-petaled star shaped flowers are carried on an upright, spreading raceme during spring, and at other times of year, depending on location. The petals are either yellow or sometimes orange, which combines attractively with the fluffy yellow stamens to give a bi-coloured look. The brightly coloured flowers attract bees.

Bulbine frutescens is often used in landscaping where a drought-resistant, tough groundcover is required. It also has its value in the home garden.
The fresh leaf produces a jelly-like juice that is wonderful for burns, rashes, blisters, insect bites, cracked lips, acne, cold sores, mouth ulcers and areas of cracked skin. This plant is ideal to grow and is a useful first-aid remedy for childrens’ daily knocks and scrapes. The Rastafarians make an infusion of a few fresh leaves in a cup of boiling water. The strained drink is taken for coughs, colds and arthritis.

This is a an easy to grow, waterwise, floriferous groundcover, which with the minimum of care, will look good all year round. It combines beautifully with blue dwarf agapanthus, flowering at the same time.

This succulent perennial multiplies rapidly. Prune it when untidy. For best results it should be planted in well-drained soil preferably enriched with compost. The dead flower heads should be removed to encourage further flowering. These plants prefer full sun, but they will also grow in semi-shade for part of the day.

 

 

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Silverbush

20 Sep

Silverbush (Convolvulus cneorum) evergreen shrub, fast growth to 2.5 ft. with an equal spread, large 1 inch white or pink tinted flowers bloom spring to fall, silver-gray foliage, full sun, drought tolerant, deer resistant.

Bush Morning Glory is a sprawling shrubby evergreen perennial. It forms a silvery mound of soft silky foliage to 12- 30 inches tall and spreading to 3 feet wide. Showy white morning glory blossoms appear from late spring to early fall. Plant in full sun or part shade. This plant even tolerates reflected heat exposures, and is often planted in roadway medians. This plant is susceptible to rotting out, so a well-drained soil is essential. Even in ideal conditions it tends to be short-lived. Bush Morning Glory works well in rock gardens, containers, foreground plantings, and in exposed locations.

Throatwort

19 Sep

Throatwort (Trachelium caeruleum), evergreen to semi-deciduous, to 3 ft. in height with a 2 ft. spread, upright growth with basal foliage, dome-shaped clusters of mauve to blue flowers bloom summer to fall, full sun to part shade, excellent cut flower, attracts butterflies, easy and vigorous.

Native to the Mediterranean region, this species bears dome-shaped flower heads several inches across that are crowded with tiny, tubular amethyst or white flowers that look somewhat like the blooms of an allium. It has lance-shaped, toothed leaves in hues of cordovan purple or deep green brushed with plum highlights. It blooms over a long season. Though it is a perennial, blue throatwort performs wonderfully as an annual and blooms summer to fall. Plants grow to about 3 feet tall and wide.

Bee Balm

19 Sep

Bee Balm (Monarda didyma), deciduous, vertical clumping growth to 3-4 feet in height with a  2-3 ft. spread, rounded mop-head clusters of scarlet, pink, lavender or white flowers bloom in summer, full sun, regular water, good cut flower, attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, use leaves in tea.

Native to eastern North America. Bushy, leafy clumps grow 2 to 4 ft. high with an initial width of about 1 1/2 ft.; after that, they spread rapidly at edges but are not really invasive. Dark green, 4- to 6-in.-long leaves have a strong, pleasant odor like a blend of mint and basil. In summer, upright stems are topped by tight clusters of long-tubed flowers much visited by hummingbirds. Divide every 3 or 4 years. Not long lived in areas with warm winters and long, hot summers.

 Basic species has scarlet flowers surrounded by reddish bracts. All bloom over long period of 2 months or more when spent flowers are removed. Don’t let soil dry out.

Red Feather

16 Sep

Red Feather (Trifolium rubens), evergreen ornamental clover, forms a spreading clump 12 in. tall and 18 in. wide. Deep red flower heads are silver when in bud, born on long stems. Sun to part shade, drought tolerant, attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Gazania

16 Sep

Gazania, evergreen trailing perennial, 6-10 in., golden-orange to pink or burgundy flowers bloom all year, sun, drought tolerant.

Native to South Africa. Low, clumping or spreading plants grown for colorful daisies over long bloom season. Tolerate seacoast conditions. Grow well in enriched or unamended soil, and with regular or only occasional irrigation.

Gazania hybrid

Low, clumping or spreading plants grown for colorful daisies over long bloom season. These evergreen perennials are grown as annuals in colder climates, or carried through winter from cuttings taken in fall, as for pelargoniums. Dazzling color display during peak bloom in late spring, early summer. In mild-winter climates, they continue to bloom intermittently through the rest of year. Grow in full sun. There are basically two types: clumping and trailing.

Clumping gazanias (complex hybrids between a number of species) form a mound of evergreen, typically lobed leaves that are dark green above with gray and woolly undersides. Flowering stems are 6 to 10 in. tall, bearing 3- to 4-in.-wide blossoms in colors including yellow, orange, white, and rosy pink; undersides of rays are reddish purple. Blossoms often have dark centers. You can also get a mixture of hybrids (as plants or seeds) in different colors. Flowers open on sunny days and close at night and in cloudy weather.

Use clumping gazanias in parking strips, as edging along sunny paths, in rock gardens. Good temporary fillers between young shrubs or as replaceable ground cover for relatively level areas not subject to severe erosion.

Trailing gazanias are derived from Gazania rigens leucolaena, formerly sold as Gazania uniflora or Gazania leucolaena. They grow about as tall as clumping types but spread rapidly by long, trailing stems. Foliage is a clean silvery gray; flowers are yellow, white, orange, or bronze. These newer hybrids are superior to older kinds in length of bloom, resistance to dieback.

Trailing gazanias are useful on banks as well as level ground. Or grow them at the top of a wall and let them drape over the edge. Attractive in hanging baskets.

Gazania krebsiana

Grows about 6 in. high and 1 ft. wide, with deeply divided leaves that are dark green on top and silvery white beneath; foliage takes on purple hues in cold weather. Rich reddish orange flowers 2 1/2 to 3 in. across have a central disk of orange or dark yellow; base of each petal is green and black, with a single white spot. Long bloom season, from spring to fall. May reseed a bit.

Firecracker Plant

16 Sep
Firecracker Plant (Russelia equisetiformis), evergreen grass-like shrub, 4-5 ft. in height with an equal spread, trailing mounding growth habit, bright green almost leafless branches bear bright coral red, firecracker-like flowers spring and summer, full sun to part shade, drought tolerant, cascades.
Also known as Coral plant, this plant is a multi-branched subshrub with slender, rushlike stems that are angled with ridges and leaves that are reduced to little more than small scales. The wiry branches start out erect then fall over to cascade down in lengths as long as 4 ft (1.2 m). From spring until fall outdoors and all year long indoors, Coral plant produces hanging clusters of scarlet tubular flowers about 1 in (2.5 cm) long that look like little firecrackers, inspiring the plant’s other common name, Firecracker plant.