DIY Gardening

Here is a link from my sister-in-law (she’s a crafty blogger).  It explains how to make a worm composter.  After originally investigating buying one, I’ve now decided to try and make it myself.  At the permaculture workshop last week I met someone who has kindly offered to donate some worms to get me started and … Read more

Snake Charms

One of my all time favourite indigenous plants, and also very popular with landscapers in Durban, is the Wild Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea or Isihaqa).  It grows in clumps of grey-green, strappy leaves that smell strongly of garlic when bruised or, in fact, even when watered.  Beautiful purple flowers appear at the end of stalks throughout summer, and look particularly impressive when grouped together.

A hardy, drought-resistant plant, wild garlic requires little attention once settled in your garden.  The flowers form seed-pods which are very easy to propagate and wild garlic will self-seed itself if left to its own devices.  As the plant grows, larger clumps can also be divided to form new plants.

This plant is also extensively used in traditional medicine – to treat asthma, rheumatism, colds and tuberculosis.  In permaculture, wild garlic is planted among vegetable crops to keep pests away, in particular aphids, and the young leaves can also be eaten as a type of spinach.  In rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal, wild garlic is planted around homesteads to protect them from snakes.  Lastly, and I have no proof that this works, the root of the plant can be used as a love charm by men to attract girls.

What an amazing and useful plant!

Wild Garlic flower.
Wild Garlic flower.

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Wilds of Westville – taking back the suburbs

A friend of mine lives in central Westville, fairly close to the freeway and the Pavillion but has the good fortune of a house that is built near a river valley, which means that the land has not been developed. We went exploring downstream and found a clearing that is a world away from the Pav (see pics). We couldn’t hear any cars or see any buildings. The river is a thin stream at the moment but apparently rages after heavy rains. The river bed is covered in what I assume must be indigenous lilies. They are very fragrant (smell amazing), are white with a touch of pale yellow while in bloom and have just flowered – I caught the last completely white flowers. Does anyone know what these are? What is their proper name?  And p.s,  isn’t this is a great little spot in the middle of suburbia? It must support a load of animals. Take back the burbs!

Westville river valley
Westville river valley

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