Baby Coral Trees

My brother has grown two coral trees from seed and Kirsty has volunteered to give them a good home  (I already have three in my garden). It really is an easy tree to propagate and is very rewarding in your garden.  It has beautiful, bright red flowers each spring (which attract the sunbirds) and loses … Read more

Darling Succulent

I picked up this succulent from Evita Bezuidenhout’s house in Darling.  It was growing in a pot outside the theatre and I broke off a small piece, as big as a five rand coin.  Over the past year or so it has grown into this many stranded, unusual plant.  It has flowered once (yellow and fluffy) but I have no idea what it is.  Anyone seen it before?

Darling Succulent
Darling Succulent

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Bulbine latifolia

This is a really cool little plant with some really interesting uses.   Traditional healers in South Africa use the sap of the plant to treat eczema and similar skin conditions while the tuber of the plant is used to quell vomiting and diarrhoea.  I think it is also being investigated to determine if it has … Read more

The case of the black moss

A couple of years back I planted a fever tree outside our gate.  The tree never really took off.  It didn’t die or look sickly, it just never seemed to grow.  I put it down to the fact that the soil I had planted it in was this terrible, sandy, red earth and decided to give it some time to come right.

However, earlier this year, I noticed a black moss growing on the trunk and branches of the tree and thought I better do something about it.  First I Googled black moss but didn’t come up with anything useful.  Then I went to take a closer look at the tree and noticed hundreds of small, black ants moving up and down the tree trunk.  Could the ‘black moss’ actually be the ants footprints, I wondered?

After a bit more Googling, I found something that surprised me.  Both the ants and black moss were indicator species, pointing to the real culprit, aphids.  I went back to inspect the tree for a third time and lo and behold, there in the leaves, were hundreds of tiny aphids.

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