As Margaret Atwood so finely put, “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt”. We couldn’t agree more.
The birds are chirping, the days are getting longer (and warmer!) and it’s the perfect time to do a happy dance and get into the garden.
Cape thatching reed (Elegia tectorum):
This graceful restio specie is found from Clanwilliam in the Western Cape to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape and naturally grows in moist, sandy dongas. The plant is, however, quite hardy against frost and dry conditions and will grow virtually anywhere. It is a fast grower with a rounded, tufted growth habit and can reach a mature size of about 1,5 m high, with a spread of 1,5m – 3m.
The reed-like stems are dark green and smooth with dark brown bracts. Slender, compact flower spikes with brown bracts appear in autumn.
Hebe ‘Sunset Boulevard’ flowers heavily with bright purple and pink, from spring far into the summer. This plant and all the many other veronica (Hebe) varieties, are irresistible to butterflies. It grows into a beautiful bright green sphere of about 80cm high and wide.
‘Sunset Boulevard’ grows in full sun in moist, but well drained soil. It is a perfect container plant on patios or balconies and great for small urban gardens.
Vygies (Lampranthus) -
Amongst the many species with upright or trailing growth habits, there is a wide colour range which includes white, cream, pink, salmon, red, yellow, mauve and purple. Smother your dry zones or rock garden with vygies - few other plants can beat their spring splendour and economical water usage.
The confetti bush (Coleonema) displays beautifully the rich flora that South Africa offers the gardening world. This evergreen, indigenous shrub has feathery sweet aromatic foliage. A profusion of small flowers covers the various species during late winter, spring and early summer months. Once spent, the flowers scatter on the ground as would confetti at a wedding, hence the name confetti bush.
Confetti bushes enjoy full sun with well-drained soil. Once planted, keep plants moist, until well established. After that, they will survive long periods of drought. These very hardy plants are perfect for coastal gardens and are able to withstand strong wind too. Bees, butterflies, insects and birds are attracted to the flowers.
Add bright colour to the hottest and sunniest spots in your garden with bedding Verbenas available in a wide colour range from soft pink, hot pink, purple to reds. These bushy little guys grow about 25cm high and wide. They love sandy, well-drained soil and regular water.
Also look out for columbines (Aquilegia). They are charming long-stemmed cottage-style spring flowers on tall stems, above lacy green leaves.