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Zantedeschia aethiopica

(White Arum Lily)

A much loved evergreen groundcover which is fast growing in the shade or semi-shade. The large white flowers occur in spring and they attract birds and butterflies. There’s a multitude of uses for this much loved flower, either in wetlands, near water features or in containers. It has medicinal uses as well as culinary uses as the tubers are eaten and the leaves produce a yellow dye.

Thunbergia natalensis

(Natal Bluebell)

Traditional remedy for a happy marriage, stems eaten by mice.

Veltheimia bracteata

(Bush Lily)

These beautiful flowers look a bit like an Aloe. They stand about 50cm tall and are a striking pink-red in colour. They are deciduous during mid-summer. These are shade loving bulbs growing naturally in the coastal forests of the Eastern Cape. They are happy growing in a pot on a patio.

Setaria megaphylla

(Broad-Leaved Bristle Grass)

Setaria megaphylla Broad-Leaved Bristle Grass This evergreen groundcover grows about 1m tall in the wetlands, sun or semi shade. It is frost resistant, fast growing, and bears white flowers in summer. Birds strip the leaves for nest building, and it also attracts butterflies and mammals. Strangely it is also eaten by dogs and antelope.

Schotia brachypetala

(Weeping Boerbean)

This large deciduous tree is relatively frost resistant, water wise and grows in the sun, shade or semi-shade. The stunning red flowers open in summer and they attract birds, the insect, fruit and nectar eaters. It is also used for nesting sites and attracts butterflies. The bark is traditionally used to make the sangoma's red dye and the seeds are roasted and eaten. It’s a magical tree and is used to ward off evil. It’s a show stopper when in flower but do remember that it drops nectar on parked cars, hence the common name!

Tecoma capensis

(Cape Honeysuckle)

Fast growing, evergreen shrub that copes well with drought conditions. It can grow to 2m and responds well to pruning. There are many colours available now from yellow, orange, salmon, pink and red and they flower from spring through summer. It also attracts the sunbirds, insect eaters and butterflies. I’ve seen it pruned into a formal hedge. You may need to cut it back slightly in spring if the frost has caught the tips during the winter. It also has medicinal uses.

Sutera cordata

(Wild Phlox)

A very versatile plant which grows naturally in the Eastern Cape. It likes sun, shade and semi shade as well as moist places. It trails along the ground and produces masses of white flowers with a yellow centre. It is pollinated by bees. It would also look great in a hanging basket.

Scadoxus puniceus

(Paintbrush)

This deciduous bulb is rare and worth trying to track down. It has a huge orange flowers that last for about 4 months during summer. The bright red seeds then fill the space and are quite eye-catching. As it is deciduous one doesn’t have to worry about it during a frosty winter. It prefers a very shady garden and even does well indoors.

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