Prunella grandiflora Self heal is super useful!

Prunella grandiflora Self heal

Indigenous to Europe; 20 x 40cm
Planting position: Full sun. Suitable for colder growing regions, with additional watering in dry areas.
Requires regular watering, keeping the soil moist.Well-draining, compost-enriched soil. Cutting of flower heads.
Propagate from late winter division.

The Self heal produces dense spikes of spring- and summer flowers, emerging from a carpet of large leaves. The flowers are purple- to pink shaded and white.

Prunella grandiflora Self heal is a member of the mint family, and looks very similar but doesn’t have the characteristics aromatic fragrance. Prunella vulgaris is a tenacious perennial ground hugging plant that loves lawns and has 5cm long leaves and  small 2 lipped purple – violet flowers.

Insects and pollinators love Self heal. Prunella ‘Freelander Blue’ is known for being a favirite of bees, butterflies​ and​moths. Its flowers ae rich in nectar and polin. This is a good option to add to your vegetable garden.

All parts of the Self heal are edible, but the younger leaves are a tastier addition to salads.

Prunella grandiflora Self heal includes medicinal properties such as wound healing, treatment of inflammation, sore throat and headaches. Also for treating fevers and liver and kidney disorders and using as a tonic. Please always seek professional advice before trying any plant (including Self heal) as a treatment.

Thunbergia Black-eyed Susan – edible, medicinal & useful!

Thunbergia Black-eyed Susan

Thunbergia Black-eyed Susan (Thunbergia alata) is indigenous to South Africa.
Planting position: Full sun.
60-90 cm
Planting areas with up to moderate frost only, and shelter provided.
Suitable for all growing regions, provided summer watering where needed.
Requires regular summer watering.
Compost-enriched soil.
Light shape pruning after flowering.
Spring-application of complete fertiliser.
Propagate from spring-sown seed.

This evergreen grows fast, but will die back in very cold winters. Its trumpet-shaped flowers are striking orange-coloured with a prominent black “eye”. These flowers make the Black-eyed Susan very easy to recognize.

The gorgeous ornamental, Thunbergia alata makes a good screen with the help of a fence support, trellis, arch, arbour or pillar.

Edible parts include the roots, but never the toxic Black-eyed Susan seed heads! The spring greens can be cooked and eaten. In E Africa, Black-eyed Susan is used as a vegetable or stock feed.

Medicinal properties of  Thunbergia alata  include: warm infusion as a wash for sores and swellings. The Ojibwa people treated snake bites with a poultice. Other healing treatments are for earaches, colds and worms in children.
Medicinally it is also in use for skin problems, cellulitis, back and joint pains, eye inflammation and piles. Care should be taken as contact dermatitis can be picked up from it.
*** Always get a healthcare professional’s opinion and advice before self-treatment.

It is extremely insect, bird and pollinator friendly. Moths and butterflies, such as Junonia ovithya (Eyed Pansy) love to visit and lay eggs on the sprawling evergreen, and the caterpillars in turn become bird food. Birds favour the thickly tangled stems to nest in. As this is an ideal plant to attract insects, make sure to do so away from the edible garden – at least 7 – 10m from the vegetable beds. All the unwanted pests will congregate there instead of the kitchen garden.

Chlorophytum comosum, Spider plant

Chlorophytum comosum, Spider plant

Indigenous to South Africa; 50cm
Requirements: regular watering during growing season, and less during winter. Potting mixtures of soil-based and perlite.Medium-light-intensity.
Propagate from layering.

The spider plant is an easy-to-grow subject with soft, green and cream, arching rosettes and summer flowers. These small blooms are star-shaped and white.
C. comosum ‘Variegata’ is the popular, trailing Hen and Chicks plant which has numerous plantlets on the stolons’ ends.

It is drought-tolerant and quite disease- and pest-free. It easily propagates by means of growing succulent roots from plantlets on the spreading flower stems and prefers filtered sunlight.

Other common names of the perennial plant include:

Airplane plant, St. Bernard’s lily, spider ivy, ribbon plant, and hen and chickens.