Agonis flexuosa “Willow Myrtle”

Agonis flexuosa “Willow Myrtle”

Indigenous to Australia; 5m
Planting position: Full sun.Temperate climatic areas.
Tolerates drought and wind once established.
Requires regular watering especially while young. Well-draining loamy- or sandy soil.
Propagate from seed.

In short, this little tree has willowy branches that get covered with sprays of small white flowers from early summer.

Agonis flexuosa “Willow Myrtle” is a fast growing and attractive medium-sized, evergreen tree with 12- 14 piece clusters of small spring/summer white flowers per twig and long thin shiny leaves hanging from drooping branches (similar to a Willow tree).
The (3,5mm across) fruit carries many seeds in its 3 valves capsule.

Health properties of   “Willow Myrtle” includes leaves that are used as an antiseptic.
* Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Arundo donax “Giant reed” is edible and useful

Arundo donax “Giant reed”

S. Europe; 3 – 5m
Planting position: Full sun.Areas without severe frost.Ideal for coastal areas.Ideal for high rainfall regions.
Requires regular watering during dry periods.Well-draining, compost enriched soil.Pruning at the end of summer, ensuring new growth
Propagate from root division

A large, upright plant with grass-like, greyish-green leaves.
Arundo donax var. variegata (3 -4m) with its long leaves streaked cream.

The perennial Arundo donax “Giant reed” or cabe is edible and also known as  giant cane,elephant grass, carrizo, arundo, Spanish cane, Colorado river reed and wild cane. A. donax is a super strong, even aggressive grower that reproduces fast.

It is the rhizome that are mostly eaten, raw or cooked or they can be dried and ground into a powder or flour to make bread with. Young shoots and (quite bitter) leaves are also eaten cooked as a potherb.

This plant is very useful as a construction material.

Callistemon citrinus Endeavour Bottlebrush

Callistemon citrinus Endeavour Bottlebrush

Indigenous to Australia; 2 – 3m
Planting position: Full sun or semi-shade.1m spacing between plants.Areas without severe frost.Suitable for coastal areas.
Tolerates dampness and, once established, drought.
Requires regular watering for continually moist conditionsPruning only when needed for shape.An application of bone-meal in spring.
Propagate from cuttings any time except winter.

A hardy evergreen that is perfect for hedging. The brush-flowers are bright red and appear during spring and summer – and sometimes through the year. Pollinators love the flowers and it is an attractive, low-maintenance tree to grow near ypur kitchen garden where pollination is needed.

Cecropia palmata, Snakewood tree

Cecropia palmata Snakewood tree

Indigenous to Brazil; West Indies, S. America; 5m
Planting position: Full sun.For tropical areas.
Tolerates heat.
Requires plenty water in summer.

The Cecropia palmata, Snakewood tree is a fast growing tree with leaves as large as 45cm. The leaves are a greyish green on the surface and a blemished white on the underside. Insignificant, tiny flowers.  

A fast-growing but short-lived evergreen tree that is harvested from the wild for its edible fruit and leaves. The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked. It has a large, umbrella-shaped canopy with often hollow leaves that produce sweet sap. This attracts stinging ants.

Medicinal properties and uses include:
The foliage has anti-inflammatory properties and used in tea form and as a poultice.

Podocarpus henkelii – Natal- or Henkel’s yellowwood

Podocarpus henkelii Natal- or Henkel’s yellowwood

Indigenous to South Africa; 25m
Planting position: the Podocarpus henkelii (Natal yellowwood) wants full sun or semi-shade.Wind-protected area.Ideal for high summer rainfall areas. Areas with only moderate frost.
Requires regular watering during dry spells, while young especially. Well-draining soil, enriched with compost or manure.
Propagate Podocarpus henkelii (Natal yellowwood) from seed or grafting.

This yellowwood is highly ornamental, evergreen and has distinctive glossygreen foliage that droops. The summer cones have greenish seeds.

Trichilia dregeana, natal mahogany

Trichilia dregeana, natal mahogany

Indigenous to South Africa; 13m
Planting position: Full sun or semi-shade. Ideal for warmer areas.
Requires regular watering during dry spells.Well-draining, compost-enriched soil.
Propagate from seed.

An excellent feature plant that is fast-growing, and provides great shading. The foliage is glossy and it bears clusters of berries, containing orange seed, each with a black dot. These berries release the seed, when bursting open in autumn.
Trichilia emetica (12m) is a large and wide spreading tree with shiny dark green foliage. It is an excellent shading tree.

Common names of Trichilia dregeana, natal mahogany: forest mahogany, forest Natal-mahogany, Cape mahogany, thunder tree, Christmas bells, red ash (Eng.); rooiessenhout, bosrooiessenhout, basteressenhout (Afr.); umKhuhlu, uMathunzini (Zulu); umKhuhlu (Xhosa); mmaba (Northern Sotho); mutuhu, mutshikili (Venda).

Podalyria calyptrata “Waterkeurtjie” bush – Sweet pea

Podalyria calyptrata “Waterkeurtjie” bush is  indigenous to South Africa; 1,5 – 3m
Planting position: Full sun. Areas without severe frost, drought or humidity. The “Waterkeurtjie” is ideal for winter rainfall regions as it is native to the Western Cape.
Requires watering during dry spells- and seasons. Well-draining soil. Shape pruning after flowering.
Propagate from seed.

The evergreen Podalyria calyptrata  is densely covered with greyish, hairy foliage, contrasting brilliantly with its striking pink, or white, spring flowers. Soft, flat seed pods follow later. This shrub makes quite an attractive screen or informal hedge.

Native to South Africa’s Western Cape, the Sweet pea bush, or Waterkeurtjie, is a very common sight. Visitors to Cape Town’s Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens will see many Keurtjie bushes dotted throughout the gorgeous gardens. As the Western Cape is more conscious of water scarcity, this small evergreen tree is becoming more popular due to its drought-hardy nature.

Podalyria calyptrata “Waterkeurtjie” bush should definitely be in every water-wise garden