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  • Acanthus
    • mollis ‘Hollard's Gold’   CAG01102

      (Golden bear's breeches)
      Height1m
      Width1.5m
      Flowering SeasonSpring
      WaterL - M
      LightSun - L. Sh.
      Acanthus mollis ‘Hollard's Gold’
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      One of the most beautiful chartreuse leaved plants you could ever grow.

      Large, 60cm plus, sharply scalloped, red stemmed leaves form spectacular rosettes over Winter, from the centre of which emerge each Spring, sturdy, 1m tall stalks topped with large hooded pink and white flowers, enclosed in sharp leafy bracts.

      Both the leaves and flowers are excellent for cutting and the flowers remain interesting even when dried.

      Will happily go dormant over Summer if grown dry, my prefered option as it can then be grown in full sun for best colour and the curled golden leaves erupting from the bare earth each Autumn are a breath taking sight.

  • Amaryllis
    • belladonna   CAG01045

      (Easter lily, Naked lady)
      Height1m
      Width60cm
      Flowering SeasonAutumn
      WaterL
      LightSun - Shade
      Amaryllis belladonna
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      A super tough South African that should need little introduction, though, where once its autumn spectacle was taken for granted through the South West it is now being increasingly displaced by fleeting makeover starlets.

      Clusters of large. flaring, funnel shaped flowers, pale pink and deepening with age, are carried atop sturdy, fleshy stems. The strappy, dark green leaves emerge after flowering from the necks of large, papery, brown bulbs that are typically somewhat exposed, adjusting to their preferred depth with the aid of contractile roots. Becoming deciduous with rising temperatures in spring and then requiring zero water over summer.

      Infallible in any soil, in any position except the densest shade. Usually takes several years to settle in and commence flowering for perpetuity.

      For me, nothing heralds more the imminent return of cooler weather and rain than the sight of fat buds thrusting naked from parched ground. I imagine it is the same joy that gardeners in cold regions feel on seeing the first hint of spring in a shoot emerging from snow.

    • belladonna Deep pink   CAG02331
      Height40cm
      Width40cm
      Flowering SeasonAutumn
      WaterL
      LightSun
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      Clusters of deep magenta-pink, widely flaring trumpet-like flowers pop up on juicy stalks at the end of summer to be followed by tidy clumps of strappy dark green leaves that emerge from plump papery tuniced bulbs.

      More richly coloured flowers and lower, narrower foliage than typical A. belladonna fare, I suppose this to have some Nerine influence (x Amarine maybe) or it may just be natural variability within the species.

      Summer dormant and indestructibly hardy, grows anywhere in anything and lives forever. My mother found this years ago sitting on clay pan, in standing water (not recommended), surrounded by horses, a relic of early settlement given the size of the clump. Native to southern Africa.

  • Arum
  • Chasmanthe
    • floribunda   CAG02923
      Height1.5m
      Width60cm
      Flowering SeasonSpring
      WaterL
      LightSun
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      Like a Watsonia on roids.
      Bold lush clumps of bright green, sword-like leaves support slightly wayward, planar spikes of tubular, burnt orange, bird pollinated flowers on slender dark stems, perfect for the vase or the drought loving tropical style garden. Cormous and summer deciduous. From south western Africa.

      Not weedy as are some of the Watsonia, with which it is often confused, though it does self sow and seems to be more fond of drier conditions.
      Easily grown in any well drained sunny soil, during its summer dormancy irrigation is unnecessary and may even be of detriment (I've never tried watering it).

  • Cyclamen
    • hederifolium   CAG00966

      (Sowbread, Ivy leaved cyclamen)
      Height10cm
      Width40cm
      Flowering SeasonAu - Wi
      WaterL
      LightFilt.Shade
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      The quintessential garden Cyclamen found in gardens across Europe (and the rest of the globe) where it is usually massed to great effect beneath deciduous trees, its preferred haunt, with its upswept five petalled pink or white blooms appearing in Autumn above the leaf litter followed by beautiful leaves of its own that are marbled in various shades of silver, with no two plants sharing quite the same patterning or even shape, which can range from a broad heart to a tapering arrowhead.

      Easily grown in any shady site with half decent drainage and winter moisture, moisture during its summer dormancy is tolerated but is not essential, and is ideally adapted to grown amongst leaf litter where it will self sow over the years for ever increasing beauty.

      Mass plant on the south side of the house, perhaps with a cover of trendy pebbles or glass, or beneath olive trees for a lifetime of reward. Makes an excellent pot subject too but eventually a very sizable pot will be needed as the flattened corm continues to expand throughout its lifetime.

      Native to much of the northern Mediterranean.

    • persicum   CAG02334
      Height20cm
      Width40cm
      Flowering SeasonWi - Sp
      WaterL
      LightSun - L. Sh.
      Cyclamen persicum
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      As with so many of our garden plants comparing those of the wild with that commonly encountered in commerce is akin to comparing the Battery Hen with the Junglefowl. One grows and reproduces quicker than the other but at the expense of being unable to thrive outdoors in the real world, and so it is with Cyclamen persicum originally from rocky soils throughout the eastern Mediterranean.

      Modern florists forms make beautiful if somewhat stilted potted colour for a short while, you will get a second or even third year out of them if you're careful. These wild type plants are drought loving, permanent denizens of the garden, growing ever grander with the passage of time. Graceful slender stems bear delicately scented, nodding, soft pink or white flowers with twisted petals swept vertically back to flutter over a gorgeous mound of heart shaped, varyingly marbled leaves. Shallowly planted in any well drained soil with only a little protection from summer baking, it's not as fond of shade or as tolerant of summer moisture as C. hederifolium, they will gradually self sow into sizable magnificent colonies. Summer deciduous and fatly tuberous.

      Perfect for tucking into dry nooks and crannies or those planter boxes filled with water repellent soil that you forget to water so all the herbs die.

  • Euphorbia
    • dendroides   CAG01595

      (Tree spurge)
      Height2.5m
      Width2.5m
      Flowering SeasonSpring
      WaterL
      LightFull Sun
      Euphorbia dendroides
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      Undoubtedly one of the greatest and hardiest of the genus. The dome like crown of branches atop the central trunk becomes denser and more magnificent with time. During spring each branch bears a cluster of small green flowers, each held in showy, bright chartreuse bracts, then with rising summer temperature the narrow, soft green, glaucous leaves flare yellow, orange and red before being shed to conserve moisture over summer when its structural form can be most admired.

      At home in limestone soil around the Mediterranean Sea it will happily tolerate all but poor drainage and heavy shade though lean soil, drought and exposure yield the finest form and colour.

      Prune not. It is properly shrubby with persistent branches, unlike herbaceous types (e.g. E. wulfenii).

  • Ferula
    • communis subsp. glauca   CAG02099

      (Giant fennel)
      Height3m
      Width1m
      Flowering SeasonSp - Su
      WaterL
      LightFull Sun
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      A spectacle.
      From a stiff brooding mound of feathery, dark green, waxy leaves, radiating on stout stalks, thrusts a towering asparagus like stem, 3m or more, bearing large globular clusters of tiny, acid yellow flowers followed by clustered whorls of flattened seeds. This startling display requires three or four years of growth, accumulating energy in its fleshy taproot, before it is produced after which the plant, having exhausted itself, typically dies. Adventitious seedlings usually appear the following winter and you once again get to admire the fabulous foliage while anticipating the next hurrah.

      From limestone soils in the Mediterranean, summer dormant and utterly drought loving it tolerates richer and moister garden conditions but is perhaps most enjoyable and spectacular in barren, well drained, exposed sites where other less impressive plants have failed.

      Quite toxic, unlike its less bold but more commonly encountered cousin Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare).

  • Nerine
    • bowdenii ‘Winter Cheer’   CAG01697
      Height20cm
      Width20cm
      Flowering SeasonWinter
      WaterL
      LightSun
      Nerine bowdenii ‘Winter Cheer’
      for $7.00earn 35 points

      Clusters of bright lipstick pink flowers on very slender stems, daintier than most of the N. sarniensis types. Valued for its late blooming period, after winters descent when it has few floral competitors and its gay colour is most appreciated. Multiplies rapidly to form a low clump of narrow, glossy green, strap-like leaves that emerge after the flowers and are shed each summer. Some light shade may be beneficial.

      A summer rainfall species that still performs admirably here sans irrigation though it flowers even better in watered gardens where the less moisture tolerant winter rainfall species fail.

      Plant bulbs with their neck barely protruding from the soil surface, once they adjust themselves as desired, with the aid of their contractile roots, flowering will commence and increase in grandeur annually for ever more.

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