Flat-crowns and orchids, wild dagga and much more

Flat-crowns and orchids, wild dagga and much more

Albizia adianthifolia, Flat-crown(found from the Northern Province to the Eastern Cape)
This tree has a spreading, flattened crown and greyish bark. Its leaves are divided into 4 - 8 which are also divided into 6 - 14 small leaflets. Spring flowers consist of groupings of feathery inflorescences of white, followed by thin oblong pods.
Medicinal properties: headaches, stomach ache, skin diseases, blood cleanser, eye inflammation.
Parts used: powdered bark (as a snuff for headaches), bark infusion (stomach ache) and bark concoction (skin cleanser).

Fighting weeds manually or with tools is often adequate. Bulbs and pieces of root that may break free when trying to eradicate them propagate some species. Perennial- and bulbous plants should be dealt with chemically. You need knowledge on herbicides, how to spray weeds and not damage surrounding plants.

This large plant family (of more than 20 000 species) are, contrary to popular believe, quite easy to grow because of their adaptability and you simply need a glasshouse in frosty areas, a shade house or grow them indoors. The flowers range widely in colour, shape and size but each bloom has three, usually narrow, petal-like sepals. These petals/sepals have a middle lip of different shape, (and usually colour) and is often recurving and trilobed. Orchids vary from a couple of centimetres high to over 2m long and categorized as (a) tree-growing epiphytes or (b) soil-growing terrestrials. There are though a few species that have to depend on a symbiotic relationship for feeding. These quite-difficult-to-grow (c) saprophytic orchids need the fungi that cover their roots to feed them through a process of breaking down debris of other plants. Whatever they are, they reward us with blooms showy without exception.

Gardening for Birds
Leonotis leonurus (wild dagga) is a robust creature with lovely aromatic foliage and vibrantly orange flowers, a yellow and a showy white flowered form - irresistible to birds (especially sunbirds!), bees and butterflies. This erect 2,5m tall shrub tolerates frost and drought but need regular watering until established. Ensuring good drainage and sunlight and prune it right down before spring. Propagate by division, cuttings or seed. See www.animal-info.co.za/bird.html - the South African Birds List!

The Gardening Eden Team

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