10 Nov

Lovely Winter Blooming Shrub: Yellow Flax

Yellow Flax or Reinwardtia Indica is a small herbaceous plant from Pakistan, India and parts of China. Known for its rich yellow flowers, this beautiful flowering shrub is an excellent winter bloomer. The plant grows up to 1 meter and bears sprays of bright and lovely yellow flowers from autumn to spring. Though the life of flower is not more than a day, but it continues to bloom quite frequently.

Winter Blooming Yellow Flax

Yellow Flax, Image by Dinesh Valke

Flowers of Yellow Flax usually grow solitary on small stalks. Flowers have golden center and sometimes red nectar lines on petals. These lovely yellow flowers often remind me of Pablo Neruda who has described them beautifully thus –

“We are dust and to dust return.

In the end we’re

Neither air, nor fire, nor water,

Just dirt,

Neither more nor less, just dirt,

And maybe,

Some yellow flowers.”

Yellow Flax is a shade loving plant though it can be grown under bright sunlight too. It can grow under trees or in mixed garden beds. For best results, provide Yellow Flax plants with plenty of water and grow in a rich soil.

08 Nov

Fragrant, Small Tree for Gardens: Widdringtonia Nodiflora

Widdringtonia is a small genus of coniferous trees usually described as African Cypress. Though not seen commonly in gardens, these evergreen trees make an excellent specimen plants in gardens and landscapes. Most species have fragrant wood which is usually used in preparing furniture and wooden panels because the timber is easy to work on resists decay.

Widdringtonia Nodiflora, Mountain Cypress

Widdringtonia Nodiflora, Mountain Cypress

Widdringtonia is found natively in mountain regions of South Africa only however it grows quite easily in tropical and sub-tropical climates as small trees or large shrubs. The genus of best represented by Widdringtonia Nodiflora or Mountain Cypress which grows as a medium sized tree of 12 to 15 feet and produces male and female cones on the same plant. Grown as evergreen specimen plant, it grows under full to partial sun and survives frosty and windy weather easily.

Widdringtonia Nodiflora also makes a nice subject of bonsai.

Image via PhytoImages

07 Nov

Brilliantly Colorful Flowering Plants: Tritonia

Tritonia is a genus of brilliantly colorful flowering plants from winter rainfall regions of South Africa but grown almost in every part of the world. These low growing plants grow and spread quite quickly and easily. A number of spring and summer flowering species of Tritonia are also available. Tritonia makes good display plants in landscapes, rockeries as well as in container gardens.

Tritonia Crocata, Flame Freesia

Tritonia Crocata, Image by Eric Hunt

Easily propagates from offsets, these bulbous plants are not much fussy about soil and water. They just grow in ordinary soil under bright sunlight and moderate watering. One of the popular species is Tritonia Crocata or Blazing Start or Flame Freesia which is grown as small flowering plants in landscapes. It grows best in a sandy soil with plenty of water during the growing season. Other popular species include: Tritonia Bakeri, T. Gladiolaris, and Tritonia Karooica. A number of hybrids are also available that produce flowers of red, orange, yellow, mauve, pink, cream and white colors.

Most of these species are drought tolerant and produce nice cut flowers.

06 Nov

Flowering Vine for Warm Climates: Pandorea ‘Bower Vine’

Pandorea is a small genus of climbers and woody vines. These sun loving vines grow quite vigorously and serve as nice plants grown against trellis and pergolas or when grown against walls or garden screens. The most common species which is commercially sold as Bower Plant is Pandorea Jaminoides. It is a fast growing twining plant that produces showy and colorful flowers almost all through the year in warmer climates. Originally native to Australia and Malaysia, Pandorea prefers warm climate and moist conditions. It grows as high as 4 meters and produces dark green foliage. Flowers are white or pink with a dark carmine throat.

Pandorea Jasminoides, Bower Vine

Pandorea Jasminoides, ‘Bower Vine’, Image by douneika (flickr)

Bower plant can also be grown in hanging baskets or as trailing plant in balcony gardens. Provide this quick growing climber with adequate water and grow I full to partial sun.

05 Nov

Easy to Grow Rockery Plant: Cotyledon ‘Pig’s Ear’

Cotyledon is a genus of wonderful succulent plants for gardens, rockeries, landscape designs or just as ornamental houseplants. These hardy succulents offer a lot of variety to choose from – small pot plants, tall leafy shrubs, evergreen ornamentals, beautiful hanging plants, and miniature plants for window gardens. Cotyledons are known for their fleshy leaves and beautiful flowers that make them stand out in any garden or landscape.

Native to South Africa and parts of Arabian Peninsula, Cotyledon require grow best in temperate and dry climates where they receive just sufficient water to survive. These plants are capable of storing enough water in their succulent leaves to survive spells of drought. Leaves of most species of Cotyledon have powdery surface that helps retain water by preventing evaporation and blocking harsh sunlight.

Cotyledon Orbiculata, Pig's Ear

Cotyledon Orbiculata, Pig's Ear, Image by Mollivan Jon

Cotyledon Orbiculata or Pig’ Ear is the most popular species of this genus which is widely grown by commercial nurseries as ornamental plant. This beautiful plant produces grey-green leaves with red or pink margins in pair. Orange, bell-shaped flowers grow in summer on long stalks.

Cotyledon Orbiculata can be grown in landscapes, rockeries or just as ornamental container plants. It propagates easy from cuttings and requires moderate watering in a well-drained soil. Protect from overwatering.