Crinum macowanii

Crinum macowanii

The name Crinum originates from the Greek Krinon, which means white lily. As most species have white or whitish flowers the name seems especially appropriate.


Crinum are herbaceous plants with large, tunicated bulbs which produce a neck or a pseudostem made up of the sheathing bases of the old leaves. The leaves are linear to sword-shaped, sheathing at the base, arranged in a rosette or rarely in two opposite rows, often dying back in winter, usually with the previous season’s leaves growing out again in spring with a few new leaves in the middle.


The inflorescences arise laterally on a long, solid peduncle (main or inflorescence stalk) and are umbellate (flower stalks radiate from one central point), with two spathe valves (bracts) and one to many flowers. The flowers have short or long stalks with a long perianth tube and linear to broadly lanceolate segments that are spreading or held together in a trumpet shape. The stamens are either curved, ascending or angled downwards. The ovary appears as a swelling between the flower stalk and the tube.

Aloe fosteri

Aloe fosteri

Dark green with variation from grey to bluish; the leaves tend to become red in the dry winter with the tips dry; in summer they grow fuller to a 1 m wide rosette; teeth occur only on the edges; spots on the upper surface are H-shaped and may be accompanied by lines from the base to the apex; the lines also occur on the lower surface, but no spots and the colour here is light green.

Aloe cooperi

Aloe cooperi

Aloe cooperi is a South African grassland aloe. It was discovered by Burchell in his early travels in South Africa and was rediscovered by Thomas Cooper, after whom it was named. It occurs in moist habitats and in dry rocky areas, mainly in Natal, Swaziland and Mpumalanga. Aloe cooperi grows singly or in small groups from offshoots at ground level. Plants may be stemless or short stemmed up to 15cm high. The leaves are often yellowish green with the upper surface usually unspotted, though occasionally they have a few white spots lower down. The inflorescence is simple and bold. The flowers of Aloe cooperi vary in colour from greenish-cream to apricot and salmon pink.

Spring Vegetable Planting List

Spring Vegetable Planting List

Now is the season to be planting a huge amount of veggie seeds and seedlings.

Here is a handy planting guide for a family of five:

Veggie How much? Distance between plants How often?  Companion Planting Bad Companions
 Beans  1 x 1,5m row  10cm  2-3 weeks Marigolds, Petunias, Mealies, Sweetcorn, Carrots, Strawberries, Borage, Rosemary, Potatoes, Peas Tomatoes, Onions, Broccoli
 Peas  1 x 3m row 3 – 5cm 3-4 weeks Borage
Beetroot  2 x 1.5m rows 20cm 3-4 weeks Borage, Onions, Lettuce, Cabbage
Peppers   4 – 6 plants 40cm 4-6 weeks Basil, Borage
Carrots  2 x 1.5m rows 5-7 cm 3-4 weeks Borage, Rosemary, Lettuce, Peas, Leeks, Chives, Onions, Beans, Tomatoes, Wormwood, Sage
Tomatoes  2-4 plants 70cm 4 weeks Mint, Parsley, Basil, Roses, Peppers, Asparagus, Borage Potatoes, Cabbage, Rosemary, Peas
Lettuce  4-6 plants 30cm 2-3 weeks Beans, Carrots, Borage Celery, Parsley, Cabbage
Radishes  1 x 1.5m row 5cm 2 weeks Borage
Salad Onion  2 x 1.5m rows 5cm 3-4 weeks Borage
Parsley  4-6 plants 20cm 6 weeks Borage
Chillies  4-6 plants 50cm 4-6 weeks Borage
Courgettes  2-3 plants 1m 6-8 weeks Borage
Cucumbers  3-5 plants 60cm Borage
Eggplant  4-6 plants 70cm Borage
Marrows  1-2 plants 1m Borage
Mealies  3-4 x 1.5 m rows 15cm Borage
Melons  1-2 plants 1m Borage
Potatoes  4-6 plants 30cm Horsradish, Borage Sunflowers, Tomatoes
Pumpkin  1-2 plants 1m Borage
Squash  1-2 plants 1m Borage
Sweetcorn  3-4 x 1.5m rows 15cm Borage
Sweet Potatoes  4-6 plants 30cm Borage
Cauliflower  4-6 plants 75cm 4 weeks Nasturtiums, Rosemary, Sage, Celery, Borage
Onions  4 x 1,5m rows 30cm 4 weeks Borage
Artichokes  3-4 plants 75cm Borage

Convertible greenhouse

With the Bashewa winds, that constant, breezy brother that cools us in summer and blows right through us in winter, it is almost impossible to get your seedlings not to dry out.

But do not despair!

I found this wonderful solution: a convertible greenhouse.

convertible greenhouse

For all those handy people out there, it looks quite straightforward to make.

And how practical. When not in use, simply stack away against a wall.

The other thing I like about it, with my six-foot-three frame, is that when you work in it, you can actually work unhindered without having to bend and stoop and do some sort of gymnastics!

Gotta make me one.


Growing rose trimmings in potatoes?

I found this article by chance, and I just had to share it.

Rose trimmings in potatoes

Apparently you can successfully grow rose cuttings (and other cuttings) in this way:

1. Cut an 20cm tip piece of healthy rose bush at a 45-degree angle. Be sure to use clean pruning clippers. Use plant pieces immediately or place them in a plastic bag on ice if you are not going to use them immediately.
2. Snip off dead flower heads and hips down to the first set of healthy leaves.
3. Fill a medium-size flower pot with high-quality potting medium. Moisten the soil slightly.
4. Create a 8cm hole in a peeled Irish potato using a clean screwdriver that is the same diameter as your rose clipping.
5. Brush some rooting compound on the cutting and shake off the excess. Place the cutting into the potato hole.
6. Make a hole in the potting medium for the potato with a clean spoon.
7. Place the potato into the hole, allowing only the cutting to be exposed.
8. Cover the cutting with an empty and clean soda bottle to create a mini-greenhouse. Twist the bottle slightly to be sure that it is solid in the soil.
9. Place the pot in a warm and light location away from direct sunlight. Remove the bottle from the cutting for a few minutes daily to allow the cutting to breathe. Do not disturb the cutting until you see new growth forming. Keep the soil moist.
10. Pull lightly on the cutting and if you feel resistance, roots have developed.
11. Relocate the pot, without the bottle, to a sunny location with more direct light and allow the cutting to grow until you will harden it off. Keep the soil moist.
12. Harden off the cutting, by gradually exposing it to outdoor temperatures, starting with a few hours each day in a sheltered location with plenty of light but no direct sun. Keep the soil moist.
13. Transplant into the garden after one week of hardening.

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