Our plant of the month is an old indigenous favourite – the ever so popular Plumbago; this month we would like to focus on gardening with indigenous plants.
Many reasons have been put forward for the ‘new’ approach to gardening with indigenous plants in South Africa. Many believe we should use the wealth of flora on our doorstep to create something unique and South African, as well as to enhance what we already have.
Many indigenous plants are also water-wise. And with water concerns these days, it seems like the wise thing to do - as many indigenous plants are adapted to grow in areas with a low annual rainfall and indeed need little water.
Indigenous plants attract birds to the garden to feed, to nest and to roost – attracting wildlife to your garden.
Many feel that we need to break away from the traditional style of gardening and create something with a local flavour – to give our gardens an African aura! However, many gardeners not so familiar with working with indigenous plants, are concerned that their garden will become ‘wild’ and unruly. This should not be the case. You should use your indigenous plants in the same way as you would your exotics – to create a normal suburban garden – with a lawn, paths and beds – filled with a variety of indigenous plants. At the end of the day: what your garden looks like depends on the way you lay it out and care for your plants.
Just remember, when selecting indigenous plants for your garden, that South Africa has such a diversity of soils, habitats and climate that many plants are specially adapted to cope with specific conditions. Many gardeners believe that just because a plant is indigenous it will grow in any garden anywhere in the country, which is obviously not the case. So do some research before purchasing less common plants or ask our friendly salespeople at Cape Garden Centre if you are uncertain