Monday, August 5, 2013

South Africa on the terrace

...and perhaps in your garden?

The semi succulent Bulbine frutescens is used Stateside as a plant friendly to xeriscaping: it does not need a whole lot of water. My specimen  is courtesy of our friend Paul Westervelt who shipped the little pot to us in the spring, from Saunders Brothers in Virginia. It has settled in very well and has had flowers almost continuously, much visited by bees. The gel-like sap in the leaves has a reputation, in South Africa, for curing all kinds of skin ailments.

I like the cut flowers, because they seem to last forever.

I'm pretty sure this is an annual in our USDA 7b (-ish) climate, though I could see the plant becoming  a problem in some regions, along the lines of another South Africa plant, imported to control erosion, in California - Carpobrotus edulis, the well known Cape plant we call suurvy (sour fig). It is now a noxious weed in the States. At least you can eat it!

In other news, it seems fall has arrived, early. The weather, heinous for most of July, is perfect.


  1. You give so much through this blog that one plant is an embarrassingly small thank you. It will be my pleasure to send you another (or anything else we grow) for as long as you care to have them.

    In all the places we've been, I've never seen Bulbine reseed. It makes sense that it would somewhere because it has to prop by seed in its native range, but I haven't seen it even in coastal CA. Maybe the Caprobrotus chokes it out :)

    "our friend" is without question the best compliment I've received in quite some time. It's a pleasure :)

  2. :-)

    Thank you, Paul.

    I don't know about seeding, either, but I have seen it multiply sideways in clumps, in my mom's front garden (sorry you and Sonya never saw that at its peak - the aloes are amazing, now, in bloom: June - August)...


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