Sunday, November 16, 2014
I noticed this striking plant (foreground, right) in several of the gardens that partcipated in Open Gardens Constantia. There is also one waiting to be planted, on my mom's patio.
Turns out Digiplexis "Illumination Flame" is a new and wildly popular hybrid, where Digitalis (foxglove) and a Canary Island native, Isoplexis, were bred to produce a plant that is statuesque, has several flowering spikes, and which produces more when when cut. It is a true perennial, rather than biennial.
Despite its popularity (popularity makes me itch) I liked it here, with this spectacular indigenous Leucaspermum tottum in the background (in Carol's garden, where the OGC tea was held).
Many South African gardeners still seem intimidated by the incredible array of native plants available to them, frequently choosing invasive exotics over excellent local alternatives. and I hope Marijke's new seminal book, Indigenous Plant Palettes, will help to change their minds. My job at Open Gardens was to sell raffle tickets, and her book is first prize (raffle Abalimi and Soil for Life). I had lots of interesting conversations with people about why they choose what they do.
I will never be a fundamentalist, so have no issues with incorporating roses or other well behaved foreigners into planting schemes as long as the backbone of the garden is true to place. And when the place is South Africa, there is a dizzying list of choices.