Dancing Ladies Ginger and Other Curiosities


Pam Jacob  – Driefontein Garden Centre

It was in 1994 that Driefontein Garden Centre featured on the front page of a local newspaper, with a jubilant staff and the new South African flat, which we flew with huge joy and the promise of a glorious future.  We released a new Acalypha `New Dawn’ to celebrate this moment in history. Here we are again, 24 years later with a new dawn and a new hope.  What an opportunity to plant something beautiful to acknowledge this moment in time.  A shrub; a tree – anything that will remind us of this new hope in South Africa.  Indigenous! Exotic! Who cares???  Just make a lasting memory.

Spider Lilies (Hymenocalis littoralis) are looking magnificent, wherever they are planted.  A trip to the Oyster Box will show off these magnificent plants to their full glory with their pure white, spider-like flowers.  Suitable to full sun or shaded areas and highly suited for protected areas in gardens that are right on the beach, they will multiply with each passing year and reward you with their magnificent flowers.

We discussed on the radio – rather rudely (Dave!) the plants known as Globba winitii (Dancing Ladies Ginger).  Breathtaking is the only way to explain them.  Panicles of deep mauve flowers with bright yellow stamens, droop in abundance and sway in the breeze.  Highly suited to planting in open ground or containers; in half day sun to shade, they make such a glorious feature plant and conversation pieces.  Bear in mind that they are deciduous so when the leaves start disappearing come the winter months, it is not the moles that have got them.  They are going into their dormancy.  Let them be and new shoots will appear in early to mid summer with even more flowers than you had the year before.  They come highly recommended.  There is also a species with yellow flowers which is just as pretty and worth a place in the garden.

Possibly just a tad too early to plant cabbages; broccoli; cauliflower; peas and the various squashes etc.  Prepare your beds now in readiness for mid March when it will be À’ for away and you can once again prepare to reap glorious vegetables from your garden.

Herbs may be planted year round.  We have the most exciting Basil plants in stock.  Lemon Basil; and a Minette Fine Compact Basil and a new shrub which is called `Basil – African Blue which has deep purple flowers, and an almost aniseed perfume.  Certainly worth a spot in your herb garden or herbaceous border.  Delish Sisters assure me that it would be good in gin!!!  Then there is a new Mint called `Mini Mint’.  Excellent as a ground cover and perfect for planting between pavers, it grows flat on the ground (not to be confused with Penny Royal) and is well worth a try.

Get gardening and enjoy the oldest hobby known to man.

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