Monday, 8 September 2008

Indigenous Beauties - Bird attracting garden

My team and I are busy with the tidying of the garden of a beautiful old Durban home. It has a well established indigenous garden, with some exceptional plants.


Halleria lucida - Tree Fuschia

The Tree Fuschia is a great plant for attracting birds. Sunbirds in particular love the nectar that they get from the tubular flowers that sprout profusely from the Halleria's stem. Fruit loving birds also love the green berries that appear in Spring.
Its an excellent plant when you're looking for fast growth, and it grows to a height of anything from about 3m to about 15m. It will grow in full sun or semi-shade, but will look better in a slightly sheltered spot.
It has been used medicinally for skin and ear problems.


Carissa bispinosa

The Carissa, or amatungulu is a very useful plant. It has attractive white flowers, which appear in Summer, followed by bright red fruit, which are high in vitamin C. The fruit are used to make a delicious jam.
It grows in Sun or Semi-shade, and does quite well on windswept dunes. It is often grown as an impenetrable hedge, as it is covered in painfully sharp forked spines.
It is relatively fast-growing once established, but takes a while to get going. It will reach about 3m in height if left, but looks better when cut back into a dense shrub.


Schotia brachypetala

The Schotia is also known as the Weeping Boer-boon (Farmers Bean) . It has been given this name because of the huge amounts of nectar that drip from the beautiful bright-red flowers, and because its pods are shaped like beans. Because of the dripping nectar, its best not to plant it too close to paved areas, or near parked cars. Nectar-loving birds are frequent visitors to this tree. Its relatively fast growing, and reaches about 15-20m high and wide.

Some of the other well-established bird-attracting plants were Aloes, Cussonia, Indigofera, Polygala, and a Toad Tree. One plant I couldn't identify, which had an amazing sweet scent was this little shrub (1.5-2m high):



Any ideas as to what it is?
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