Zanthoxylum capense is a hardy, deciduous to semi-deciduous small to medium-sized tree, with smooth, dark grey bark and broad, cone-shaped knobs that are topped with a short spine. The leaves are divided into leaflets, that are shiny and dark green above, and paler beneath. When crushed they are somewhat brittle and have a strong Citrus scent.
From October to February, the tiny, white, scented flowers are clustered at the ends of the branches. The male and female flowers are borne on separate trees. Female trees develop clusters of tiny orange-red fruits that split to release oil-rich black seeds. The fruit is edible but cause a burning sensation in the mouth.
Both flowers and fruit attract many insects and birds to the garden. It is a host plant to the Citrus Swallowtail and other Swallowtail Butterflies. This tree is widely used in traditional medicine remedies, and the wood is used for implements.
It makes an excellent container plant, or part of a forest garden or plant singly as a specimen tree to prune up and expose the interesting, knobbly stem.
Plant in semi-shade or full sun, in well-drained, compost rich soil.
Size: 2 to 15m
Eriocephalus africanus is a hardy, attractive, fast growing evergreen, aromatic, small shrub, with fine, soft, grey, heavily scented leaves.
It flowers from autumn to winter with white, daisy-like flowers that have a purple centre and are followed by attractive, white, woolly seed heads.
Plant in a well-drained, sunny position and ensure it is well watered.
Salvia dolomitica is a very hardy, evergreen, small shrub with attractive, grey-green, aromatic leaves. The spikes of beautiful pale lilac spikes of flowers are borne in spring and summer (September to February). They attract bees and other pollinating insects to the garden. The calyx persists on the plant and turns a deep purple and only drops when the seeds are ready to be dispersed.
Plant in an herbaceous border, or use as a small screening plant. It is a beautiful subject in a container.
Prune back hard after flowering to encourage bushiness. Grows in full sun but requires well-drained, well-composted soil.
Salvia muirii is a hardy, evergreen shrublet with light green, almost greyish small leaves. When crushed the leaves release a light, medicinal scent, reminiscent of Vicks. It has a persistent rootstock from which it re-sprouts if damaged. The spikes of intense blue flowers with white lips, are borne on a spike from mid-summer to autumn. They are quite large for the genus, and attract butterflies and bees in abundance.
The plant is long-lived, drought-resistant and virtually pest free. Plant this useful garden and container plant in compost-rich, well-drained soil in full sun. Prune regularly to keep in shape and encourage flowering.
Size: up to 30cm
Tulbaghia violacea ‘Silver Lace’ is a hardy, evergreen, tuft-forming, bulbous plant with strap-like, variegated grey and white leaves that are garlic-scented when bruised. Umbels of delicate, lilac to pink flowers on long stalks are borne mainly from January to April, although it will bloom on and off almost all year in cultivation. The flowers are sweetly-scented at night and make excellent cut flowers.
When sitting outside, whack some of the leaves on your table or chair and this will deter flies and mosquitoes. The flowers are edible and look beautiful in salads. The leaves and bulb can be used as a garlic substitute in cooking. Used medicinally.
Use in the garden as a companion plant, particularly to deter aphids. An ideal groundcover for difficult areas as it can thrive in very poor soils, although it is lush and flowers better in well-composted soil. Grows in full sun or semi-shade.
Size: 10 to 25cm