Top 10 indigenous beauties

I love a list. And apparently I’m not alone. The web is awash with listicles; the theory goes we lap them up because they’re visually captivating and easy to process. As we flick from screen to screen, hungry for something to satiate us, our eyes usually settle on a list – bite-sized and easily digestible, they help us compartmentalise and distill things down to their essence.

So in celebration of lists in any shape or form, herewith my first gardening-inspired listicle…in no particular order, with pictures to boot (*my botanical knowledge is still limited so I’ve used the colloquial plant names).

  1. Day lilies

    True to their name, they do only last a day, sometimes two, but they make it count. And as they tend to flower en masse, the colour is no less riotous. Edible, they make a striking garnish.
  2. Silver lace

    This pic didn’t capture the shimmery-ness of this classy, textural silver plant, which looks wonderful when it grows in and amongst more colourful blooms.
  3. Grasses (of every variety)

    Love these! We’ve got a shallow flower bed in the middle of a concrete-heavy patio that bakes in the heat. These grasses, which completely soften the space as they bend and sway in the wind, are the only plants that have survived (and thrived).
  4. Plectranthus

    These have a gorgeous colour –  dark green leaves with rich purple undersides. The flowers seem to bloom endlessly. Shade lovers, ours has been overflowing in an indigo pot, drawing the eye to a forgotten corner of the patio.
  5. Tree Aloe

    Nothing beats succulents for hardiness and resilience. These water-wise tree aloes are beautifully sculptural.
  6. African Daisies

    These look incredible en masse – they don’t flower too often but it’s well worth the wait when they do. (This pic was taken up the West Coast, in spring, when the daisies burst into colour).
  7. Proteas (Safari Sunset)

    People moving to the Cape from lusher, wetter regions can take a while to warm to fynbos. Particularly if you’re used to more traditional ‘romantic’ gardens (think roses and lavender), proteas can seem dull and scrubby by contrast. I’ve always loved the rugged look of fynbos and think it’s a myth they’re not colourful. (I’ll have to update this in winter when proteas explode with colour!).
  8. Pelargonium

    We picked this up at an open garden in Elgin. Two-tone purple and dark pink, the flowers are all kinds of beautiful.
  9. Spekboom

    Edible (sour to taste though!), these succulents grow into the most interesting shapes. Very water-wise too.
  10. Wild Iris

    You often see these en-masse on pavements and in public green spaces – probably because they’re low maintenance, good spreaders.

That’s my top 10. Any to add?