Cuttings rooted on H2O. Took 2 months to develop roots of 2 to 5 cm. These are Eurphorbia resinifera but also other Euphorbia species root well in water. Ideal temperature is around 20 degrees Celcius (=68 F). Just started an experiment with 2 Lophocereus species. Keep you updated.
The reason for this experiment is that there is an overseas demand for this rooted plant material and as it’s a regulation that no soil particle is allowed to leave the country.. (etc. etc.). At this stage we are rooting a few hundred Euphorbia cuttings (diverse species) in water.
We are no scientists (just make use of them) but we like to experiment and prefer to choose for the most unlikable things. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes not but when you never try you will never know.
Via our Facebook page we keep the world informed about the latest developments in The Green Cathedral of South Africa
And for PRECISE road directions, times, etc. you may (must) visit this site.
Every now and than we shoot in the garden; not with a shotgun but with a digital camera. Here 5 pics; one shows a part of the garden (totalling 11,000sqm and over 2500 different succulent plants outdoor); one showing an elephants foot (Dioscera elephantipes); one with a fruiting Pilosocereus lanuginosus; the fourth is a Adenium arabicum with flowers AND seedpods and the last is an overview of our retail nursery. It’s not all succulent here in The Green Cathedral of South Africa but that’s for you to find out; preferable on the spot where you can feel, touch, smell, hear and see.
general plan dry garden
Six years ago the idea for a Dry Garden was launched for a piece of bare land with a surface of approx. 1500 square metres. It was the most brackish part of our 10 hectare (25 acres) property and soil analysis in The Netherlands showed a pH of 8.3 and an organic content of 3 percent next to numerous deficits of nitrogen, phosphorous and diverse trace elements. We choose for the organic and slow way in improving the soil by deminishing the brack and bringing the pH down to 6.8 by adding coarse river sand and plenty of compost in the top 50 cm of the existing (too clayish) soil. After that we soaked everything a few times to get the brack level down (<40ppm; was 200 ppm). And than again mixing compost and gritsand through the top 30 cm of the soil. Considering that it takes approx. 3 years before the new soil (micro-organisms, etc.) is established we waited that long before we made the first trials with some cacti, other succulents and some acacia species including acacia hybrids.
This year we made the final decision and two students (Pauline Gillet and Sybille de Cussy) from the landscape university in Blois, France (ENSNP) have been fully engaged in designing the garden and implementing their design in practice.
De Cussy and Gillet knew literally nothing about succulent plants and lack of knowledge often results in an unusual surprising approach.
artist impression of aloe bush
They created a dry garden with 7 spheres (totalling 78 different species, subspecies, etc.); creeping plants, shrubs/trees, rocks, cactus and euphorbia bushes, aloe bush, mixed border, agaves.
rock art in the dry garden
Students of the McGregor Waldorf School were engaged in rock art drawings throughout the garden as part of Land Art Project in South Africa that is initiated by Soekershof.
detail of aloe bush
A PDF-file with plan and plantlist is -free of charge- available for interested landscapers and other interested parties with simular soil ‘problems’. Request e-mail to info -at- soekershof.co.za
Last Saturday around 5 million people (merely Dutch) around the world watched our succulent gardens via the satellite. This 4 minutes item show a global overview of Soekershof and says more than a few dozen pictures. The (spoken) text is partly English.
Enjoy the movie
Every garden has some focal points. The art of landscaping a succulent garden is to have focal points which change with the seasons or even months or weeks. A few of this weeks landmarks:
We love to do extraordinary things in our gardens. That makes gardening a real challenge. Five years ago we ‘planted’ a wire baobob tree (3 metres high) at the entrance and this changed the life of street wire artist Messina Mussindo (“Joey”)
completely. Within half a year the second (same size) was acquired for the hall in the new South African embassy in Berlin (Germany) and since than Joey’s fame has been going around the globe. From a humble street wire artist Joey (not subsidised as many others) transformed into a wire artist in a real workshop but he remained modest.
Joey just started up with a new range of wire trees. The ‘Acacia joey’ can be found in several private collections around the world. Interesting however is also where his different ‘genera’ end up. The baobabs (‘Adansonia Joey’) are mostly found in German speaking countries and Australia plus North America and the flat-crowns (‘Acacia Joey’) in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Scandinavian countries. The one on the picture is made for South African account and designated for a wedding present.
Joey once said that he wants to go into history as
the ‘one wire artist’. He made a range of ‘one wire products’ of which the elephants and the geckos are the most wanted; followed by his ‘TokTok Egg Cups’. The more complicated elephants and geckos are not easy to make. It takes him, for example, two days to create a one wire gecko out of 6 metres of wire. The end result is a maze in its own right. And isn’t that one of the things Soekershof
is known about?
But Soekershof is more and Joey is a significant part of the experience for except telling visitors something about his life and his ancestry he also lets them “shake and rock and roll” and by giving so much, guests (including South Africans!!!) learn something about a (forgotten/unknown)part of the African culture. Joey has many friends for life around the globe!
Locally less known is also that the gardens of Soekershof are home of the largest OUTDOOR collection of succulent plants from around the world including the oldest cactus of South Africa.
And very soon a new object will be erected somewhere in the gardens: a laminated wooden cactus of 4.5 metres high. This cactus is created by another user of our workshop: local woodworker Marthinus Plaatjies. He is also the one who makes our seedboxes with embedded cotyledon.
Marthinus PLaatjies in workshop.
At the entrance of our Klaas Voogds Maze, here at Soekershof; Private Mazes & Botanical Gardens in South Africa, we created in 2003 a classical 5-circuit labyrinth of Echinocactus grussonii (Golden Barrel Cactus or Mother’s in law cushion) which we sowed in Febrary 2001. This picture was taken last week:
And here is the Labyrinth Mother:
On our website you can find a brief history of cacti in South Africa. Last night we received a nice addition from the USA:
“The restablishment of the Soekershof garden after many years of
neglect is fantastic — the photos were fantastic. Here is what I
have in my records for Marthinus Malherbe:
Malherbe, Marthinus [Maarten] (1885-1976); RSA nurseryman & amateur
botanist; creator & owner of Sheilam Cactus Gardens nursery in
Robertson, RSA on and after 1936; designed succ garden at Soekershof
Walkabout 1965; explored & collected in RSA; introduced cacti &
other Amer succ in RSA 1910; spouse Molly [nee Darling] Malherbe
Nananthus (Aloinopsis) malherbei was named after him and he
discovered Haworthia comptoniana, now Haworthia emelyae var
In addition to this: The name SHEILAM is an abbreviation of the names of his children. During the first 15 years the nursery was named SHEILA and the M was added in 1951 when his (second) wife gave birth to their daughter Marsha.
With reference to an earlier submission:
Last week we started excavagation works for rockeries with a surface of around
1000 square metres. This at the entrance of Soekershof Walkabout.
One rockery will, in due time, filled up with caudiciform plants like adenia, delonix, cussonia, pachypodium, fockea and fouquirea species. As you can see at the picture we already planted with main infrastructure (focal points) with Brazilian snow trees (Chorisia speciosa) and some adenia species.
The other rockery will consist of 4 spheres; one American (we will call it ‘Little Texas’); one Australian (with Australian succulent plants including 2 Brachyton species (bottle trees); one Southern Africa with a mix from Madagascar, Botswana, Zambia, South Africa and Namibia and the fourth small one will contain mainly Sempervivum, Crassula and Sedum species.
It’s very important to gradually plant the rockery. Ours is a three year plan and don’t be surprised if it takes longer. As soon as all focal points are in we just wait and look and think before we make additions. The focal points are essential. You will have to visualise the future size and shape. During the next months we probably move a few ones.
Story to be continued.