Succulents rooting in H2O

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.

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“Does frost not affect your succulents?”

This question arrived yesterday on one of our Face Book pages.

The Erasmus family of Sumsaré Wines (nearby!!!)  keeps track of us (and vice versa) and lives in an area with many indigenous succulent plants such as mesembs, haworthias and aloes.

Our answer: “We hardly have ‘frost’. Just a bit of ripe a few times per year (gone before 8AM). Quite a few succulents can have -3 to 4 degrees Celcius during a few hours; we even know of a cactus (San Pedro) that survived minus 20 C and snow in Yorkshire UK. But if somebody tells you that cacti grow virtually everywhere in South Africa (as a nursery man once told in the TV-program Top Billing) we can assure you that this is nonsense for in a large part of this country ‘Black Frost’ occurs. Majority of succulent plants including cacti don’t survive ‘black frost’ but it is interesting to see which succulent plants survive in those areas.
“Black Frost” is when suddenly in a very short time the temperature goes down to several degrees Celcius below zero.

Thanks for this question. The answer also explains why we always ask our customers about their local environment including the occurance of ‘black frost’. This to avoid dissapointments.”

 And word spreads for more and more people from areas with ‘black frost’ are buying succulent plants at our nursery or contact us per email with the question where they can find a reliable succulent plant nursery within driving distance. There are not that many of these but to mention a few: Obesa in Graaff Reinet, Fynkwa in Oudshoorn, Cambroo in Pretoria and (not primary succulents) Simply Indigenous in Hartebeespoortdam.

Oh … and there is a difference between frost and frost: Ripe is the ‘white’ on your lawn caused by a tiny bit of frost, dissapearing early in the morning (sun). In Holland they call it ‘nachtvorst’ (nightfrost) that leaves ‘rijp’ (ryp = Afrikaans word for it). Frost is real frost that goes below -1 to 2 degrees Celcius for a longer period.

The quiver tree (Aloe dichotoma) originates from Namibia and is naturally distributed into South Africa (Northern Cape, up to Kenhart) in areas with some frost.

This month in the garden

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.

Succulent Plants in Gauteng

almost 2500 different species of succulent plants outdoors

almost 2500 different species of succulent plants outdoors

Regulary we have nursery customers from North-Eastern South Africa, more precisely: Gauteng. And one of the first things we ask is the local climate; the occurence of ‘Black Frost’ in particular. Many succulent plants can survive (light) frost and others don’t. Simply Indigenous Nursery in Hartebeespoortdam (again chosen as South Africa’s best retail nursery) is one of those relatively few nurseries which values a good information service towards their customers. On their website you find the article ‘Captivating Succulents‘. Personally we prefer ‘Succulent Plants’ instead of succulents but that is a detail. The article serves well as a comprehensive guideline to all in that part of the country. Did you, by the way, that many nurseries (especially the mainstream) in Gauteng are located in areas with no (black) frost?

About Mazes and (cactus-) Labyrinths

 Publishing House Harpers (USA) has published a new book about mazes and labyrinths

Mazes around the world” is written by Mary D. Lankford (illustrations: Karen Dugan) and designated for educational purposes.

And you can order the book here.

The author is from Austin, Texas and our first contact dates back a few years. Two of the thirtytwo pages are dedicated to the Klaas Voogds Maze of Soekershof in Robertson, Western Cape, South Africa where at the moment strange things are happening.
Mary D. Lankford is also engaged in a future publication about umbrellas. And guess what: The Soekershof Maze Umbrellas will be in it.

No ‘copycat stuff’ but original design as is everything we try to initiate.

Art in Garden

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.

Marthinus PLaatjies in workshop.