22 March, 2011

Silvery grey camphor bush


I love grey foliage. My Dusty Millers, now in need of rejuvenation. Take cuttings and make silver fountains again, instead of the broken golden limbs. The lamb’s ears, a beautiful idea, but they too are withered and gone. Will spread the Santolina instead. They are both commonorgarden foreigners. Grey foliage is more striking when it is a treeful.

The second grey tree is Brachylaena discolor growing in our new False Bay garden.

Tarchonanthus camphoratus

Tarchonanthus camphoratus

The camphor bush we also had planted at the bottom of the old garden. This smells delectable and grew up into a tunnel we could walk thru. I have one in the rose garden, just outside the window, where the fragrance wafts into the living room on hot summer evenings. This too, when it grows up, will offer the gnarled trunk and the silver leaves. These don’t dance, it is beneath their dignity.

Tarchonanthus camphoratus. Another daisy tree. Wind, salt sea breezes, drought, burnt to the ground – this little tree is a tough survivor. The fruit is covered with cottony fluff. Both of these trees have male and female flowers on separate trees, and they are closely related. Kudu, giraffe, impala and springbok browse the leaves. Can be used for bonsai … hmm. Again from plantzafrica tarchoncamphor and plantzafrica tarchonlit. The plant I knew has been divided into 5 species, mine is probably now littoralis.

What shall I blog today, was inspired by Deb’s Garden and her Alabama croton.

Rain 1 mm 80 litres

Last night it rained. For the first time in eleven weeks. A short sharp thundershower, that sent the cats diving under the bed. Just over one millimetre. The two rain tanks that drain half of our roof, collected over eighty litres. This morning the ground was damp, and some plants shake out the first green leaves. But really, 1 mm, doesn't hack it. Still waiting. For rain.

A new blog to enjoy Wildacreflowers Fresh-flowers-and-cupcakes

Pictures and words 
by Diana of Elephant's Eye
- wildlife gardening in Porterville,  
near Cape Town in South Africa   
(If you mouse over brown text, it turns shriek pink. 
Those are my links)


  1. My kingdom for a lamb's ear, well not really but all of the silvery plants I've ever grown, I still adore the soft lamb's ear the most. As for trees, a silver maple before a storm looks beautiful, the white/gray against the dark clouds and sky, dancing, as you say is a sight to behold.

    It's raining here today and I sure wish I could send you some, although a possibility of snow this week looms ahead. I'm not sure want any white stuff though.

    Have a grand day, Diana.

  2. Some fascinating plants Diana. I need to replace a Brachyglottis that succumbed to this winters cold, so some good ideas. Fortunately have a great nursery down in Cornwall, UK specialising in SA plants that sends out mail order.
    Will do a rain dance for you...

  3. It's hard to imagine so long without rain--here, two weeks feels like a drought in any season. Thunderstorms last night and rain today. Not gloating--we have our own water troubles. Glad you have the tanks. Hope you get more rain soon.

    Most interesting plant forms, those gray/green-leafed trees.

  4. I love all silver foliage, and lamb's ear is so soft and cuddly, it is high on my list of favorites. Your Brachylaena discolor does remind me of my Alabama croton. Your dancing silver leaves must be quite a sight. Thanks for the link back to me!

  5. Love silver plants. I seem to acquire more every year. I hope you get some real rain soon. Every summer here we get a high pressure system that doesn't allow rain to come through. It's already here! So, I'm hoping it will somehow go away so we can get more rain, too.

  6. One of the best things about leaves on drought-tolerant plants, I think, is the way they play with light - so many of them reflect or gleam. Congratulations on your little tiny bit of rain, but that sounds like just enough to cover everything with dust spots. :/

  7. That same thunderstorm reached us at about 5am. Sounded wonderful but not much rain. I have been trying to decide on a new tree to add to our front garden and tarchonanthus is on my shortlist. How long ago did you plant yours? How big is it now?

  8. I'm glad you have had some rain. Over here its raining all around except for at our dams.

  9. Gardengirl - The honest answer is that the Tarchonanthus is hip high after a few years. The fair answer is that I cut the leader because it was leaning over, and only now has it forgiven me. The truthful answer, the armlength shoots I photographed are this autumn's new growth, despite the lack of rain, with 10 litres of grey water on the 4 or 5 day summer cycle. As the US garden bloggers say - first year sleep, second year creep, third year leap!!

  10. Hi Diana, I also love grey foliage plants and usually they are also drought resistant - as they clearly need to be if rain is so unreliable. we have had more rain than ever before in this garden - the garden is loving it, hopefully it will not get to depend on it. cheers, cm

  11. Those are great-looking plants, Diana. I can almost imagine my room filling up with the scent of camphor.

  12. What wonderful foliage. You are so right about the texture and color bring interest to a space. Sounds like a tough tree which is a wonderful addition to it.

  13. I thought perhaps I could spy elephant-like formations in your header photo! :-)

    Thank you for your visit today. There is much happening in our world for which we might hold ourselves responsible (such as a ever possible problem with nuclear sites)...

  14. Seldom a shortage of rain here Diana, wish I could send some of our clouds down your way. I like to push the boundaries at times and experiment with grey foliage plants. Have you tried the New Zealand plant Celmisia, silvery green strappy leaves with daisy like flowers in early Summer, very striking.


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