Farm dam

The dam was dug deep on gently sloping ground with one side banked over several metres high, with what was excavated. This was clay and poor subsoil which was then covered with a thin layer of loose gravely soil. Finding plants that would grow well and look good here was easy.

* In spring this view of the dam, full with rich green surrounds, can give a false impression. Most years, except for the succulents, it looks brown and dry with a very low water level.

X A glorious spring day with an abundance of water. Here a sandy gravel path leads around the dam perimeter. Wild ducks now frequent and nest here.

Farm dam In almost any month of the year one can find something in flower and here are just a few of the many highlights that make this garden area worthy of regular visits. While a dam is basically a water storage reserve, there is no reason why it cannot be a beautiful place as well.

^•Seating al a high point with a good view over much of the property as well as the dam below which looks more like an ornamental lake now, rather than just a farm dam. Light shade is provided by brachychitons.

< This view leads away from the seats in the photo above. Hardy Lampranthus is in full bloom with larger aloe species behind.

** This well-known and popular ponytail palm, Nolina recúrvala is another stem swelling succulent also known as a caudiciform. People find its curious and interesting stem appealing for all sorts of

± Chorisia speciosa. This medium size subtropical tree » is very drought tolerant and does not mind being y pruned into shape, making it very versatile. It is fast growing and flowers regularly in warmer weather (flower below is actual size). The canopy is a lush green. An interesting swollen trunk sometimes grows grotesque-looking thorns on the lower surface.

<< Agave parryi inflorescence with plant (insert). * Many agaves produce (lower stalks which are several meters high. Above is a close up of Agave parryi flowers.

« Ipomoea platense has a large semi-submerged tuber which grows long vines each spring. Large flowers are produced throughout the summer.

i Dudleyas are excellent for gardens where there is no supplementary watering as they are winter growing and receive enough moisture from rain during the cooler months.

« Ipomoea platense has a large semi-submerged tuber which grows long vines each spring. Large flowers are produced throughout the summer.

i Dudleyas are excellent for gardens where there is no supplementary watering as they are winter growing and receive enough moisture from rain during the cooler months.

Uses of succulents

Many people have visited Alexander's property and have viewed his succulent gardens fleetingly. Few are aware that he also uses succulents as food plants. His understanding of what is edible comes mostly from observations made while travelling through rural villages while overseas.

« A prickly pear (Opuntia robusta). There are many different species of opuntia, all of which have edi-^ ble fruit. This species is very productive with large apple-sized fruit. Interestingly, Alexander not only eats the fruit seasonally, but he also eats the cooked cactus. This is common in the southern USA and Mexico where you can also buy it in tin cans from the supermarket.

(bottom) Here, fresh tender steins are being peeled and sliced to be cooked like green beans.

X Another cactus species with a large red, apple-sized fruit ready to pick. All cactus fruit are edible and many cactus species are used in Latin America for a whole range of things from the manufacture of soap, rope, and medicine, to alcohol

4 Pereskia aculeata 'Codseffiana' H Alexander plucks the fresh growing tips and uses them in salads along with yucca (lowers. He also cooks yucca flowers in omelettes.

Yucca flowers have been used in the kitchen for thousands of years in Mexico. The very large and succulent petals of all yucca species, as well as the unopened buds, can be fried or eaten raw in salads.

i When Aloe vera is not available and is needed for burns and cuts, Alexander has a choice of other medicinal aloes to choose from. Two useful species are Aloe Jerox and Aloe africana (pictured below).

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment