Septemberbossie - Polygala myrtifolia
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
If it's a Septemberbossie, shouldn't it bloom, in September? - Jean asked from Maine. Skimming thru my blog and photos the only month this plant didn't feature is November. But today it is - when I grow up I'll be a dense green shrub covered with flowers. We aspire to Patient Gardener's trim topiary!
When we were driving thru from Porterville looking for our new home on False Bay, this house was 'people are weird' access via the garden gate and the patio with NO front door! But a gracious welcome from the Septemberbossie either side of the gate.
Plain square fibre cement pots. When we moved them for the builders to start, I realised that roots went, thru the drainage hole and deep into the earth. Sorry, but I cut the roots. I had first hoped to plant the shrubs in the garden, and give them a fair chance at a good life. We would have to have smashed the pots. Give in graciously - I kept them in pots, then we grunted them around the garden trying to find the right space.
In August 2015 they became 'the gate' between the East Patio outside the kitchen and the blue / purple and white of Cornish Stripe and the washing pergola. This is the first September that they are earning their name! (Last September).
I often see carpenter bees on the flowers, so I presume it is buzz-pollinated. That tassel is on the keel - new-born lamb white when the bud first opens, fading to a dusky pink. When bizarre flowers were being allocated it was definitely in the same queue as granadilla. Flowers are almost, but not quite, in the legume family. Muraltia and Nylandtia are other Polygalaceae I know from South Africa.
I feed lightly on the monthly schedule for the roses and fruit trees. Water weekly on the summer container route. Our weather has tipped from winter to summer, back to T shirts. But early Friday morning we are promised snow on the mountains and heavy rain - winter is still with us. Then I need to get myself back to my watering routine - Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday, before 10 or after 4 - with tighter restrictions looming as our dams are around 60% full.
Polygala is Greek from polys meaning much and gala meaning milk, the name given to this genus for some of its members which have the reputation for promoting the secretion of milk. The species name myrtifolia means myrtle-like leaves - from PlantZAfrica for Polygala myrtifolia.
With lots of flowers, my shrubs are now big enough to harvest for the vase from the two sides we walk past, and the other two sides which are cram-scaped against Rotheca myricoides (Clerodendrum ugandense) and Plumbago cuttings.
The plant has gifted me with a sturdy volunteer, which I have planted between the lemon tree and our neighbour's glooming hedge.
Dozen for Diana. Which plant says September! in your garden? Discovered Treasures number 5. The first four closed with our lemon tree. October is a fresh Discovered Treasure Alstroemeria Inca lilies.
Pam's English Cottage Garden in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains has already chosen an exotic canna with striped leaves.
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