Thank you!

by Tessa
(Melkbosstrand, Cape Town)

Thanks very much for this article, definitely the most detailed one I found after an extensive search online AND through a library of plant books too! I agree that this shrub has been overlooked by coastal gardeners in the Western Cape especially areas like Melkbosstrand/Grotto Bay and up the West Coast where we desperately need these pioneers to stabilise dunes and provide shelter for other plants/insects/birds.
I have just recently identified it after seeing it every day growing next to the road (in Melkbosstrand)and I have some great photos to share if anyone wants. I plan to use this is my new all indigenous (dare I say endemic?)Strand Veld garden on a farm near Atlantis, and will have to propagate them myself as they are not commercially available.

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Jun 13, 2021
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Thank you to your thank you !
by: Caroline

Dear Tessa,

Your plans for your garden strike warm resonances in my heart. I wish you every success.

Euclea racemosa is pretty ubiquitous, and grown as a hedge plant all the way up east Africa, as my research found. But I'm finding it hard to grow personally. I can't believe that it is everywhere in our coastal dunes and still I've struggled so. Green Pop had a problem with germination due to some insect eating out the business part of the seeds. I sowed seed, and had a hundred seedlings, and was very glad, but a year in they all slowly seem to be succumbing, browning, crisping, withering. Believing Fynbos to be uniquely dependent on the soil microbiome, I replanted in a sand vermicast mix and they continue to die. My cuttings taken from water shoots also kept going for months and then slowly succumbed.

However, I do have a blight problem in my garden which makes it impossible to grow many plants. To sanitize my home nursery I switched to only using bought in sand, vermicast and compost. It is working for everything else except Euclea racemosa.

Gardening is not just about perfection. Most of it is struggle. I believe in being honest about this struggle, so that we can overcome issues.

I hope your efforts, being in fresh soil, will be successful. As a community of enthusiasts, we will find out how to do this eventually.

I really want this plant more than ever, after my struggles. I want to grow it in dense hedges and prune them to look like the windswept bush clumps of the west coast. Those wind clipped bushes that all slope northwards, separated by black restio clumps or sea grass, and brilliant white sandy pathways bejeweled in spring are one of the most beautiful manifestations of the Fynbos biome in my eyes. They will definitely be an aesthetic element in my wild garden design teaching !

Many people, because this Euclea racemosa article has engendered much interest, would love you to share your pictures. So please go ahead.

May your garden grow !
Caroline

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