Roots of Sustainability Garden- come see us at the CT Flower Show (*Giveaway up for grabs*)

Hello readers. You may or may not have heard yet that The Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc) will be participating in the unmissable Cape Town Flower Show at the Castle of Good Hope 27-30 October 2016.


BotSoc have collaborated with Metro, and brought partners Reliance on board to bring visitors an awesome show garden at the Cape Town Flower Show this year- the Roots of Sustainability Garden– where we’ll be showcasing easy and effective ways to harvest rainwater and irrigate your garden, as well as tips for being water-wise and choosing indigenous plant options. There will be a variety of inspiring ideas on creating your perfect water-wise garden and making indigenous plant choices. View your roof in a whole different light and make your home sustainable.

Water is a scarce and dwindling resource, and South Africa is a dry country with unpredictable rainfall and an ever increasing demand for it. As the demand for this precious resource grows, so will its price along with legislation discouraging excessive use. It is, therefore, important to garden for the future.

Water-wise gardens cut down water usage but are still beautiful and, as there are so many indigenous options to choose from, water-wise gardening should be the norm.

Metro Roof|Solar|Electric, Reliance and BotSoc all fully support this notion and so have collaborated to participate in this year’s CT Flower Show to demonstrate to the general public tips and ideas on how to garden water-wise and sustainably. Visit our Roots of Sustainability Garden at the show (Garden 11), where we hope to educate and inspire. Be sure to pick up our brochure on 7 principles of water-wise gardening too.

We will highlight energy harvesting methods and water-wise gardening tips.

You can also find out all about BotSoc membership and add to your collection of natural heritage books at the BotSoc Bookshop. They will be located in the exhibitors’ hall and are sure to have an array of spectacular choices available, including authors from some of the CT Flower Show workshops and presentations. A great spot to get a gift and/or to spoil yourself with a book, BotSoc membership and/or a goodie or two.

Please remember to bring your plastic as the event is cashless, using WAP only. For all visitor information, please read here.


Stand the chance to WIN 2 TICKETS to the Cape Town Flower Show! Trust us you don’t want to miss out on this event. There’s something for everyone!

How to enter:

Simply comment below what the Metro/BotSoc/Reliance Roots of Sustainability Garden will be highlighting to visitors.

Terms and Conditions:

  • This prize may not be won by any staff member of BotSoc or their direct family members or any associated companies to the Cape Town Flower Show.
  • The prize is redeemable at the complimentary ticket counter at the Castle of Good Hope and valid for one day’s entrance only.
  • Giveaway entries close Wednesday 19th October 2016.
  • Please note that you can only enter once and the winner will be chosen by We will contact you via email and your name and contact will be shared with the CT Flower Show organising team to ensure you’re on the guest list, and they’ll get in touch with you regarding redeeming your tickets.

Best of luck! And if you don’t win, no need for FOMO, you can get your tickets here or at the door.

Follow, like and engage with the BotSoc family on Facebook and Twitter. Find out more about and engage with the lovely folk from Reliance on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. Engage with the sustainable Metro team on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you and see you there. It’d be great if you could share this blog with others so they to can stand a chance to win.




Celebrate our natural heritage! Another successful treasure hunt with CREW: The rediscovery of Polhillia ignota

Written by: Ismail Ebrahim (CREW) & Catherine Clulow (BotSoc)

So it’s Heritage month and ‘Proudly South African’ is a slogan we are all familiar with, am I right? A slogan for our rainbow nation and we epitomise it with our multiracial and multicultural society. Living in a beautifully diverse country full of potential and wonders it’s difficult not to boast. SA is recognised for its uniqueness, assortment of ethnic and cultural backgrounds and distinct wildlife and astounding biodiversity.

Be proud of your natural heritage this Heritage month, spread the word about it and take action to protect it!

South Africa supports a vast biodiversity of over 20 456 plant species, making it the only country in the world with its own plant Kingdom.

As South Africans, we are responsible for safeguarding our magnificent ecosystems and species rich environments- for our future generations as well as the rest of the world to enjoy and be bewildered by.

Who are CREW?

So you may or may not have heard of CREW, the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers. They are an awesome programme under the SANBI Threatened Plant Species Programme and a close partner of BotSoc.

In 2003, CREW was born through the initiation of inclusion of a ‘citizen science’ programme to enhance botany research with the then National Botanical Institute (NBI), now known as the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). Citizen Science is magic! Using the general public to contribute to research and monitoring is mutually beneficial and exciting. CREW prides itself on the monitoring and evaluation of SA’s threatened plants and with the assistance of citizen scientists has been able to make great strides in the IUCN red listing assessments in terms of the country’s diverse plant families. CREW’s work is important in assisting to determine which endemic plants need to be prioritised for conservation purposes. CREW operates across the country and is continually looking for volunteers to assist them; you need not be a specialist botanist, but have a passion for and interest in plants and a basic level of plant identification skills. Is this something that’s appealing to you? Get in touch! (See contact at the bottom of this blog).

Many of the plants found by CREW have not been seen in years, so finding these is extremely exciting! We have recent news from the CREW team that a thought-to-be-extinct plant has been found! YIPEE!

Another successful treasure hunt with CREW: The rediscovery of Polhillia ignota.

Polhillia ignota © Ismail Ebrahim

The Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) programme has rediscovered another long lost species. Polhilla ignota was known from only two collections made in 1909 and 1928 in the Porterville and Saldanha areas respectively. This species was discovered in April 2016 on Marasmodes Day, which is an annual botanical event run by the CREW programme to find populations of species belonging to the Marasmodes genus (a small highly threatened genus of plants in the Asteraceae family). At this time the plants were not in flower and we required flowers to confirm the identification of the species. On the 9th of September CREW staff and a group of volunteers went to collect flowering material of the species. The plants are found on farm Goede Hoop near Eendekuil. The area has been largely transformed but there are a few remnants of natural veld that has not been ploughed because they are too steep or rocky. Only 13 plants were recorded on this site. Specimens collected were taken to the Compton Herbarium and confirmed by Dr Stephen Boatwright. This is an extremely exciting discovery as this species was thought to be extinct at the historical localities. Many searches for this species have been conducted in the Saldanha and Porterville with no success. This new population is a significant range extension for the species and this means that the status will change from Extinct to Critically Endangered. We also found new populations of Diplosoma retroversum and Cheiridopsis rostrata, which are two very rare vygies at the same site.

Acknowledgements: We would like to thank the CREW funders: SANBI, BotSoc and Mapula Trust for supporting the programme; Dr Stephen Boatwright for confirming the identification; Marius Wheeler from Cape Nature for liaising with the landowner; and CREW volunteers Brian Du Preez, Richard Adcock, Chris Browne, Sediqa Khatieb and Patrick Fraser for helping to find and monitor the population.

Want to get in on the action?

If you are interested in joining CREW, please contact Suvarna Parbhoo (KZN) or Ismail Ebrahim (Western Cape) and they can put you in contact with your nearest CREW group(s). Become a member of the Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc) and share your passion of plants and their conservation, read more about BotSoc membership here.

Happy Heritage Month! Proudly South African today and always!



Bring the birds singing into your garden

Written by Catherine Clulow

What’s better than waking up to the chirping, chittering and song of birds in the garden? And not only waking up to those melodies but having regular visitors, enjoying your garden with you, helping with pests, pollinating, offering fascination, beauty and diversity…. Birds are a joy and today this blog shares some tips to bring the birds singing into your garden

Meet birds’ 3 easy-to-cater-for basic needs and they will come

  1. Food

Plant trees and shrubs that offer fruits and berries, seeds or nectar that our flying friends love. And/or incorporate plants in your garden that encourage and attract insects that birds in your area feed on.

  1. Water

Provide a birdbath, pond or water feature and you could double the number of visiting birds. Ensure that there are ample perching options for the birds to enjoy these wet wonders.

  1. Shelter

Create spaces where birds can hide from predators, take refuge in bad weather, and build their nests. Trees, shrubs and tall grasses, as well as piled up logs, hollow tree trunks and made-to-order bird houses all provide excellent shelter.

Kevin Sields (2)
Cape White-eye © Kevin Shields

Who might you meet…

Orange-breasted sunbirds are attracted by brightly coloured tubular flowers, like ericas, aloes, leonotis etc.

Orange Breasted Sunbird - Mark Booysens
Orange breasted sunbird © Mark Booysens

Plants like the sweet pea bush (Podalyria calyptrata) attract insects, which will attract birds like the Cape Batis.

Cape Batis- Kevin Shields
Cape Batis © Kevin Shields

The Cape White-eye feeds on many garden pests like aphids and scale insects, as well as fruit and nectar.

Cape White-eye- Kevin Shields
Cape White-eye © Kevin Shields

May you soon be whistling and singing along with your flighted friends. Happy gardening! Share with us in the comments below which birds you’ve had the pleasure of hosting in your garden.



The Spring Wildflowers are calling: 5 reasons to visit the Wildflowers this September

Written by Catherine Clulow

Let Mother-Nature show off and where better to witness her display than along the West Coast where you’ll be treated to fields of flowering heads.

If you’ve never had the chance to go bloom bashing and see the usually dusty earth erupt into a tapestry of colour (and even if you’ve already been once or twice or more), what are you waiting for, here are 5 reasons to visit the Wildflowers this September brought to you by the Botanical Society of SA.

  1. Celebrate spring

Mother-nature is shaking off her wintery slumber and smiling up at the summer months ahead. Head on out and ring in spring with a bit of pomp and ceremony, why not?

© Catherine Clulow
  1. Observe nature vibrant and beautiful

The rainbow of hues you may experience is simply breath-taking! From rich wild cineraria to snow white rain daisies in the Sandveld to a diversity of blooming bulbs spread beauty and the earth laughs in flowers basking in the spring sunshine.

  1. Explore and appreciate what’s left of the critically endangered Renosterveld

Go to the Darling/Mamre/ Hopefield areas and enjoy this group of privately owned nature reserves which display the spectacular diversity of this region. Don’t miss the 99th  Darling Wildflower show next weekend (16-18 Sept. 2016), you can find out all about this must-see event here.

Find out all about Renosterveld here.

© Catherine Clulow
  1. Reconnect with real beauty

Unchain yourself from your desk, unglue your eyes from screens, switch off your mobile and head off into nature to relax, appreciate and unwind. Trust me, it’s good for you and you’ll feel fantastic afterwards. Take notice of the sheer magnitude of the natural world instead of worrying who tweeted what, who friended whom or why you’re too square for your small circle. The spring flowers are a tangible reminder of the finer things in life, to be treasured and enjoyed.

  1. Rediscover South Africa’s national parks

It’s exhilarating to enjoy a day out in one of the Cape region’s five protected national parks, taking time to view the spring flowers in the West Coast National Park- wetland-rich strandveld snug against the Langebaan Lagoon- what a convenient way to rediscover some of SA’s most beautiful areas.

Frequently asked questions:

  • WHO?


  • WHAT? What else might I see when out and about amongst the spring flowers?

All of the towns on the West Coast have the most hospitable and interesting people who will make your stay with them a memorable one. There are a number of guest houses, self-catering and camping facilities. Other activities include hiking, birding, fishing, game watching, body boarding, mountain biking and more.

Throughout the area there are countless birds, buck and bugs. Keep your eyes peeled and you may even spot passing whales and dolphins off the coast, bat-eared foxes, mongooses and other wildlife

  • WHY? Why bother hopping in the car and heading out?

We live in a beautifully biodiverse country with pleasures like these on our doorsteps, so why not enjoy them. Also the reasons you read above.

  • WHEN? When is the best time to view the spring flowers in the West Coast region of the Cape Floral Kingdom?

August/ September is the best time to visit the flowers, bearing in mind that whatever the weather’s doing may impact any ‘usual’ timing expectations.  Also keep in mind that the flowers only throw back their delicate heads on sunny days (between 10h30 and 15h30 is best). So don’t go bloom hunting on a cloudy afternoon, and wait until the sun is high in the sky.

  • WHERE? Where can I visit the flowers in the Cape region?

There are three public nature reserves (Groenkloof, Renosterveld and Tienie Versveld) and four private nature reserves (Contreberg, Waylands, Oudepost and Bokbaai Vygie route) in the Darling/ Yzerfontein District. Mamre has a small reserve and Hopefield has a most beautiful reserve opposite the show grounds.

  • HOW? Can I join a spring flower tour or follow a trail?

You may contact the various tourism offices of the local towns in the area for local guided tours that are available.

The West Coast Biosphere Reserve has several tours/trails available.

The West Coast National Park does not offer formal tours but has a number of self-drive routes available, and in the Park, there are two trails that give uber passionate flower followers an opportunity to get both an up-close look at the plant life and some spring exercise (bookings essential for both hikes).

Chat with the folk of the Darling Wildflower Society.

Enjoy your blooming adventures, stay safe and blossom in awe and appreciation of our amazing natural heritage.


10 things you didn’t know about Arbor Week in South Africa

Written by Life Green Group & Catherine Clulow (Botanical Society of South Africa)

“Other holidays repose upon the past; Arbor Day proposes for the future.”

– Mr. J. Sterling Morton-

1. When did it start?

Arbor Week started in Nebraska in 1872 with Mr. Morton who convinced the local government to set aside a day for planting trees. Armed with a pen, a passion for plants and his position as editor in the local newspaper Arbor Day was soon celebrated in every State. Shortly after that Arbor Day become a worldwide phenomenon.

Just over a century later, in 1983, the South African government introduced Arbor Week to South Africa. In the Northern Hemisphere Arbor Day is the last Friday of April (beginning of Spring), in South Africa it is the first week of September – the start of our Spring. Arbor Week is a Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries initiative.

2. Why is it so important?

National Arbor Week is important as it teaches citizens about the importance of indigenous trees in society. Trees are important sources of: food, medicine, building material, fuel, not to mention mental well-being. They also play a pivotal role in providing food, homes and shelter for livestock and local wildlife.

Arbor Week plays an important part in uniting society and is celebrated by businesses and large corporations, schools, townships, government, tertiary education institutions, religious bodies and in the home.

3. What are you meant to do?

“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the next best time is now.”

– Chinese Proverb-

©Catherine Clulow

South Africans are encouraged to plant an indigenous tree as a practical and symbolic gesture, as a sustainable form of environmental management.

4. Things to remember:

Make your tree count! A tree is a long term investment – take time and care to research the type of tree you would like to plant.  Remember trees have different root systems and grow to be different sizes – you are not going to fit a baobab in your backyard and you do not want to have to cut it down five years later because you didn’t plan properly.

You also do not want to pick a tree that is going to die because it is not frost or drought resistant. Find trees suitable for your area.

The point of Arbor Week is to go indigenous – an oak, jacaranda or maple tree holds little ecological value.

5. Did you know:

In 2008 Madiba planted the 90th stinkwood in Soweto’s Thokoza Park in honour of Arbor Week. His tree was one of 990 tree planted in Soweto by Johannesburg City Parks. He planted it saying: “It is time for us to restore to nature that which we had taken from it.”

6. The theme:

As Arbor Week takes place in September which is also known as Heritage Month in South Africa the government encourages the public to educate themselves on trees with cultural meaning and traditional gravitas.

7. Famous trees in South Africa

If you visit South Africa there are some magnificent trees you should make a concerted effort to hug which include: the Sophia Town oak tree; the Sagole baobab in Limpopo; and The Big Tree in the Tsitsikamma forest.

You should also appreciate: the Jacaranda peppered streets of Pretoria that give the city its name the Jacaranda City. The Giant Flag made from solar panels and spekboom in the Eastern Cape.

Did you know that Johannesburg is one of the most treed cities in the world! And that Durban is often referred to as the ‘Garden Province’ because everything grows there.

8. Tree of the Year

The outstanding common wild fig (Ficus thonningii) is this year’s Tree of the Year. It makes for a fantastic shade giving tree in subtropical environments. The Ficus thonningii attracts arks of animals from the Big 5, butterflies, bees and birds. It makes for a super fodder tree for game and livestock.  In traditional medicine it is known to treat multiple aches and pains, as well as coughs and sneezes. Because this year’s Arbor Week is focusing on cultures, the common bush-cherry can be used. Its fruit are used to make jam; and fibres from its roots are used to make a strong rope and mats in African culture. It is the ideal plant to bind soil but it will cause great destruction to your pool, so be warned.

9. Rare tree of the year

Common bush-cherry (Maerua cafra) is 2016’s rare tree of the year. It has a heavenly smell and large juicy fruits. Sadly it is not commonly found in nurseries or used by landscapers because it is slow growing which makes it expensive.

Good things come to those that wait and the common bush-cherry has fragrant fruit that attract many birds. It is a small drought resistant shrub that can handle semi-shade and deep shade which is most useful!

10. Ideas on trees you could plant during Arbor Week

We have made an effort to select indigenous trees in your region that hold cultural significance:

Erythrina lysistemon Kirstenbosch 5 Sep 11 ALN 123 1024- Alice Nottenpx
Lucky bean tree (Erythrina lysistemon) ©Alice Notten
  • Limpopo – Space permitting, the Common wild fig; MarulaTamboti
  • North West – Shepherd’s tree; Brandybush
Shepherd’s tree © Life Green Group
Bauhinia galpinii- Monique mcquillan
Pride of de Kaap (Bauhinia galpinii) ©Monique Mcquillan
Grewia occidentalis fruit flower foliage 13 Dec 14 ALN 100
Cross-berry (Grewia occidentalis) © Alice Notten

Have a fantastic Arbor week, celebrate, and nurture trees, not only today, this week or this month, but always! What would we do without them?

Comment below and tell us what your favourite tree is, and/or what tree (s) you’ll be planting this Arbor Week?

Further information:

Visit PlantZAfrica to find out all you need to know about indigenous plant options


Be wise with water in your garden

Written by Catherine Clulow

So you’ve all heard it before, water is scarce…, gardens are thirsty… So what do you do? Today we remind you of some handy ideas and tips to be wise with water in your garden.

Water is a scarce and precious commodity globally, and especially in SA with unpredictable rainfall and an ever increasing demand for it. We need to think of the future, garden for the future and encourage that water-wise indigenous gardens should be the norm. Don’t be fooled by a common misconception that water-wise means something dull and dreary, perhaps an image that pops to mind is that of rockeries and cacti…

Think of beauties like these, not to mention the diverse variety of fynbos gems out there:

The succulent Kerky bush requires little water (Crassula ovata)

succulent leaves Kerky Bush Crassula ovata ALN 098
Crassula ovata ©Alice Notten

The wind and drought tolerant camphor bush (Tarchonanthus littoralis)

wind and drought tolerant small tree Coastal Camphor Bush  Tarchonanthus littoralis ALN 054
Tarchonanthus littoralis ©Alice Notten

The wind resistant and fast-growing Keurboom (Virgilia divaricata)

wind resistant fast growing Keurboom Virgilia divaricata 9 Oct 15 ALN 137
Virgilia divaricata ©Alice Notten

The highly adaptable and bee loved Cape Honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis)

Alice Notten- adaptable Cape Honeysuckle Tecomaria capensis yellow  ALN 053
Tecomaria capensis ©Alice Notten

The deep, strong rooted Plumgabo with its delicate soft flowers (Plumbago auriculata)

strong deep roots Plumbago Plumbago auriculata ALN 087
Plumbago auriculata ©Alice Notten

There are many ways to use water wisely and plant for the future- here are some ideas and tips from The Botanical Society of SA

6 simple water-wise garden tips and ideas

1. Prepare the soil well and add compost

Dig in plenty of compost, it keeps the microbes and earthworms happy and is great for water retention, as well as adding nutrients.

2. Reconsider your lawn

Think about the lawn space you need and use and perhaps you’ll consider alternates. Buffalo and Cynoden grass requires less water and less mowing- double win there. Remember not to cut your grass too short as longer blades shade the roots and reduce water evaporation.

groundcover Trailing Gazania  and mulch instead of lawn Gazania rigens
Groundcover trailing Gazania rigens and mulch instead of lawn ©Alice Notten

3. Choose locally suitable water-wise plants

There are numerous beautiful plants that require minimal to no watering once established. Plant before the rains to facilitate plants development of strong root systems before facing the dry season. Find out about location-suited best indigenous plant options.

4. Group plants with similar water needs together to optimise watering regimes. Be wise with watering correctly and only when necessary

Water thoroughly, less often and when evaporation is low (early mornings and evenings). Drip or underground irrigation also saves water and reduces weed growth.

5. Use mulch between plants

Mulch prevents water evaporation and keeps the soil cool. It also reduces run-off and erosion, suppresses weed growth, enriches the soil and prevents soil from compacting. There are a variety of options- be creative (bark, compost, newspaper, straw, dried leaves)

mulch examples
Mulch examples ©Alice Notten

6. Create shade and windbreaks

Plant fast-growing wind-resistant water-wise trees and shrubs suited to your area to shelter your garden from drying out.

And there you have it. Easy enough, isn’t it?

BotSoc are partnering with Reliance Nursery and collaborating with Metro roof|solar|electric to showcase a water-wise demonstration garden at the upcoming not-to-be-missed Cape Town Flower Show in October, pop in and see us there, and there’s loads more to do and see at the show too.

SANBI gardens also have water-wise demonstration gardens for your guidance, education and inspiration and many nurseries can advise on suitable local indigenous plant options.

Happy gardening and remember to be wise with water in your garden!

Further information:

Visit PlantZAfrica to find out all you need to know about indigenous plant options

How to create a bee-friendly garden

Written by Life Green Group and Catherine Clulow

It is time to start planting for the bees! With #WorldHoneyBeeDay around the corner, celebrated annually on the third Saturday of August, Life Green Group & BotSoc decided to explore and share about what planting methods and indigenous flowers attract bees to your garden.

There is a massive shortage of bees in urban areas as concrete, pavements and infrastructure do little to attract them- yet they play a vital role in gardens. The type of garden which bees are attracted to is typically an overgrown, flowering and fragrant type cottage garden. Think overgrown cottage gardens or scented gardens.

Sadly hybridised and seasonal exotics like pansies aren’t going to cut it for these critters – hybridised plants don’t have the high nectar (carbohydrates) and pollen (protein) content and have lost most of their scent to make way for unnatural colours and varied flower structures.

Each flower has a unique scent and bee’s favourite colours are blue-mauve and yellow. They like the plants planted in bulk and close together. They also need plants that flower at different times of the year so they have a year-round food supply –  Little tip: aloes and kniphofias keep hives going in winter.

Here is a list of sweetly scented, brightly coloured local plants that are known to make bees wings buzz.


Anisodontea scabrosa (Pink mallow

This ballerina-like plant flowers with grace all year round, providing endless pollen for the bees, and are eye candy in your garden!

FullSizeRender (17)
Anisodontea scabrosa © Life Green Group

Grewia occidentalis (Cross-berry)

If the seeds of this plant are used to sweeten milk in African cultures… imagine what the flower can do for honey!

Grewia occidentalis fruit flower foliage 13 Dec 14 ALN 100
Grewia occidentalis ©Alice Notten

Mundulea sericea (Cork bush)  

Botanical purple, this bush is a fine garden specimen that attracts bees, birds, butterflies and insects- it’s their fast food restaurant in the Highveld.

Mundulea sericea -  Colin Ralston
Mundulea sericea ©Colin Ralston

Ehretia rigida (Puzzle bush)

The puzzle bush is alive with activity and its twisted branches and sweetly scented blossoms attract swarms or six-legged creatures, including bees.

Other shrubs to look out for are the buddleja and bauhinia species.



Ensure you purchase indigenous non-hybrid versions that naturally have high nectar content for the sunbirds and bees. Aloes will keep your bee garden alive in winter.

BEE FLOWER5 - aloe
Bee visits Aloe ©Alice Notten

Kniphorfia (Red hot poker)  

Who doesn’t love a red-hot-poker, like the aloes, it too flowers in harsh times and is a real head turner in a garden and the bees have taken notice.

Kniphofia uvaria bee Kirstenbosch ALICE NOTTEN 099c
Kniphofia uvaria visited by a bee at Kirstenbosch ©Alice Notten

Tecoma capensis (Cape honeysuckle)

The Cape honeysuckle keeps the bees busy with their lovely yellow, red or orange blossoms, these beauties also make for a fine garden shrub or bush with some shear work.

Cape Honey Bee - Ashley Newell
Cape Honey Bee on Cape Honeysuckle ©Ashley Newell

Clivia miniata (Clivias)

For those shady areas! With all these sun loving shrubs you need something that keeps the shady areas bee-friendly too and this is truly a magnificent local species the bees and gardeners  alike simply love.

Clivia miniata Paul Odendaal
Clivia miniata © Paul Oudendaal


Lampranthus aureus (Vygies)  

This flourishing ground cover produces sweet little flowers, and is not only a must have in a succulent garden, it is highly adaptable and is vital in a bee garden.

2014_08_Fabio Marco Obertufer_ Life in Springish_1st
Pollination in action ©Fabio Marco Obertufer

Felicia amelloides (Kingfisher Daisy)

Felicia plants are already a much loved garden species and now there is a reason to plant more of this blue and yellow daisy bush in your bee–friendly garden.

blue-felicia-daisy-1292090_960_720 LGG
Felicia amelloides © Life Green Group

Euryops (Bush Daisy)

Looking to add a sunny statement to your bee garden? Try any of the three Euryops daisies and they will be sure to cheer the bees up too!

Euryops pectinatus bee Kirstenbosch ALICE NOTTEN 130c
Euryops pectinatus at Kirstenbosch attracts the bees ©Alice Notten
Harvest Time - Alan Williams
Pollinators at work ©Alan Williams

Dimorphotheca (African Daisy)

Related to sunflowers the African daisies are what attract countless tourists to the Namaqualand every spring and it doesn’t just have the tourists and locals running, bees love them too!

Dimorphotheca Whitsend Kirstenbosch ALICE NOTTEN 067c
Dimorphotheca whitsend at Kirstenbosch ©Alice Notten

Geranium incanum (Carpet Geranium

The symbiotic relationship doesn’t get any sweeter than that between the carpet geranium and bees. With regards to geraniums try ensure it is the original species and not a hybridised version sold in some nurseries.

Geranium incanum bee Kirstenbosch ALICE NOTTEN 098
Geranium incanum at Kirstenbosch ©Alice Notten

Osteospermums (Cape Daisy)

Make sure you have a less hybridised version but the Cape daisy, making for a beautiful bee garden addition! It will put a smile on your face and Barry the Bee’s too!

Other indigenous plant families that you can use in a bee garden are: Pelargonium, Salivia, Scabiosa, Helichrysums, Gladiolus and Agathosma


If in SA, you have to try fynbos honey- it’s delicious! The Cape Floral Kingdom is home to thousands of prolifically flowering plants from proteas, pincushions, spiderheads and blushing brides to an array of ericas and many others in between that provide much needed pollen to bees.

You cannot go wrong with an indigenous fynbos garden for the bees, especially if your garden has lots of proteas and ericas.

Bee on Leucospermum - Pat Thompson
Bee on Leucospermum ©Pat Thomson

And don’t forget shallow birdbaths for water.

May your gardens be indigenous, buzzing and beeautiful, creating havens for our precious bees.

Don’t forget to like the Botanical Society of SA on Facebook and follow us on Twitter too.

Information sources

To read up more about the mentioned species, we recommend you visit PlantZAfrica.

There are fantastic related resources and updates on research available from the SANBI Biodiversity Research, Assessment and Monitoring Division here.