How to grow a South African meadow

South African border in late summer at Nymans

South Africa is the only country in the world that has an entire floral kingdom within its borders, The Cape Floristic region. It is the smallest of the recognised floral kingdoms and contains over 9,000 species. The successful use of South African plants is dependent on achieving a good understanding of the plants’ geographical origin and climate.

Berkheya Purpurea 'Zulu Warrior'
Berkheya Purpurea 'Zulu Warrior'

Fynbos pronounced ‘fayn baws’

We identified that the Mediterranean climate of the Western Cape and its fynbos flora to be most adaptable to the climate and growing conditions at Nymans. The right conditions for fynbos plants are mild wet winters, warm and dry growing conditions in summer, free draining low nutrient soil that is generally acidic and with a windy aspect thrown in.

Nerine bowdenii is an example of a geophyte
Nerine bowdenii

Geophytes and Forbes

The Eastern Cape has plants of interest due to their potential resilience to cold, particularly geophytes and forbs that can lie dormant underground. Forbs are herbaceous flowering plants that are not grasses. Geophytes are commonly known as bulbs, other examples include corms, tubers and rhizomes.

Nymans garden team
Nymans garden team

The Great British Weather

British wet winters can prove problematic and good drainage is the determining factor of growing success. We have created undulations within the scheme on top of which we have planted the most tender and temperamental of plants.

Drifts of the annual Arctotis fastuosa
Arctotis fastuosa

A Sense of South Africa

Annuals together with short-lived perennials are useful for creating big drifts of colour in a short time period. They are particularly helpful in conjuring a sense of South Africa with a wealth of colour and vibrancy.

Kniphofia 'Mango Popsicle'
Kniphofia 'Mango Popsicle'

Wonderfully Diverse

South African plants are the most wonderfully diverse, often quietly quirky and outlandishly beautiful. They are definitely worth a go!