*Important Note: The plant I refer to as a “Delicious Monster” has since been identified by Sarie Joubert and Dewald Louw (click on their names to read their comments) as being a Philodendron which Dewald says is a poisonous plant and should NOT be eaten! My thanks to Sarie and Dewald for this correction. I will not be changing the title of the post though as “The tale of the Philodendron and the unfurling fronds” just does not have the same ring to it! 🙂
[Update: Anders Kjellsson has positively identified the Mystery plant as an ornamental rhubarb (Gunnera species) from South America.]
One of the effects of the long drought our area has experienced, is that the garden suffered. For about a year we were not allowed to water our gardens at all, so the gardens had to survive on the little rain that fell during that time. Now that it has started raining again, we’re surprised at how well our garden is recovering. So well in fact that we can’t keep up with the plant growth. I am starting to feel like that princess in the fairytale, whose castle is completely overgrown with plants. Ground covers in the flower beds which had died back to expose bare soil, have grown back and then some.
When the lawn was not mowed for two weeks, the grass grew so quickly that it started to resemble a field. Even the Grass Funnel Web spiders started to set up home on the lawn. I was hanging up washing on the outside clothes line the other day, and saw that little moss or lichen plants were beginning to grow on the actual clothes line itself.
Besides this and the fact that all the flowering plants are in bloom, the biggest indicator that our garden is recovering is that three plants, which are not designed to endure drought conditions, have made a comeback. Partly due to the fact that whoever designed the garden, had the foresight to plant them in sheltered and shady areas next to the house or garden walls.
We have got a number of Delicious Monster (Monstera deliciosa), plants in our garden, which have grown quite big over the years. This is a creeping vine which is native to the tropical rain forests of Central America. It belongs to the Araceae (Arum) family, which is the same plant family that the Arum or Calla Lily (my favourite flower) belongs to. Although these plants did okay during the drought (with only the loss of a couple of leaves), they did not flower. Until now.
[Click on photos to enlarge them]
And the Delicious Monsters are also growing lots of leaves. Seeing this many developing leaves at once is very unusual.
Then there is this funny plant. We have one growing next to a Delicious Monster in a wetter area, against the side of the house where the bathrooms are situated i.e. they benefit from some of the water run off from the geyser. The plant dies back completely in winter, and then grows leaves again in the Spring. I am calling it the “Mystery” plant, but if anybody knows what it is, please let me know! It too has got a flower for the first time ever.
The one group of plants that did not fare well through the drought, were the tree ferns. Although they were also planted in cooler, sheltered areas in the garden, they lost a lot of fronds during the drought. You can still see the dead fronds in the photograph below.
After the good rains we have had, the tree ferns are also producing lots of new fronds.
It is really wonderful and exciting to see what a little bit of rain (okay, a whole lot of rain!) can do to a garden. Nature is wonderful! 🙂