Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Before you apply water, test how dry or wet your soil is by doing the 'knuckle test':
Press your finger (up to the first joint) into the soil. If you are checking a seedling tray, scratch the soil in the tray.
If your soil is dry at this level, the plants have used up all the available water, so you need to water.
If your soil is moist (damp) at this level, your plants are getting enough water and you are watering correctly.
If your soil is soggy at this level, your plants are in danger of 'drowning', and depending on weather conditions and other factors, you can miss a watering session or delay it till later in the day.
With experience you will be able to check whether your plants need water or not, just by looking at them and your soil. Whenever you are in doubt, do the knuckle test as described above.
Remember: your plants need to dry out slightly between watering sessions. Just like humans, plants do not like to have feet that are constantly wet.
Make checking the water condition of the soil part of your morning routine. When possible, water plants in the cool of the early morning because less water is lost to evaporation and this will give you the peace of mind that your crops are supplied with this vital nutrient for the day.
In very dry hot spells recheck the watering needs once more during the day. Water at any time of the day when plants show a need for it. Don't wait till the morning.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
One of the world’s leading suppliers of Traditional Chinese Medicine and nutritional herbal supplements, Tasly Group, is steadily making inroads into the Zimbabwean market.Tasly Group now has four distributor shops and almost six hundred individual distributors in Zimbabwe under the title Tasly World Zimbabwe and is geared to grow its distributorship over the coming year.The Tasly products were endorsed and certified by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe. The Authority’s Registration Committee agreed that the Tasly Group could market its products locally pending a listing exercise of herbal medicines.Tasly Group Chairman and President, Dr Xijun Yan said they derived confidence in their products on the back of the testimonies from users of the products around the globe."These products bring forth results that people are looking for. They are the result of modern technology applied to ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine Philosophy and are the perfect marriage of the modern and the time-honoured."Many people today are in search of superior nutritional herbal supplements and feel a strong desire to enjoy personal financial freedom . . . Our world class product and equally superior compensation plan demonstrate our commitment to both," said Dr Yan.The distributor shops and individual distributors are found in Harare, Gweru, Bulawayo and Plumtree and all major towns in Zimbabwe and the Tasly Marketing Plan has ensured that they now are proud owners of thriving businesses. Under the plan one pays R237 to become a distributor and they receive a business manual, product manual, a Tasly Bag, Danshen Pill — an all-use pill which is effective in improving blood circulation and hailed as the best killer of cardiovascular diseases.They also receive a badge and distributor card which can be used in any Tasly Shop around the world. Once one becomes a distributor they can now sell up to 34 Tasly products, mainly capsules and teas to individuals and pharmacies. The products include those effective for healing Alimentary Tract, cardiovascular, central nervous system, dermatology, endocrine system, genitor-urinary system, muscular skeletal system, respiratory and sensory systems. The products’ prices range from R9 to R462.The Tasly Group takes the Pan-Health industry as its orientation and the TCM as its core business. It has a portfolio of business in plantation, healthcare products, health drinking and new package industries. It grew from scratch into an international Group of companies by upholding the corporate philosophy of "Harmonising Human and Nature, Improving the Quality of Life" and adhering to the mission of modernisation and globalisation of TCM.Tasly World Zimbabwe was established in August 2006 through its first distributor Mrs Jester Makopola who has been influential in the setting up of the other three distributorships. The Harare distributorship is run by Mrs Viola Mbengwa who launched it in March this year having been introduced to it in September last year.Mrs Mbengwa said she is now able to fulfill her financial dreams thanks to the innovative Tasly marketing plan which enriches every one who registers to become a distributor.Under the plan distributors enjoy retail profit, direct bonus, indirect bonus, leadership bonus, fast developing award and honourable award.All these accolades are there to ensure that distributors play a pivotal role in pushing volumes of products for the Tasly group and in return the distributors stand to win anything between 20 percent retail profit and or tours, brand new motor vehicles or villas.Apart from Zimbabwe, The Tasly Group enjoys a presence in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Swaziland, Kenya, Cote D’Voire Egypt and Uganda. Globally it has business in all five continents.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
The dried plant collections are subject to attack by a variety of pests and some insect damage has already occurred. Fumigation is essential at regular intervals and the latest scheduled event is now overdue.
Like most other institutions in Zimbabwe, the National Herbarium is suffering from financial difficulties at present.
In order to prevent irreparable damage to this important collection, and as the Tree Society and some of its members make use of this valuable resource, we have agreed to raise money towards covering this cost.
The (one-time) cost of the fumigation is US$ 350. Donations amounting to US$ 70 have already been received, so the outstanding amount is currently US$ 280.
Anyone wishing to donate should give such donation to the Tree Society; specifically to the Treasurer, Mr Terry Fallon (74, Lamenier Village, 4 Ridgeway North, Chisipite; tel: 481076; email: email@example.com) or to the Chairman, Mark Hyde (29, Harry Pichanick Drive, Alexandra Park, Harare; tel: Harare 745263; email: firstname.lastname@example.org) or to any Tree Society Committee member.
Any overseas person wishing to donate should contact me directly to discuss how this could be done.
Receipts will be issued if requested.
May I urge everyone to make a contribution, however small, to this important matter.
Please forward this email to anyone who might be interested in helping to fund this important project.
If anyone has any questions or thoughts about this, please get in touch with me.
Mark Hyde - email@example.com
Chairman, Tree Society of Zimbabwe
Do you want to make an environmentally responsible choice of plants for ornament, hedging, landscaping etc? Then consider the following guidelines in selecting species:
• DON’T select known alien species e.g. lantana (Lantana camara hort.).
• AVOID alien species that are similar to known invasive species—e.g. treat ALL species of alien acacias, inkberries (Cestrum spp.), cotoneasters, firethorns (Pyracantha spp.), lantanas etc. as potentially invasive. Substitution of a known invader with another plant having similar attributes will negate efforts to prevent further invasions.
• AVOID alien species that have fleshy fruits—many of the most troublesome invaders are spread by frugivorous birds, bats and other animals e.g. lantana, mulberry, guavas, privets, bugweed, syringa, prickly pears, queen of the night cactus, firethorns, cotoneasters, eglantine rose, brambles, ginger-lilies. Australian brush-cherry (Syzygium paniculatum is often sold as a ’good bird plant’ - and is on its way to becoming invasive!)
• AVOID alien aquatic species—all alien species that are climatically adapted have the potential to become invasive, e.g. sword plant (Echinodorus spp.)
• AVOID alien grasses—which are among the most invasive species in the world. Many spread prolifically from seed, underground stems (rhizomes) and runners (stolons). Fountain grass (Pennisteum setaceum), for example, is becoming increasingly invasive.
• AVOID alien climbers—which have a devastating effect by smothering the native vegetation; they are extremely difficult to control. English Ivy (Hedera helix) provides one good example. Cat’s claw (Macfadyena unguis-cati) is another.
• Avoid alien succulents—some of which have become the most costly and troublesome invasive species in the region, e.g. sour prickly pear (Opuntia stricta). Cacti are ALL alien in southern Africa (with the exception of a single small epiphytic forest species of Rhipsalis). The alien cacti are often confused with the indigenous euphorbias—don’t be fooled into purchasing a cactus that has been incorrectly labelled as euphorbia. Cacti have spines arising from specialized structures called areoles and the spines usually occur in clusters; they do not have a milky latex like the euphorbias. Agaves or American “aloes” with their tall flowering poles should not be confused with indigenous Aloe species with their showy, orange, red or yellow flowers.
Common misconceptions: cultivars and sterile plants
• Cultivars are OK because they can only be reproduced by cuttings, tissue culture etc. WRONG!—many cultivars e.g. variegated forms are able to reproduce by seed and their progeny revert to the original form, e.g. Chinese wax-leaved privet (Ligustrum lucidum) (there are two forms: normal and variegated). Queen of the night (Cereus jamacaru) has a monstrous form that sets seed which develops into the normal form.
• “Sterile” plants are OK because they do not reproduce from seed. WRONG!—some so-called “sterile” plants, e.g. pure yellow–and pure white-flowered, bushy lantana (Lantana camara hort.) produce fertile pollen that can cross-pollinate the normal fertile plants, as well as fertile embryo sacs that occasionally produce seed.
• The creeping, yellow Lantana cultivar Sundancer is marketed as “Lantana montevidensis”, “sterile” and “non-invasive”, however studies in South Africa and Australia indicate that it is partly L. camara, only sterile if planted in isolation, and inter-fertile with L. camara. Research in America indicates that a very similar cultivar, Goldrush, is probably a hybrid derived from the invasive Lantana camara complex and North American Lantana depressa. While there is no evidence that Sundancer and other yellow-flowered creeping lantanas are invasive, they are probably harmful in a much more subtle way—by swapping genes with the invasive lantana and adding the genes of L. depressa and possibly other Lantana species to the gene pool of the invasive, alien lantana complex, almost certainly increasing its genetic heterogeneity, hybrid vigour, resistance to biocontrol agents, invasiveness and suppression of indigenous biodiversity.
• Many sterile plants can reproduce vegetatively—from plant fragments e.g. jointed cactus, weeping willow, salvinia; others reproduce by suckering from the roots e.g. white and grey poplars; others from underground stems or rhizomes, e.g. giant reed, and from aerial tubers, e.g Madeira vine (Anredera cordifolia)
• Plants with only one sex present are OK because they can’t produce seed. WRONG! — purple pampas grass (Cortaderia jubata), for example, can produce seed without pollination (apomictic reproduction)
Reproduced (with minor editing) in the interests of science from SAPIA NEWS No. 10, January 2009.
CONTACT TEL. NUMBERS
Mark Hyde Home 745263
Cell 091 233751
Ruth Evans Home 331198
Terry Fallon Home 481076
J-P Felu Home 304916
Eva Keller Home 339368
Richard Oulton Home 870540
Mimi Rowe Home 882719
Tree Life Editor Home 302812
The Tree Society’s e-mail address is
firstname.lastname@example.org (Ruth Evans)
The Tree Society web site is
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Growing herbs for culinary and/or medicinal use is only a pleasure - once established they need little attention - except to be watered.
Buy good quality seedlings as they are quicker and easier to handle than producing your own seedlings direct from seed. Never buy just one plant - three is a good number and then you will have a reasonable crop as well as filling up your herb garden quickly.
I like to grown herbs so that they form a mass of colour and aroma - i plant wild flowers among them to add interest.
If you follow these guide lines you will have little trouble in establishing a good supply all year round!
You should prepare the ground well in advance and remove weeds (they compete with herbs - after all a weed is only a herb no one has found a use for!), add compost, and rake the soil so that the bed is level. Herbs do not need large amounts of manure or fertiliser and excessive use will only produce soft growth.
Before transplanting your herbs out of their sleeves into the ground, water the plants well because a dry ball of roots is difficult to wet thoroughly once it is in the ground.
Because sleeves are small, herbs tend to become root bound. To encourage new root growth gently loosen the root ball before planting in the ground. Pinch out the tips of shrubby herbs, like thyme, to encourage bushy growth. Add some bone meal or fish meal at the bottom of each planting hole.
If you have designed a herb garden , first set the herbs in their positions. you may find your original plan does not quite appeal to you. It is easier to move them around while they are still in their sleeves, rather than having to transplant them later. Space them according to their expected height and spread so they have room to develop.
After planting, firm the soil gently around the plant and water thoroughly to settle the soil and give the herb a good start.
Some herbs, like the mints and thyme can be invasive. You can restrict their spread by planting them in sunken containers. Remove any spreading material immediately. unless you wish them to cover an area of soil or grow into the grass or path at the edge.
Good herb planting!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
This shows what is becoming our wild herb garden. We have just started clearing and planting. In the front bed are thymes, mints chamomile etc and behind we have bulbanella, wile als and the two trees are tamarind and elder.
Quite a mixture!
Rose, lemon and oak geranium, and Rosella with lavender and a mixture of wild flowers are making up the rest of the garden. Whatever will look good here will go in and I am still collecting!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
This plant is in a rockery and only gets water when the rains come.
It has a small yellow flower.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
It has medicinal properties as well - cur early in the morning and pulverised with honey and whisky it makes a liquid which is a protection against cancer.
This plant is many years old and was replanted having been rescued from a friends garden when the left.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
This interesting little plant grows in almost every garden - it is a common weed and many people consider it a menace as it grows in every crook and cranny. It has shiny green leaves and small white and yellow flowers. It originated in Australia. It is, however now a common Zimbabwe plant.
It is an excellent treatment for skin cancer. i was taught how to use it by a farmer's wife.
One breaks off a section of the stem of the plant.
The treated area will form a scab - this will heal and fall off leaving almost no scarring.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
i outline below the interesting facts about the plant which grows in our garden:
C BOTANICAL NAME: Warburgia Salutaris
C ENGLISH NAME: Warburgia
C FAMILY: Canellaceae
C COMMON NAME: Pepper-Bark Tree, fever tree
! SHONA NAME: muranga
C COATES PALGRAVE NUMBER 720
A slender tree or round bush normally 5 to 10 meters in height with rough rich brown bark and glossy dark green, elliptic leaves which are paler green and dull on the under surface.
Flowers are white to greenish up to 7mm in diameter on their own or in a tight few flowered head.
The fruit is a berry up to 4cm in diameter - black when mature and leathery - usually appear in October/November.
The heartwood is pale green, oily and aromatic when first cut - drying darker when exposed to the air and loosing its aromatic properties.
It is not a enduring wood and therefore is not cut for any purpose other than medicine.
Its natural habitat is the Chipinge area of Zimbabwe, and to countries north of Zambia and Malawi. It also occurs in the very north east of South Africa and in Zululand. In Zimbabwe there are now no examples of this tree growing in its natural locality - one example is found in the Ruwa area and another - taken as a cutting from this tree - in Harare. The National Botanical Gardens in Harare have imported a few seedlings in hope of growing these to maturity.
MEDICINAL USES IN ZIMBABWE
This plant has been used medicinally from early times.
PARTS OF THE PLANT AND USAGES
The red peppery, bitter inner bark is used for:
A treatment for colds.
Dried and ground to snuff it is used to clear the sinuses.
It is chewed or smoke from the burning bark inhaled for chest complaints.
Boiled in water with the roots it is considered effective against malaria.
Abdominal pains.( Bark - decoction or powder taken in porridge)
Increase in blood. (A fungus that grows on the bark is swallowed in rare cases.)
Relief of headaches - use rare. (Powder applied to cuts or nyora made on temples.)
As a universal remedy (Panacea). (Decoction taken by mouth.)
A cure for mouth sores. (Powdered and mixed with water.)
Treatment for venereal disease. (Bark decoction of bark taken in porridge.)
To cause an abortion (Decoction taken by mouth - rarely used.)
It is also given magical properties and is used in:
Divination. (The bark is boiled together with hakata and the bark chewed and spat upon the hakata.)
The bark used as incense.
The leaves are used to flavour curries and can be easily identified by their burning peppery taste. Although this usage is East African it is interesting to note that the tree can easily be identified by this particular quality.
THE GROWING OF WARBURGIA SALUTARIS
Little attempt has been made to grow this tree under controlled conditions and as it now faces extinction it could be too later.
Cutting have been taken from the specimen in Harare and some small plants have been grown by Mr. John Cotteril in Bindura from these cuttings. A nursery in the area has also taken a selection of cuttings and we understand that these have also survived.
Further work will be done this year to propagate from cuttings and it is hoped to be able to return specimens to the wild within a few years.
COPYRIGHT O. LIND 12 October 1995 (no update except that there are no other plants growing at this date - 2009)
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
He planned, with his wife, his memorial service - which was to be, and tragically did take place, on 31 May 2009. It was a meeting of the Aloe and Cactus Society - with his friends present.
His wife Dorothy had slaved to make sure not a plant was out of place - that all the plants were labeled and not a weed showed.
After tea and a simple ceremony where friends spoke of him and his devotion to plants and his work we walked round the garden where he had spent his last day - sad that it was overshadowed by the house in which he was killed.
It was the right way to celebrate the life of a wonderful and gentle man.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
The Vumba Botanical gardens took plants from me for their herb garden.
With draught and lack of time and staff the herb garden was no more but now i am starting it up again!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
i can do nothing but leave my wild basil where it is for now.
The clump of bushes - originally planted from seed found on the Zambezi flood plane at RIFA has taken hold in a bed with indigenous trees and acts as a good cover for the bore hole. It always seems to be green and can be used as either a culinary herb or a medicinal herb.
Used in casseroles and stews it is slightly stronger than most forms of culinary basil. it has fury leaves and the seeds are brown and dry very quickly. They fall and reseed the bed naturally and need no care except for a little water during the dry season.
The branches can be thrown under tables to make a natural fly and mosquito repellent at a luncheon or supper outdoors party.
The seeds can be taken in the hands - rubbed to release their aroma and are a welcome relief to someone suffering hay fever when out on a bush walk.
This variety is Zulu Basil.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Our once pristine vegetable garden is now a mass of weeds. With no one to help an achre and a bit of garden can be too much to cope with.
However help is now at hand - we have allowed an old friend to take over our domestic quarters, which we are no longer using, in exchange for helping us out in the garden.
he held a vegetable gardening course a week back and we now have the start of a vegetable garden again!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
this is what i came across yesterday - flame lilies climbing into our wild gardenia and growing among a mass of 'Mother in Laws Tongues'. We have never seem this display before - perhaps because our gardeners have always - kept the place tidy!!!!!!!
I really think I prefer the garden untidy!
Friday, January 23, 2009
We planted the seed - which came from England in July - everyone said far too early - anyway it has thrived and we harvested our first chilli two days ago.
I thought I was used to hot chillies - this one tops the scale - I took a bite of the bottom of the fruit and mentioned that it was not hot at all what was all the fuss! Then I bit further into the flesh - not taking any seeds. I have never tasted anything so hot - it has no flavour just heat that bi=urns. My husband had the same experience.
We went and opened a container of ready made custard - something I never eat as i have a reaction to milk products - well I downed two plates and never had a reaction. i could still feel a slight burning sensation yesterday.
Just beware if you plant this chillie it is really hot!