Tag Archives: gardens

ALOE karasbergensis


Family: Asphodelaceae

Common names: Karasberg Aloe

Aloe karasbergensis is still for some heavily linked to the regular Aloe striata, and is still referred in publication as Aloe striata subsp. karasbergensis. For me it is quite different from the regular ‘striata’, and I have joined with the progressives to give it its only name. It is a plant that is native to Southern Africa and Namibia; and the ‘Karasberg’ refers to the Karas Mountain region, and in the Gariep Valley of the Richtersveld. I have noticed that ths plant is far rarer than I thought, and while visiting Gran Canaria I came across these specimens and was happy to enjoy. Have a look at the video.

VIDEO: https://youtu.be/T91FU1qiKrY

Aloe striata

I thought I will end with a photo of the traditional Aloe Striata for comparison, but for me the two plants are very different.

Winston James

BROMELIADS: Understanding Dyckia

Bromeliads need no introduction as plants species go, and this is because they are admirably attractive, absolutely well known,  and are grown all over the world. The fact that most of them are native to Brazil, South and Central America gives them the perfect tropical fit which suggests when growing, that these plants will  flourish without even the simplest effort.  A recent survey of mine suggest that in spite of their popularity, not all bromeliads are equal.  With over fifty one genera and over three thousand species people are spoiled for choice.  But finally when they do choose, many species of plants are left out.  This is my experience when recently I tried, after reading an article on Dyckia , to acquire a group of plants.

I had assumed that it would be quite easy to visit my garden center, and collect a few.  That was not the reality. Yes,  my local garden center did have samples of bromeliads, but Dyckia was not among them. A much more detailed search offered an obvious explanation, attractive decorative bromeliads were always available, but fearful spiny species were not so, and they needed a much more thorough search.  Eventually I was able to find a small collection of plants, which offered me the the introduction to the genus I was hoping for.  For your information, there are over 150 species of Dyckia, and they are endemic to the arid and high altitude regions of Brazil and central South America. They belong to the Bromeliaceae sub-family, Pitcairnioideae. The genus is named after a Prussian botanist, The Prince and Earl of Salm Reifferscheid-Dyck (1773–1861).


This is the first Dyckia that I bought three years ago, long before I had any interest in the genus.  Dyckia marnier-lapostellei is a very attractive specie with a beautiful colour.  I bought in Italy while on a visit to the continent.  Below is a another dyckia, a hybrid of unknown origin, and another plant which I like.


Dyckia ‘Silver Spurs’


This is Dyckia platyphylla and is one of the few species I am familiar with, and I find that it grows quite easily.   Below are some identified species at the Jardim Botanico in Rio de Janeiro.  This Botanical Garden offers a wealth of experience for novices like me.



Below four close-up photo images of some of my plants.



My short experience with Dyckia tells me that hybridising is an important part of the Bromeliad business. Yet I feel it would be wise to get much more acquainted with the species before I chase many of the other complicated hybrids. plants.  I am also trying to grow some from seeds, which is not going all that well. This means that after a few weeks there is no sign of life.  We will see what will happen in the long term.


Japanese Garden in Santo Domingo

The Jardin Botanico Nacional is a pleasant diversion to take in this lively bustling city of Santo Domingo. I was here on a day trip, having decided to spend my holiday week in Punta Cana, on the eastern tip of the island.

Even more surprising is the awe-inspiring Japanese garden which offers the perfect place to relax, or have a break. Once you are up on your feet, there are many other attractions to enjoy. I also loved the tropical rainforest, and the Orchid Pavilion. This Botanical Garden is a must see if you are visiting Santo Domingo.

Jardin Botanico Nacional: Japanese Garden in Santo Domingo
Jardin Botanico Nacional: Japanese Garden in Santo Domingo
Japanese Garden: Santo Domingo 2Japanese Garden: Santo Domingo 3Japanese Garden:  Santo Domingo 4Japanese Garden Santo Domingo 5Japanese Garden: Santo Domingo 6

The Pereskia Collection

Pereskia are some of my favourite plants. At first glance, you would never guess that they belong to the Cactaceae group. But closer inspection will reveal some similarities, especially areoles and spines. Altogether there are around seventeen species, all needing a warm tropical climate to grow vigorously, and survive. The P. grandiflora is easily the most common, and regularly makes an appearance in botanical gardens. They will grow from a seed or cutting, and may produce blooms after two or three seasons. In tropical habitats, they are better off in the ground. But be careful, because they can easily grow in to trees, more than three metres tall.