Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Another corner in my garden - Maree

"A garden is a delight to the eye and a solace for the soul."
-- Sadi

An old Terracotta pot on its side, a couple of Echeverias, three stepping stones, some indigenous grasses and river pebbles displayed next to my Tree Fuchsia (Halleria lucida).

Halleria lucida is an attractive tree and an asset to any garden, and it is also one of the best bird attracting trees. It is an evergreen tree or large shrub, often multi-stemmed, with a spreading crown and attractive glossy bright green foliage on arching and drooping branches.

The Zulu nation has a strong belief in traditional medicine and they use Halleria lucida for skin and ear complaints. Dry leaves are soaked in water and squeezed into the ear to relieve earache. This tree is also considered to be a charm against evil. The twigs are burnt when offering sacrifices to the ancestral spirits. The plants are set alight each year, the ashes mixed with crocodile fat and this mixture is smeared onto cuttings of Rhamnus prinoides which are then driven into the ground around the village to protect the community from wizardry and lightning. The wood can also be used to start a fire by friction. Halleria lucida timber is light coloured tinged with yellow, hard, heavy and strong, well suited to carpentry, but is not much used because the pieces are small. It was once valued for wagon poles, tools and spear shafts.

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