In February I wrote a post about a large shrub I have in my garden called Makhaya Bella. A South African native, according to PlantzAfrica.co.za this plant occurs nowhere else in the world except in Southern Africa.
I’ve had the shrub for just over two years now. Its grown fabulously well in a rather dark corner (they like shade). I’ve nursed it from a tiny plant to a dense shrub that reaches about 2.5 metres high and almost 2 across, but it has never produced a single bloom (which it is supposed to). Then I read somewhere recently that Makhaya Bella will only flower in its third year and here we are, her third spring season and she has hundreds of buds and two blooms open right now. I’m thrilled! The individual flowers are not overly impressive but I can imagine once the shrub is covered in blooms it should look fabulous.
Right now very few of the flowers are open but you can see on the photographs that there are plenty more to come. I’m looking forward to them all being open. You’ll also see on the photos that the bugs seem to like it – I’m happy they do. The shrub lives at the back of a bed which is filled with Camellias and Star Jasmine and I’d rather they eat the Makhaya Bella and leave the Camellias alone. Its at the back of the bed and the shrub is so dense that you really don’t notice a few bug eaten leaves unless you get up really close. I’m glad they choose to eat the Makhaya Bella.
One thing I’ve noticed is that this shrub is always full of wasps. If I work near the plant they fly upwards or away. I also found out that the beautiful Blue Pansy butterfly caterpillars (Precis oenone oenone) feed on this shrub. I don’t recall seeing the butterflies in my garden, maybe this is the year! I’ve sure seen the caterpillars though 🙂
Makhaya Bella Flowers and Buds
Any nice surprises in your garden?