We continue with the Big Pond Makeover – or “Project Pond“. The problem I’m focussing on in this post, is the “flop” of the Chondropetalum tectorum (Cape Thatching Reed) planted in the bed on the left of the pond. On each side of the pond is a planting bed. Landscapers told me whatever I plant in the one I need to mirror in the other – and I agree. But it is tricky, as the bed on the left of the pond is quite shaded and the one on the right is mostly full(ish) sun. So getting the same plant to thrive on either side is proving a challenge two landscapers have not succeeded at. Which makes me nervous. If the professionals can’t get it right, how will I?

It’s gorgeous on the right. I love these three plants – they are stunning and I would have loved it to work on both sides. But sadly, it is not. Let me show you what I mean …

In the first photo you see the Alleyway with the pond/water feature to the left and the Cape Thatching Reed growing tall and strong just beside it – the second photo is a closer shot. See how great that plant is? The tall strappy reed that looks fabulous, is water wise and trouble-free indigenous plant. I love it and the way it looks.

And then, the third photo shows what a flop it is in the bed on the other side of the pond.

Love them next to the pondI love the Restios here, LOVE

Beautiful, strong and tall.Beautiful, strong and tall.

Here it all goes wrongAnd then here it is all wrong

Here are a few photographs with more detail of whats happening with those plants. On the right of the pond you see the Chondropetalum tectorum grows beautifully in a mostly sunny position (even here, the very large one gets the most sun). And then you see in the last two photos how poorly it does when it does not get adequate sunlight.

Successful planting on the RIGHTSuccessful planting on the RIGHT

Taken from the other angleTaken from the other angle

UNsuccessful planting on LEFTUNsuccessful planting on LEFT

They really need way more sun …They want the sun ...

I’m at a loss. First prize would be of course to get the plants on the left to perform. I can remove any more from the tree causing the shade – it is already looking a bit lop-sided, so that’s not an option. So what else can I do? Replant? It will be very sad to lose or remove the three gorgeous ones on the right.

So if I was to plant something different, what could work? I’m considering Panicum virgatum – any type I can find. They are not easy to come by here in the Cape it seems. I’ve never seen one at a regular nursery. What a shame, they are so amazingly beautiful and easy to grow. Miscanthus perhaps? Also not readily available. I’m still researching plants and will of course be very grateful if anyone has a winning suggestion for me!

Next in the series of Project Pond comes the first attempt at cleaning up. Does it work or fail? Does my pond guy get to keep increasing his rate whenever he feels like it? We shall soon see … :)

Happy Gardening
xxx