JULY COMPETITION TITLE -
A Contemporary Design - To Be Named
MARGARET HUMAN - ADVANCED KEVIN WEBB - ADVANCED
CANDLE IN THE WIND SEARCHING FOR A PARALLEL UNIVERS
VASSIE NAYANAR - INTERMEDIATE ZAKYA KARIM - NOVICE
THIS MONTHS CHOICE OF OUR SOUTH AFRICAN FLOWERS
Leonotis leonurus or wild dagga
Leonotis leonurus, wild dagga, Lion's ear, Lion's tail, minaret flower.
leonotis = (Greek) leon - a lion and otis - an ear
Leonotis leonurus has become a popular garden shrub as well as a most attractive cut flower. The very handsome velvety flowers are produced from April to August and are beloved by sunbirds and butterflies. The plants in this genus are native to tropical and southern Africa, with those indigenous to South Africa widespread in the summer rainfall areas. Often referred to as 'wild dagga' this plant is not related to true dagga (cannabis). Leonotis leonurus has rusty-orange flowers. L.leonurus var. albiflora is the same but with creamy-white flowers, and there is a hybrid version of the two above, (not easily obtainable) which has pale chalky orange flowers. The plant is a many stemmed shrub which usually attains a height of about 2 metres. The erect stems are producded from woody rootstock. The flowers are produced in dense clusters along the stems. The flowers secrete a plentiful supply of nectar which attracts birds and insects. It dies back after flowering and new growth starts once more in spring. Fast growing, it can become straggly and unattractive but given good soil, enough water, regular trimming and 'stopping' it can be a very showy shrub. Propogation is by means of seeds, cutting or division of rootstock. Widely used in African medicine for many ailments.
A striking cut flower which will last for several days. Cut in the cool of the day. The leaves tend to droop so all should be removed leaving just the velvety flower whorls. Sometimes the topmost flower bud on the stem will wilt, so when stripping the leaves this should be removed as well. Crush the woody stems and give a longish drink. Cut the stems again when placing in the design. (Crushed stem ends can introduce bacteria).
The tall straight stems may be used in line mass and parallel designs as well as in indigenous and landscape arrangements.
The dried stems, after all the petals have fallen, make good outline material, and can be sprayed or painted gold, silver, red or white for Christmas and abstact designs.
This is not necessary as the stems are light and firm. Normal mechanics or floral foam in wire cages, or pinholders are sufficient. Fun can be had experimenting with alternative mechanics, eg, glass marbles or pebbles in clear glass, wet sand, cut stems or twigs, jel, etc.
Kindly submitted by Tania van der Watt.
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