I believe in the Western Cape

South Africa’s western cape is a richly diverse area with a mediterranean climate, so many of its plants will grow in English gardens. But for many of them you will need to give them some encouragement: plenty of light and protection from the worst of the weather.

Julian Sutton’s detailed knowledge of these plants and his passion for them were obvious. He took us from Table Mountain east to Port Elizabeth, stopping to look at desirable plants in varied conditions. H gave tips on which did the best in our conditions, and how to make the most of them.  Freesias, gladioli, watsonias, proteas, pelargoniums and aloes were among the many species he covered, and his slides gave us a real sense of the beauty and diversity of south-western South Africa. He also had some enthusiastic purchasers of the plants he’d brought from his aptly-named nursery in Devon – ‘Desirable Plants.’

This is an introduction to winter rainfall South African plants, their wild habitats and cultivation. Sarah & Julian Sutton, at their nursery in Devon, grow mainly herbaceous perennials, particularly the choice, the interesting and the offbeat. They specialize in woodlanders and South African plants, which they propagate and sell by mail order.