Dear friends and other interesting creatures,
My #SpekboomChallenge started with a gift from The Glass Recycling Company. Thank you so much.
I have an entire cupboard filled with glass bottles with a dozen ideas as to what to do with them. There is a Pinterest board living in my head that seldom actually see the light of day. I am sure some of you can identify. I’m the Mom who bakes cookies from scratch every five years or so kinda Pinterest user.
Deciding I shall save the planet at once, I became quite obsessed with finding an abundance of Spekboom to plant. Organisations are selling them and some are very tempting but being a broke Wench… I went onto Facebook and searched my surrounding suburbs for posts about Spekboom. I came across a post from a very nice lady who offered cuttings to anyone, directly from her pavement.
Well, in two shakes of a lamb’s tail one Sunday morning, I was in the shower, dressed and in my car. Armed with scissors, a recycling green-friendly bag and GPS directions.
Imagine this, I parked (which always looks like I abandoned my car) next to the road, and while the plant I was cutting from was on the pavement and technically public domain, I felt Oh So Gangsta!
I quickly realised that the road I was parked on was actually quite a busy one. The cars were backing up one side, then the other. I went all-in, collecting cuttings from the huge hedge of Spekboom. I pretended I saw none of the traffic jam I was causing. I am blind like that.
After, my Oh So Gangsta excitement, I drove to the only Nursery I know in my area to buy potting soil and pebbles. I felt a little odd asking why there were no purple stones … but what can one do? Apparently saving the planet is more of a green thing.
I know it is unpopular, but I am not the “greenest” person. I do like sea turtles so I’m skipping the straws, so that is a step up you know? However, I love the idea of cultivating new life (… I point to my many children) so much that I have planted 55 Spekboom cuttings in glass jars so far!!
Let me tell you why…
- Spekboom (aka Portulacaria afra) is indigenous to the Eastern Cape, so it is Proudly South African. It clearly is in the #ImStaying WhatsApp group.
- Elephants consider the plant a delicacy. Who am I to object? I tried it. It tasted like one of those little green apples, perhaps a bit saltier. I’m so adventurous these days.
- Spekboom is a water-wise plant. This drought-resistant plant can survive on just 250-350mm of water a year! Meaning it can live with my neglect!!
- Spekboom is easily propagated. A broken branch tossed onto the ground by a browsing elephant will grow roots and create a whole new plant.
- Simply cut or break off a piece of a spekboom, let it dry out for one or two days and then stick it in the ground. Water whenever the soil has dried out completely.
- Spekboom can live up to 200 years.
- Portulacaria afra is non-toxic and safe to grow around cats and dogs.
- It is an easy to grow succulent that is heat, drought and fire-resistant, and can be grown in full sun or semi-shade.
Your next small issue is to make sure you are actually planting Spekboom and not the Jade (also known as the money plant). Not that the Jade plant is not an excellent succulent, it just doesn’t absorb carbon from the air to make plant tissue, like the Spekboom. Boom!
I have started gifting some of my joy to my friends, my dentist, my hair and nail salon. I hope you all think of me when you look at something I planted. (Look Ma, I made a thing!)
I wish you enough,