There are many worthy plants that are often overlooked, and among these the Gnidias deserve a mention. These hardy shrubs are ideal for Fynbos and coastal gardens.
Gnidia squarrosa will reach up to 2 – 3 meters, but should be trimmed from time to time to encourage a bushy growth habit. They are very free flowering and bloom from June to October and sometimes even longer. A well-pruned bush becomes absolutely covered with yellow blooms the bases of which are often tinged with red. The Afrikaans common name, ‘juffertjie roer by die nag’ (young lady gads about at night) reflects its strong scent in the evenings.
Gnidia pinifolia is very similar in its growth habit and has white flowers tinged with pink at the bases. It is also not as large as G. squarrosa, growing to about 1m in height. Once again, it rewards regular clipping and would be ideal as a low hedge. Like G.squarrosa, it thrives on the coast.
Gnidia oppositifolia is not to be forgotten. It is a ‘touchy’ feely’ plant with soft, densely packed foliage that is delightful to the touch. The new growth is particularly feathery and a pale, lime green against the older growth a very pretty effect: once again a plant that loves a prune. The soft, yellow blossoms appear in spring, and once again it is a very floriferous plant that becomes covered in blooms. When left to itself, it may reach a height of up to 2m.
We believe that these highly ornamental plants have a place in Cape gardens and landscapes both because of their beauty and their hardiness. Try them for yourself and see!