FYNBOS Fragrance

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Corfetti bush (Coleonema)
If you’ve ever taken a stroll in an area where fynbos occurs naturally, you’ll know that it has a distinctive fragrance. Scents of honey and herbs fill the air. It’s as if you can smell the plants growing. Fragrance is a lot more evocative than most people realize – have you ever noticed how people close their eyes when they smell something nice? That’s because smell and memory are closely linked. 
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Pink Coleonema flowers
Perhaps you’d like to recapture some lovely memory by creating the fragrance of fynbos in your garden? You probably won’t get the full aromatic bouquet, but you can go a long way towards capturing that elusive scent.

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Agathosma ovate
The buchu family’s is responsible for many of the wonderful herby aromas of the fynbos. That’s because their leaves are covered with tiny gland that secrete aromatic oils. The popular confetti bush (Coleonema) is a member of the buchu family. If you brush your hand against the leaves and then smell them, you’ll get lovely herby scent that smells a bit like tea-tree oil. The confetti bush is also a great example to prove a point; fynbos isn’t all that difficult to grow and not all buchus are difficult garden subjects.

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Agathosma serpyllacea
The buchus tat fall into the genus Agathosma give you the widest range of fragrances imaginable. There are spicy aromas, lemon scents, garlic notes and ever liquorice fragrances. You’ll recognize agathosma plants by the characteristic pink, white or lilac powder-puff flowers that most of them produce in late winter and spring.

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Agathosma apiculata
Agathosma apiculato is responsible for the garlic fragrance you’ll encounter in coastal fynbos, especially after rain. It’s a distinctive aroma that conjures up pleasant memories for many of us. This low-growing shrub has white flowers, but it’s the leaves that give off the marvelous aroma.

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Hymenolepis critmoides

Pink or white-flowering Agathosma ciliaris has a delightful scent, and taller-growing Agathosma ovate gives off a spicy aroma that’s difficult to define.
There are quite a few species of buchu available commercially, but be warned; your nose gets overwhelmed once you’ve smelled a few and agter a while it gets difficult to distinguish one aroma from another! Still, it’s lots of fun shopping with your nose.

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Another important component of the fynbos fragrance is the scent oh honey. Of course, the honeybush (Cyclopia) is one of the plants that add this rich fragrance to the aroma of fynbos. This time it’s the flowers that give off the scent, and the clusters of bright golden blooms really brighten up a winter’s day.
Not all the honey-scented blooms of the fynbos appear in winter. If you’ve ever driven down Sir Lowry’s Pass in the summer, you may have noticed shrubs with silvery foliage topped off with saucer-sizes cluster of lime-green buds that open to reveal bright golden petals. This plants goes by the name Hymenolepis crithmoides – quite a mouthful!

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Cyclopia genistoides
Spring is the time when a pretty groundcover called Hermannia Pinnata flavours the air with a taste of honey. The little bell-like blooms hardly seem capable or producing such a strong scent!

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Coleonema pulchtum “Sunset Gold’
If you’d like to create a fynbos garden, the most important factor is drainage. Most fynbos plants don’t like wet feet, so lots of compost will get you off to a good start. Compost will also help your soil to retain water without being soggy, and since most fynbos plants have fine roots that easily become desiccated, a good layer of mulch will also help to get you plants safely established.
Fynbos plants are only delicate during the first few months after planting. Once their foots are established, they’re actually quite drought-tolerant. They don’t like having their roots disturbed, so don’t let weeds get too big and don’t dig over the soil when doing garden maintenance.

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Coleonema alba (white breath of heaven)

‘To feed or not to feed fynbos?’ Is a commond question that confuses horticulturist and gardeners a like. For many years it was believed that one should never give fynbos plants any fertilizer whatsoever. Here’s the low-down: don’t use superphosphate, and bonemeal is unnecessary! That’s it. Slow-release fertilizers, organic fertilizers or a light dressing of 3:1:5 well watered in are all safe to use on fynbos plants and will enhance their growth. If you want to add a bit of fertilizer to the backfill when planting, go for really good, controlled-release fertilizer, the sort that lasts 3-6 months, and don’t overdo it.

When the Eden Project in the UK planted fynbos in one of their domes, they decided to stick to the ‘no fertilizer for fynbos’s philosophy. The result? Their fynbos plants didn’t grow well.
Last but not least, you will get the best results if you prune your fynbos plants. The buchus and ericas prefer regular, light trimming – a light ‘haircut’ every now and the prevents them from looking woody and gives them a lovely shape. Honeybush prefers a hard prune after flowering and light trims from time to time once it resprouts.
Now all you need to do is place a garden bench near your scented garden, spend a few minutes relaxing there every day and breathing in that lovely bouquet of a aromas Fynbos

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