If you had asked me about Ebracteola wilmaniae a year ago I would have said "huh?" and yet nowadays, every time I stroll through my rock garden I admire the rather lush clump of this and think many thoughts: how many more outlandish South African ice plants are going to grace my garden over the years? And I think of David Salman, who has this penchant of bringing by some amazing treasure every time he visits my garden...I have an ancient specimen of Echinomastus intertextus in a trough he must have given me fifteen years ago and not one but two wonderful Bulbinellas from the Drakensberg he dropped off this spring that have been blooming their heads off ever since: my garden is peppered with plants from David's visit and his astonishing nursery. Needless to say, if David's good company weren't more than enough, I look forward to his visits to see what other treasures might not be lurking down there in New Mexico, just waiting to be tested in my gardens!
As for this ice plant, it's from the West Cape and doesn't seem to have much justification for proving so hardy when you see the range it grows in. But last winter it produced fresh flowers in December and January: a winning trait in a plant. These pictures were taken five months later when it was still in bloom: those flowers are almost 2" across: no slouch!
Gardens are a gift each day as I stroll around and enjoy the vistas and vignettes, and often as not I think of the friends that plants came from, and soon the garden is entwined with an intangible web of memories and associations every bit as rich as its flowers and foliage, as evocative as a gust of daphne fragrance borne on the gentle morning breeze.