There are several trees that are not allowed in gardens any more or are just plain bad news to have in your garden, such as the ones that like to warp your paving and crack your wall. Many truly beautiful trees are better out in the country – not advisable in a town garden.

The question is, “With what do I replace the ‘criminal’ tree?”

The options are many. It depends on what the picture is you want there.

If you want to replace a Jacaranda and still want the purple flowers in spring, Tree Wisteria (Bolusanthus spesiosus) is the logical answer. If you want the same feathery leaves of the Jacaranda, go for an Albizia or an African weeping Wattle (Peltophorum africana) which will bless you with yellow flowers in summer.

Want to replace a Leopard Tree? To replace the yellow flowers is easy enough. Try a Golden Pea (Calpurnea aurea) or Round leaved Kiaat (Pterocarpus rotundifolius). The African weeping Wattle (Peltophorum africana) will fit in nicely as well. If the flaky bark of the Leopard Tree was your joy, consider a Parsley Tree (Heteromorpha arborescens).

If you had some kind of fig tree or something else that started making trouble with its aggressive roots, but now you miss the shade, a Wild Plum (Harpephyllum caffrum) could be just what the doctor ordered.

Beautiful autumn leaves are always a joy, and your mind might immediately go to Maples and Pin Oaks. Nothing wrong with them, but what do you plant if you want a purely indigenous garden? Consider Cape Ash (Ekebergia capensis), Forest Bushwillow (Combretum kraussii) or River Bushwillow (Combretum erytrophyllum). Kirkia wilmsii or Kirkia accuminata would also give you a stunning autumn show.

There’s a Bottlebrush in this garden that you are converting to indigenous, and you hate to see it go because of the sunbirds. Tree Fuchsia (Halleria lucida) and Weeping Boerbean (Schotia brachypetala) are just two of a long list of plants that will give the sunbirds great joy. Oh, it must be a shrub, not a tree? No problem! Then you go for Cape Honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis), Sunbirdbush (Metarungia longistrobus) or Riverbells (Phygelius aequalis).

And what about fragrant flowers? Is there anything with which to replace the sweet-smelling oriental Jasmine, Gardenia or even Brunsfelsia? What about one of the indigenous Jasmines or Gardenias?: e.g. Jasminum multipartitum, Jasminum fluminense, Gardenia thunbergia, Gardenia volkensii.

So one could go on and on with appropriate substitutes for various scenarios. Though there are floods at times, long dry periods are quite common in our country, and it makes to plan your garden accordingly. Saving water is “the right thing to do” any way. I order not to duplicate, please see the other articles on responsible water use in this web site.   

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