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Gardening: What is the most polarizing species in the garden? Maybe this one

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If there is a “most polarizing species” when it comes to garden-worthy plant selections, Natal plum (Carissa macrocarpa) might be it. Some gardeners love it and some feel precisely the opposite about it.
 Once it has been growing for a year or two, it may as well be a cactus for all the water it requires. And it does not need fertilizer either. Yet some gardeners find natal plum to be annoying, if not positively standoffish. The first issue is its two-pronged thorns, highly irregular among thorny plants.  You may want to get close but the thorns convey a message of “No, I want to be left alone.”  These thorns are actually an asset, however, should you be thinking in terms of property protection since Natal plum may grow up to 12 feet tall, making a row of them serve admirably as a living security fence. Some people may not be aware than there are compact, dwarf, and creeping Natal plum cultivars that are highly ornamental, require only occasional, if any pruning, hide their thorns ra…