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Gardening in South Africa

Summer Show Stoppers

Salvia farinaceaSalvia farinaceaHailing from around the globe, including several indigenous varieties, Begonias come from a massive genus consisting of more than a thousand species. With over ten thousand documented hybrids there is an almost confusing array to choose from.  When it comes to long lasting, outdoor colour however, there is little to be confused about. Begonia semperflorens or bedding Begonias and its numerous cultivars, are just the thing to brighten up those dull areas in the garden.

Impatiens – known to many as “Busy Lizzies” – are a vital ingredient to any summer garden. Few, if any, other plants offer such a mass of blooms for such a long period as do these valiant little plants. For a relatively small outlay, a few trays of impatiens will transform a dull shady corner into a riot of gorgeous colour. Impatiens will perform beautifully all summer long, impressing all passers-by. Once impatiens are established, discerning gardeners the world over are finding them among the most carefree annuals in the garden.

It’s time we started looking at Thyme in a whole new light - it’s equally at home in a caramel sauce as it is in a dreamy macaroni and cheese!


Common ThymeCommon ThymeThyme, for many people, brings up happy memories of eating traditional roast chicken with thyme and onion stuffing, or classic turkey with sage and thyme at thanksgiving.  For others it is associated with pasta sauces and pizza. But alas - poor thyme, she seems to always be the bridesmaid, never the bride - destined to work tirelessly as a culinary Cinderella in the kitchen. No more, it’s time for this Cinderella to go to the ball and play centre stage. She’s quite capable of competing with those other flashy herbs like coriander, mint, basil and parsley, and once you get addicted to her clean yet bracing pungency, you will find yourself reaching for thyme more and more!

Landscape Layout for Newbies

Picture courtesy www.gardenworld.co.zaPicture courtesy www.gardenworld.co.zaHave you just bought your first home and the budget for the garden is very limited, or perhaps you are just tired of the way your garden looks and want a fresh new look, but are concerned about expenses? If so, it is comforting to know that you can do it yourself - landscape design is not that difficult, as long as you have patience and a plan in hand!

You may have even watched landscaping shows where amazing garden transformations magically occur in the matter of half an hour – all you need are a couple of friends to help dig up the existing kikuyu grass, lay down some pavers, add some focal points like a pergola, statue or water feature, not forgetting a fortune in plant material, and “voilà” your trendy new garden is complete! 

Carpets of Colour

Marigolds Marigolds If it’s warm, rich colours you are after then marigolds are just the thing for you. Their colourful flowers come in shades of orange, yellow, red and bi-coloured, with many flower shapes and sizes to choose from. You may be forgiven for thinking that surely marigolds are a bit old fashioned, because they bring back memories of your grandmother’s garden. This may have even been true a few years back, however they have made a big comeback in contemporary gardens.

Rare (uncommon) Tree of the Year 2017

Euclea pseudebenus Picture courtesy www.kyffhauser.co.zaEuclea pseudebenus Picture courtesy www.kyffhauser.co.za  Ebony Tree, Ebony Guarri, Ebbehout, Tsawib (Euclea pseudebenus)

If you are looking for an elegant indigenous shade tree which is evergreen and can cope with very hot and dry conditions, the ebony tree is one of the best and well worth searching for.  This dessert plant is quite happy growing in both winter and summer rainfall conditions and is found in northern Namaqualand and eastwards to Bushmanland, where it hugs the Gariep River on both the South African and Namibian sides. Its range extends throughout the southwestern, central and north-western part of Namibia and into the Kaokoveld and southern Angola. In its natural desert and semi-desert habitat it can be found growing in stony ground, usually in low-lying seasonal flood plains and in areas along watercourses, or close by. It is well adapted to its harsh environment, possessing an extensive taproot system that is able to reach deep into the ground, where subterranean water may be found.

Books

Gardening in the Shade

shade book

Growing Vegetables in South Africa

Growing Bedding Plants in South Africa

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