Will you slow down in 2015, smell the roses and touch base with nature? Share your world with plants to find a healthy, balanced life – a visit to an accredited garden centre will yield any number of ideas to inspire you.
A shaded garden is a refuge from the stresses of a busy lifestyle. Perhaps a beautiful old tree has grown so well that lawn and other plants struggle to grow underneath it? Raised beds filled with top quality potting soil, a reading chair and the right plants will transform the space into a restful glade. Many plants such as Euphorbia hypericifolia flower happily in dappled shade and teamed with bedding impatiens, will add a little fizz to your space. Water-wise agapanthus and alstroemeria are perfect for partially shaded beds and coleus is renowned for the fascinating colour combinations and patterns of its leaves.
An open, mixed-plant garden with easy-going plants, is an uplifting place to be. Kirstenbosch is celebrating 100 years of protecting our floral heritage so join the party by growing some indigenous plants too. Brunia albiflora will flourish in a sunny meadow, and nothing is more South African than proteas – accredited garden centres know which varieties are best for your garden’s conditions. Include a rose bush or two as well – popular favourites, or consider old-time Heritage roses for something different.
Creative hobbies like collecting help clear the mind of everyday cares and bring a sense of perspective to life. Scented-leaf pelargoniums have hybridised into hundreds of different fragrances, leaf shapes and flower colours. They’re easy to grow and collect, and leaves can be harvested for many home uses such as pot-pourri. Succulents like crassula, sempervivum, echeveria and sedums come in so many shapes, sizes and colours that it’s soon impossible to resist scouring garden centres for collecting just another one more. They’re also ideal for creating miniature landscaped gardens.
Living plants trap carbon dioxide to make the indoors healthier places to be and garden centres stock containers to match every decorating scheme. Windows are often good places for growing traditionally ‘outdoor’ plants and hanging baskets add vertical interest and save on surface space. Try mixed plantings like petunias with alyssum. Spacious, well-lit atrium areas are perfectly complemented with a large container and tall accent plant such as Cordyline banksii with its pink and purple striped leaves.