Less is more EXPERT Q&A

July’s Topic: Sleek minimalism  
Theme: Less is more    
Industry Expert: Julie Scragg
Garden Centre: Hingham Nursery based in Durban North www.hinghamnursery.co.za 

Hingham Nursery is stocked with all your minimalistic gardening needs – from stylish plants to sleek décor accessories and planters. If you’re in the Durban North area, be sure to pay them a visit. You can access our nationwide GCA Garden Centre locator here to find your next award-winning shopping experience: https://www.lifeisagarden.co.za/category/garden-centres/

1. Please tell us how Hingham Nursery came to be and what inspired your personal gardening journey? 

Gardening and creativity is in our blood - from the rose that my great-great-grandmother brought here from England on board a ship in 1863, to my mother who started Higham Nursery from scratch, propagating all her own plants and laying out the nursery with inspiring landscape features.

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2. For our gardeners who are totally new to this style of gardening, please tell us what modern minimalistic landscaping/gardening is AND what makes it different/special to other styles of gardening? 

Here are some key points to consider:

- Simplicity is key

- Less is more

- Small plant palette with a lot of repetition

- Geometric shapes

- Clean lines

- Open spaces and large swathes of planting with dramatic accents.

 

Current trends in architecture and interior décor are uncluttered simplicity, with clean lines, open spaces and natural, contrasting and complimenting materials. The minimalist approach to gardening will support and enhance what has been started by the architect and interior decorator.

In a fast-paced world, minimalism calms the mind and works well for busy people who prefer not to have to make any more decisions than they have to.

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3. Please give us your top minimalistic gardening go-to practices. What’s your secret recipe for easily achieving this look? 

- Less is more so rather one big pot than 3 small ones.

- Contrasts bring interest. Look for contrasts in texture and colour, whether it be shades of green or just green with a pop of colour. Bold leaves contrasted against a fine textured plant such as Elephant’s toothpick (Sanseviera cylindrica) and Asparagus mazeppa, the bold lime green leaves of Elephant ear (Alocasia macrorrhiza) and the dark green clipped star Jasmine (Trachelosprmum) as a groundcover.

- Use a few large pavers rather than a sea of small ones.

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4. What are your top plant picks for the modern minimalistic garden? Please also tell us where they grow and if there are any maintenance practices gardeners should implement. 

- Philodendron Hope and Philodendron Xanadu are both equally striking when repeated in a long border. Sun or semi-shade. 

- Viburnum odoratissimum for a wall of green. Clip often from young to achieve many side shoots. Plant 5m per 2m to avoid gaps at the base later on. Contrast the large clipped green hedges with a swaying wild grass such as Aristida junciformis, which should be cut down when it falls over.

- Crassula ovata for sun to shade is a versatile indigenous succulent with a shiny green leaf that brings some class to a shaded area.

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5. For our balcony and patio gardeners, how can they achieve this look with limited space? Can you recommend which plants, accessories, and display techniques they should incorporate? 

Tall and straight-sided, narrow planters will not take up space but will make a statement. Choose a colour that will pick up a colour that has been repeated throughout the space, perhaps in the frames of furniture or windows. The planter will bring it all together as your eye focuses on everything in the picture that is the same colour. One or two large single pots with a large Ficus lyrata or Bamboo palm or aloe will be equally as nice as a row of upright narrow planters along a side wall.

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6. We love a mysterious and dramatic vibe, something a little unusual for our daring gardeners. As such, which unusual plants or exotic beauties would you recommend and with which containers or gardening accessories would you pair them with? 

The Euphorbia family has some striking members that will make a statement in the right setting and pot. Ghost euphorbia in a charcoal black pot against a concrete polished wall will create some drama. Euphorbia trigona, either the red or green versions also make magnificent potted features and can tolerate indoors.

Equally as fascinating is the Alocasia family. In recent months, a number of fascinating varieties have been introduced into the market. One giant upright elephant ear in a large contemporary planter will steal the spotlight while 3 leafy banana trees (Musa ensete – the edible banana) in 3 matching upright planters look fabulous in a row.

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7. Are there any other general handy hacks and minimalistic maintenance practices you could share with our gardeners? 

Shapes are important and therefore keeping your edges perfect is key. Install an edge to achieve this by cementing cobbles or other suitable concrete edging or using a treated metal edge.

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