Thriving Indoor Gardening

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June: Indoor winter maintenance and scale control 

 

Follow Life is a Garden’s indoor winter checklist for happy and healthy plants. As we enter the depths of winter, bringing the garden indoors adds a warming touch of greenery while much of the backyard goes into hibernation. If given the right growing conditions and care, your indoor plants will reward you with year-round living décor and joy. Watch out for scale! 

indoor, winter, plants, flowers, garden, life is a garden, greenery, pests, colourful, maintain, flower, colour
indoor, winter, plants, flowers, garden, life is a garden, greenery, pests, colourful, maintain, flower, colour

Indoor maintenance checklist 

  • Fertiliser: Indoor foliage plants go into semi-dormancy during the winter, so it is not necessary to fertilise them. However, winter is the growing season of spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and hyacinths and plants such as cineraria, cyclamen, poinsettias, chrysanthemum, and begonia. Feed these plants every two weeks with a liquid fertiliser and water every two to three days.
  • Light and air: Most houseplants require good, indirect light – not direct sunlight, particularly damaging is sunlight striking them through glass. The light should be balanced and if not, turn the plants once a week to prevent them from becoming lopsided. Do not place plants near south-facing windows (they will feel the chill rather badly in cold areas). A north-facing window screened by a net or voile curtain is a good position.
  • Temperature: Many indoor plants originate in the tropics and therefore prefer to be kept in warmer temperatures. In cold areas and rooms heated by heaters and fireplaces, the plants will need extra humidity to keep them happy. Plants should therefore be misted with tepid water regularly to counteract the effects of reduced humidity.
indoor, winter, plants, flowers, garden, life is a garden, greenery, pests, colourful, maintain, flower, colour
indoor, winter, plants, flowers, garden, life is a garden, greenery, pests, colourful, maintain, flower, colour
  • Water: Use tepid or lukewarm water. Your plants will be able to absorb the water easier and avoid sending them into a state of shock. Reduce the watering schedule of indoor foliage plants but never let them become bone dry. A dose of warm or lukewarm water every 10 days is quite sufficient for most indoor plants as they go into semi-dormancy during midwinter.

August in the Garden Checklist An extraordinary, rewarding August

With the great winds of change upon us, dare we say the smell of spring approaches! All your hard work this winter will soon pay off as August comes to reward the garden with extraordinary blooms in gorgeous hues for every mood. There’s one more month of cool-season stunners to enjoy with daisy bushes leading the pack. Make sure to tick off your maintenance checklist and begin prepping the lawn for September. Edibles are exciting in August too and there’s much to sow and munch on. Hold onto your hats and let’s glide right in!

 

Fulfilling flowers
Strikingly crazy for daisies

Colour blast your way through the wind and immerse outdoor beds in bold and brave daisy bushes. The vivid variety of daisy blooms will pop off brilliantly against the winter landscape and are simply stand out additions to the  garden. Daisies flourish in containers, beds, and borders that receive full sun. Bushes can be sown and/or planted in autumn for a vibrant August gust of colour. Here are seven striking inspirations:

  1. Cape daisy (Osteospermum): Indigenous and water-wise in deep shades of many magical colours to choose from, flowering from spring to autumn.
  2. Marguerite daisy (Argyranthemum): Blooms attract butterflies, available in pretty coloured hues for every mood that flower from spring to autumn. Single and double flowers available.
  3. English daisy (Bellis perennis): A fast grower and spreader with uniquely rounded red, white, and pink flowers, blooming in masses from winter to spring.
  • Golden daisy bush (Euryops chrysanthemoides): Compact and evergreen with bright golden-yellow blooms peaking from autumn to spring.
  • Livingstone daisy (Mesembryanthemum): Dark centres blend into radiant shades of pinks, purples, orange, yellow, and crimson. Flowering begins in August, peaking in September.
  • Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum): Cheerful and quick-spreading with robust all-white petals and a yellow centre.

July Checklist Gardening Checklist

July is all about colourful comforts in the garden and enjoying the hearty harvest winter has to offer. Keep your beds looking lush with a sensational selection of flowers available from your GCA Garden Centre. Don’t forget your July maintenance to help your garden stay in top shape and ready for the last cold stretch. Enjoy the journey with your landscape and take some time to appreciate the remarkable changes of Mother Nature.

 

Beat the winter blues
  • Surround yourself with colourful comforts available at nurseries now: primose, alyssum/lobularia, violas, pansies, verbena, Primula malacoides, Primula obconica, Primula acaulis, and ornamental kale.
  • Robust succulents: Aloe Hedgehog, aloe Ferrox, and aloe Speciosa.
  • Gems: Krantz aloe, Basuto kraal aloe, nandina, viburnum, camellia, holly and Elaeagnus.
  • Indoor babies: Move indoor plants to warmer parts of the house if needed. Also check that your plants are getting enough light.

A flying reminder: Help the birds out and ensure your birdbath and bird feeder is well-stocked. Food is scarce for the flyers during the winter months.

Everything edible
  • Garden centre treasures: Fig, olive, grape, cherry, peach, plum, and apple trees are available at GCA Garden Centres from July.
  • Harvest now: Horseradish, asparagus, celeriac, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and waterblommetjies.
  • Split & divide: Divide your asparagus and rhubarb now for a larger yield and remember to mulch well after transplanting.
  • Support: Stake broad beans and Brussels sprouts to give them more support and increase growth.
  • Feed: Remember to feed your winter veg seedlings with nutritious fertilisers and compost. Also, feed your spring bulbs and clivias now.
  • Mulch up: Much beds well to retain warmth and moisture.
  • Water down: Be careful of overwatering during winter every 3rd day should be sufficient.

Top tip: Use bird netting or frost cover sheets to deter birds while also allowing light and air into the veggie garden.

Get the look – Kid-friendly gardens Must Love Gardening

Dear gardener-parents. It’s time to unleash the big fun guns and get the kids away from those screens. We know it’s a challenging task BUT, Life is a Garden is here with some in-your-face, bold, bright ideas to create the ultimate kid-friendly, outdoor play place. Here’s your chance to create a garden that invites, inspires, and involves your kids.

 

The funky monkey jungle gym

Instead of a standard wooden jungle gym, get creative with something totally unique. There are several companies that can provide custom requests, so think about what your child would really enjoy. Perhaps they like to climb high, or swing on bars, maybe they like hiding spots, a cooking/experiment station, or perhaps they need a structure to just explore their gross-motor skills.

 

Cowboys and tepee’s

This idea is great for the bigger family and for when friends come over. It’s super easy to build a couple of tepees in the backyard from pole and plastic tarp/canvas.  Grab ready-made tepees and supplies to build your own from one of our GCA Garden Centres. Kids can decorate their own special tee-pee and add fun accessories. This structure can be used as an outdoor reading nook too.

 

Friends of the fairies

Engage fine-motor skills and imagination with a little fairy garden filled with lovely magical goodies. Take the kids on an outing to your GCA Garden Centre and let them choose a couple of fairy friends. Try use the fairy garden as more of an organic outdoor dollhouse that’s functional to play with/in, rather than purely ornamental. Secretly hide a few friends and let them hunt for the missing bounty!

Everyday beach day

Reinvent the standard sandpit! Get the kids excited about outside by introducing something like a pretend beach day for all the inland children. Dig a decent sized hole, layer with plastic sheeting, and then fill with soft beach sand.

Urban gardening on your balcony Balcony Gardening

An urban escape on your stoep
Life is a Garden – Balcony Gardening

We know that many of our gardeners have green fingers longer than their balconies can accommodate. That’s why Life is a Garden has made November all about our city living gardeners out there. You can still make your patio pop, indulge your gardening cravings, and escape the city from your stoep, here’s how:

Life is a Garden – Balcony Gardening
Consider your style and space

Before diving in, there are a few things to consider: What do you use your balcony for the most? Are you more of a lock-up-and-go or do you have some time to spend on maintaining your balcony greens? Does your space get full, partial, or no sun at all? How would you like your dream balcony to present you and your personal flavour? The answers to these questions can really help you conceptualise your space to make it practical for your lifestyle. Now that that’s sorted, let’s get your urban oasis going!

An urban escape on your stoep
Let there be light and life

Any balcony easily comes to life with a little light! Your local GCA Garden Centre has a lovely variety of solar lights you can add to the space. Try draping some LED fairy lights from your railing with a few scattered lanterns in between your new pot plants, or perhaps hanging from a beam or two. Speaking of pots, container gardening is all the rage, especially edible ones! Using different sized pots in your balcony garden adds height and variety to the space, while also giving you an opportunity to play with different styles. You could upcycle a sweet teapot into a planter with your favourite tea time herb, or get the kids to decorate some cans and transform them into pot plants for a lovely homely feel.

Zen your den

Ditch the cold concrete and cover your stoep with some lovely faux grass. Available at your favourite GCA Garden Centre, there are a variety of soft and luscious faux grasses to choose from, and the fab thing is that you never have to cut or water it!

Get the look – Food for Thought Must Love Gardening

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This gorgeous edible garden makes you think twice about traditional row sowing. Why not create a stylish veggie garden that serves not only as a functional food source but also as a relaxing chill space where you can share and enjoy your edibles with friends.  The best part is that you too can easily get the look, here’s how.

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  • Vertical landscaping elements, such as the gazebo, provides that homely outdoor room feel. With a comfy bench, this can become a favourite spot to sit and relax. The gazebo also offers the ideal structure to grow a climbing rose. The wooden tee-pees also add to the vertical element and will be very useful for many climbing plants. You could use any other pillar or frame you like to achieve some height in the space. . In this garden, the tall Tuscan rosemary has been used to fill the tee-pees and is a refreshing new twist to sculptured gardening. Beans, peas, tomatoes and many more edibles would also work wonderfully.
  • The different levels in the design offer a clever way of making any space look larger and more interesting.
  • The strong blue colour on the back wall is very dramatic and contrasts with the lime coloured gazebo and tee-pees. It also shows up the plants in the garden, especially the architecturally shaped grey-leaved artichokes in the bed against the wall. The blue flowering plants connect with the wall while the patches of yellow and gold pop brightly. The pink chandelier and cushion are striking and draw the eye to the seating area.

Tip: Repetition is a strong design principle that is often overlooked. Notice how the tin and terracotta pots are repeated amongst the wooden planters. This repetition throughout the design helps to enhance the overall look.

 

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Get the look with some of the edible plants in this landscape that you may or may not have tried:

  • Did you know that roses are closely related to apples, apricots, pears and peaches?

Get the look – A Mexican Fiesta Must Love Gardening

Life is a Garden
Life is a Garden

Olá me amigos! This month, our inspiration stems from Mexico and their vibrant, easy-go-lucky flavour. Come salsa with us and spice up your garden by planting a colourful burst of summer fun. This water-wise garden is low maintenance and bold in its simplicity. Get your friends together for sundowners and welcome the sizzling summer vibes and braais to your backyard.

Life is a Garden
Life is a Garden

Weave a tapestry of delight with a vivid variety of plant combinations. It’s easy to highlight a medley of succulents accompanied by a diverse range of one-drop plants. These are low water requirement plants that will save your wallet and add rich textures to your space. We love the silvery shards of Blue Chalksticks (Senecio ficoides) - a spreading succulent shrub. It’s proudly South African and will thrive quickly in well-drained soil in a sunny area. Contrast these bluish grey-green patches with the robust burgundy of the Bushveld Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe sexangularis) and you have a striking mix of red and blue. These guys are not thirsty so let the soil dry completely before watering. They are hardy and will forgive even the most absent-minded gardener. Their name derives from the Chinese Kalan Chauhuy meaning ‘that which falls and grows’, so yes, they will survive! These water-wise companions take low maintenance to the next level.

 

Life is a Garden
Life is a Garden

The show-grabber is undoubtedly the Foxtail Agave (Agave attenuata) all the way from Mexico. Invite these amigos into your space to create spectacular visual focal points. They grow up to 1,2 m tall and will add height to the layout. Unlike other agaves, they won’t bite. With no thorns or spikes, they are referred to as unarmed. This makes them a friendly addition to any family. You can accentuate their sleek and stylish appearance even more by planting them in decorative pots.