With so much flamboyant fynbos in the air, Life is a Garden has found a way for you to preserve this beauty forever. Pressed botanical collages are a timeless, elegant way to showcase your homegrown glory. Frame your stylish creations and hang them up in your home or office as organic art masterpieces for all to admire.
You will need:
- Frames with glass: You could use multiple smaller frames or go for one large artwork. Consider a sleek white or deep purple frame to compliment the more pastel colours of the preserved flowers.
- Backboard: This is what you will use to create your collage on. You can find thick cardboard in a variety of colours at your local stationery shop. Once again, a plain white or deep purple would work well for an overall sleek look, whereas bright greens or blue cardboard would give it more of a stylised feel.
- Clear-drying craft glue: Once all your plant pieces have dried, the glue will be used to stick them onto the cardboard sheet.
- Paper towels or fabric: These materials will be used on both sides of your flowers during pressing for protection and moisture abortion.
- Pressing materials: These could be big books or slabs of wood or bricks. Anything heavy will work well, provided you protect both sides of your flowers with a paper towel or fabric.
- Flowers: Fynbos works particularly well as their colour holds nicely and the added texture creates a more 3D look. Our top flower picks for pressing are:
- All fynbos and protea varieties
- Peony, roses, heliobore, Queen Anne’s lace, astilbe, seeded eucalyptus, dahlias, ranunculus, lavender, as well as peonies, roses, ranunculus, and hydrangea.
Top flower tip: Avoid using anthurium, orchids, lilies, plumeria, and succulents as they hold a lot of excess moisture, which makes them very challenging to preserve properly.
Did you know? Fynbos is not only reserved for botanical gardeners and coastal landscapes – you can grow our indigenous glory from your backyard, anywhere in SA! Life is a Garden sat down with industry experts to get the full scoop on how to successfully grow fynbos in both summer and winter rainfall regions. Hold on to your hats, we’re about to go on a fynbos frenzy!
How fresh is your fynbos knowledge?
The word fynbos comes from Old Dutch meaning ‘fine bush’. The word does not only refer to one plant but rather a specific group of vegetation that is known as Proteaceae. Fynbos also includes restio, pelargoniums, vygies, bulbs and selected annuals. Think of using the term fynbos much like we would say savanna or tropical forest.
For generations, scientists (including Charles Darwin) have been fascinated by this incredible plant species. Over millions of years, fynbos has expertly adapted to some of the harshest landscapes around Africa, resulting in the world’s most diverse plant habitat, even more than a tropical rainforest! The amazement doesn’t stop there, did you know that:
- There are more plant species on the 70-kilometre-long Cape Peninsula than in the whole of the British Isles.
- Table Mountain alone hosts as many plant species as the whole of the UK.
- The Western Cape is more botanically diverse than the richest tropical rainforest in South America (including the Amazon).
- Fire is essential for fynbos and needed to complete their life cycle (with frequency of the fire being a crucial component). The accumulated dead plant matter replenishes the soil while the intense heat triggers underground bulb growth.
- Fynbos-covered mountains are responsible for delivering 1/5 glasses of water in SA. Some of our country's wettest places are wild, soggy mountain tops covered in essential, gorgeous, rare proteas. Fynbos allows up to 80% of the rainwater to run off and fill our rivers and reservoirs.
Topic: Fynbos and friends
Theme: Biodiversity and fynbos beds/containers for winter rainfall regions
Industry Expert Garden Centre: Arnelia Nurseries - https://arnelia.co.za/
If you are a gardener living in a winter rainfall region – this Q and A with Arnelia Nurseries is your next must-read. Learn how to perfect your fynbos beds, utilise natural predators for pest control, successfully grow in containers, and find out which top plants are suited for your area.
1.Out of all our stunning South African plants, what makes fynbos stand out for you?
Fynbos generally is adaptable and with an understanding and appreciation of the basic growing requirements, one is assured of success and a great deal of pleasure. The variation in colours, foliage, heights, and the potential use of so many different varieties make fynbos in the garden a must-have.
2. We love the fact that your nursery specialises in Proteaceae varieties. Could you please tell us about the biodiversity benefits of growing these indigenous plants? What kind of wildlife visitors do you get the most of on your farm?
The Cape Floristic region is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world and Proteaceae are the flagship of the Cape Flora. I think getting people to grow these indigenous plants in their gardens allows them to bring a piece of the famous Cape Flora home and hopefully create more awareness of the wonderful biodiversity that exists on our doorstep. Beyond creating awareness, planting fynbos has the benefit of attracting indigenous wildlife. On our farm, we have a lot of sunbirds as there is always something in flower to keep them interested. It is really special to see. Growing these plants in the city creates a space for all the animals, birds and insects to flourish where they would usually have no habitat and stay hidden.
Like the calm before the cool, winter preparations are smooth sailing this month with Life is a Garden’s crisp April checklist. Gardening during the cooler months definitely has its own challenges, but also so many exciting flowers and veggies to look forward to. Did someone say spring bulbs already? Head over to your GCA Garden Centre and let’s plant right in!
Chillax with flowers
- Bulba-licious beauties: You can plant all spring-flowering bulbs now, hooray! Bulbs with fingers or claws, like ranunculi, should be planted with their fingers pointing downwards. Try plating small bulbs like anemone, leucojum, muscari, lachenalia, tritonia, and ranunculus, or larger bulbs such as hyacinth, freesia, and Dutch iris.
- Pretty and pleasing: April is the perfect time to buy and plant out pretty primula, poppy, pansy, and gazania seedlings.
- Indoor inspiration: Spathiphyllum, known also as Peace lily, is an easy-care, low-light houseplant with majestic, long-lasting white blooms.
- Colourful corners: Try planting a corner of ericas, restios, leucadendrons, and Proteas – they provide stunning autumn and winter colour.
- Balmy blooms: Plant cool-season annuals at the base of bare-stemmed bushes. Choose sun lovers like alyssum, calendulas, dwarf snapdragons, lobelias, Namaqualand daisies, phlox, and pansies.
- Bedding babe: Available in many bright hues, Cineraria enjoy moist soil in semi-shade beds.
- Pot of purple: Lavender is waiting to perk up your patio pots with an easy-going purple flush.
Feeding and frost
- Feed aloes and flowering succulents for a glorious winter show.
- If you’re living in a frost-prone area, be sure to purchase some frost protection from your GCA Garden Centre before winter arrives in full force.
- Continue feeding your evergreen cool-season lawn to ensure it remains lush during winter.
In the grow-zone
- Grow garlic bulbs, which you can purchase from your GCA Garden Centre. Pick a sunny spot with well-drained soil and plant the cloves about 15cm apart in drills of about 7cm deep.