Posts Tagged ‘ flowers ’

The Aloe Farm Agapanthus Festival

Posted on: October 23rd, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi

Come see some of the best Agapanthus in the world, award-winning varieties bred at The ALOE FARM and amazing prices on may varieties.
The full festival runs from the 23 October to 13 November 2022

Marktfees Botanics

Posted on: September 23rd, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi

Marktfees is hosting a BOTANICS market aimed at the home gardener, the avid plant collector, and everyone who shares a desire for botanical inspiration in all its dynamic facets. From botanical décor, houseplants, specimen plants, gins, teas and beer to name a few, join us for the first of its kind market for Port Elizabeth.

Orchid Festival

Posted on: July 30th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi

Celebrating Citrus Landscaping and decorating with citrus

Posted on: July 18th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
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Topic: Celebrating Citrus
Theme:
Landscaping and decorating with citrus
Industry Expert:
Dane Montana
Garden Centre:
Montana Nurseries - https://www.montananurseries.co.za/

 

If you are looking to begin a citrus growing journey, come and learn some trade secrets, exclusively shared by our industry expert, Dane from Montana Nurseries. Incorporating these vibrant and versatile fruit trees as part of your landscaping design is easier than you may think. Check out Dane’s recommendations for which trees to grow in your province and get the best head start on your juicy journey.

1. What made you first fall in love with citrus growing? Why are citrus trees so special?

My dad, Alan Ross, started Montana Nurseries and began growing and farming citrus trees in our nursery. I have grown up with citrus and have always loved the variety of lemons, oranges, naartjies, and limes. Citrus trees are very rewarding and there’s always something happening, whether it be a new flush of sweet flowers or delicious fruit.

 

2. What are some of the reasons why gardeners should be growing citrus at home? Are there any benefits/advantages?

The main benefit is their juicy produce that’s loaded with vitamins. Citrus can be eaten as is or used in cooking or oils. The leaves of some varieties, such as the Thai lime, are used to create many fragrant and zesty dishes. The flowers are wonderfully scented too.

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3. Besides utilising citrus trees for their produce, how could gardeners incorporate trees as part of their backyard landscaping design?

Citrus trees make great feature plants, either in the ground or in containers. There is a wide variety of cultivars with different coloured leaves, flowers and fruit. The ornamental types such as calamondins and chinotto are more of a shrub, whereas the commercial types such as lemon eureka and navels grow more like trees. Citrus also make great container plants. Pots should be about twice the size of the container it was bought in.

 

4. What are some of the most common pests and how can gardeners protect and treat their trees?

The three most common citrus pests are thrips, mealybug, and citrus psylla. Regular monitoring of new flush for any type of insect damage will be the best for early detection and treatment. Treat with the correct registered pesticide, available at your local garden centre.

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5. Are there any general citrus hacks that you could share with a beginner citrus grower?

Do not overwater your plants. Overwatering is the biggest killer of citrus. At the end of winter, hold back water as much as possible. This will cause plants to stress and produce more flowers, resulting in more fruit.

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6. Are there any citrus trees that grow particularly well in certain regions compared to others?

Northern Cape: Grapefruits

Eastern Cape: Lemons, oranges, and naartjies

Western Cape: Naartjies

Mpumalanga: Oranges, lemons, and naartjies

North West: Lemons and naartjies

Gauteng: Lemons and oranges

Limpopo: Lemons, oranges, and naartjies

KwaZulu Natal: Limes, lemons, and oranges

 

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7. Do you have any advice on what to do with excess produce?

Excess produce can be used in preserves or for oils. In the garden, fruit can be added to the compost heap but it is recommended to cut up the fruit before doing so, to prevent secondary infestations of insects such as fruit flies, fungus, and citrus black spot. Citrus does not harm worms in a worm farm but does not get eaten very quickly. Spoiled or excess fruit should not be used as a mulch and should be chopped up or shredded when added to a compost heap.

 

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There you have it, citrus gardeners! Enjoy an outing with the family to one of our quality approved GCA Garden Centres where you can find trees, compost, fertilisers, and pest control solutions that have been specially formulated for your new fruitful babies. Remember to grab some compost starter and accelerator to ensure the necessary biology is all set and ready to receive your citrus leftovers.

 

SANA’s 2022 Garden Centre winners! SA’s Best Garden Centres for 2022

Posted on: July 8th, 2022 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

South Africa’s Nursery Association (SANA) hosts an annual GCA Garden Centre competition to present to you, dear gardeners, the cream of the crop! Garden centres and home store garden departments are measured against a set of criteria aimed at assessing and improving product standards and professional service in the industry. Here are the best garden centres in SA! Did your favourite make it?

Stodels Nurseries Bellville – Garden Centre of the year 

 

Address: Eversdale Rd, Bellville 

 

From humble beginnings, Stodels Garden Centres have developed into a household name in gardening in the Western Cape. From the outset, Stodels Garden Centres focused on providing their customers with excellent service, top quality products and affordable prices. Fifty years later, the trio of service, quality and affordability has built a respected and much-loved brand. 

 

Originating from a mail order catalogue and door to door sales, the Stodels brand has grown to its current complement of seven award-winning garden centres today, two of which are based in Gauteng. The company was started by Mr Robert Stodel, in August 1962, when he started selling flower bulbs door to door and from the Parade in Cape Town. A mail order bulb catalogue soon followed and within a few years, Stodels Flower Bulbs became the biggest flower bulb retailer in South Africa, posting nearly 600 000 bulb catalogues to Cape households and importing up to 20 million bulbs from Holland every year.

 

 

Find out more: https://www.lifeisagarden.co.za/stodels-bellville/   

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Garden Pavilion Eckards – Runner up 

 

Address: 101 Boeing Rd East, Bedfordview, Germiston 

 

Eckards is a well-established garden centre that received a new lease on life in 1993. Along the way it became a Garden Pavilion and has continued to move with the times, maintaining a traditional feel with modern influences. Eckards prides itself on a high level of service, quality plants and helping gardeners and growers alike. Having maintained a gold grading status for several years, Eckards consistently features on the GCA top ten garden centres in SA list.

 

The multiple award-winning team, which include a number of qualified horticulturalists, are dedicated and truly passionate about gardening and has made Eckards what it is today. The owner, Wayne Stewart, drives the team with great passion. Eckards offers everything you need for a beautiful garden and more.

 

 

Find out more: https://www.lifeisagarden.co.za/eckards-garden-pavilion-bedfordview-gauteng/  

 

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Plantland Menlyn – 2nd Runner up 

 

Address: Corner of January Masilela & Atterbury Drive, Fearie Glen, Pretoria. 

 

When you enter one of Plantland’s four branches in Pretoria for the first time, you’d easily mistake their family-owned Garden Centre for the Garden of Eden. Jimie Malan is the fourth generation to manage the nurseries. Plantland stemmed from Malanseuns Pleasure Plants (Plant Growers & Distributors), which started out as a fruit producing farm more than 100 years ago in the North of Pretoria. 

 

For pots and plants of all colours and sizes, statues stretching from the classic roman collection to contemporary styles, as well as goodies for all your wildlife creatures – Plantland awaits you. The sheer beauty of their colourful, breath-taking displays contain all the inspiration you need to transform your home and garden. 

 

Find out more: https://www.lifeisagarden.co.za/plantland-menlyn-gauteng/  

 

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Home Store of the year: Builders Warehouse Port Elizabeth 

 

Address: Access Park, Cnr Buffelsfontein Rd and 17th Ave, Walmer 

 

Builder’s Warehouse Port Elizabeth continuously aspires to “make this nursery the best in the country”. This was the vision of then CEO Joe Owens in 2006 when Builders Warehouse Port Elizabeth first opened its doors and it remains the store’s vision today. Builders is a leader in home improvement and building materials with complete project solutions. This leading Garden Centre has walked away with the trophy for Best Home Store Garden Department for the 15th consecutive year. 

 

While the team on the floor, led by department Manager Michelle Meyer, is responsible for delivering the exceptional customer experience that earned them the SANA award, they would not have been successful if they did not receive the support and encouragement from their sales manager Lara Maritz and the head office team members Johanita Corbett and Fiona Delport. Their suppliers also provide tremendous support which keeps them motivated and driven to be the best. 

 

Find out more: https://www.lifeisagarden.co.za/builders-warehouse-port-elizabeth-eastern-cape/  

 

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Congratulations to all Garden Centres of Excellence for making sure that South Africa continues to have some of the best garden centres in the world! To find your local GCA Garden Centre, click here. Stay up to date with all your garden care and inspiration by joining the conversation on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/lifeisagardensa. 

 

Superstar Seedlings Dig into winter

Posted on: June 28th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
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There is no need for winter blues with so much life in the garden this month. With the right plants and products, you can grow food and blooms to your heart’s (and dinner plate’s) content. Let’s dig in and make the cold a little more colourful and crunchy with pre-spring seed sowing, germination hacks, and superstar seedlings!

 

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Know your lingo 

Before we get elbow deep in dirt, it is important to know the difference between sowing, germination, and seedlings. Sowing is planting a seed from a seed packet, while germination is the process of that seed developing. A seedling is a baby plant that has already been sown and successfully germinated.

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Spring seed sowing 

What you choose to sow now will have germinated into young seedlings for springtime. We recommend that you begin the seed germination process indoors and then transplant the young seedlings into beds or larger containers later once the weather is warmer and frost has passed. Sowing according to your region is another important factor in ensuring the success of your seeds.

Gauteng: Edibles such as peas and potatoes, as well as pansy, viola, and primula flowers.

KwaZulu Natal: Edibles such as radish and turnips, as well as cineraria and Iceland poppy flowers. 

Western Cape: Edibles such as beetroot and tomatoes, as well as alyssum and cleome salvia flowers.

 

Top compost tip: Keep your tea bags, grounded coffee beans, and eggshells to use as DIY compost for all your winter plants. 


 

 

 

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A germination station 

There’s nothing worse than sowing a seed that never makes it to meet the sun. Avoid the disappointment and begin an indoor germination station! This is a highly rewarding and educational activity for the whole family to become part of.  We recommended starting off near a sunny window or on the patio or balcony, just remember to bring your babies in at night and move them away from any glass that can get rather icy at sundown. Here are some more germination hacks: 

  1. Soil: Use standard seedling trays filled with a specially formulated germination mix, designed to trap and hold moisture and nutrients for all new seeds. This mix is usually a combination of compost, coco-peat, vermiculite, perlite, kraal manure, and other essential goodies. 
  2. Sprinkle: You can use shallow rectangular containers filled with germination mix for those really tiny seeds. Premix your seeds with a little bit of the soil and then sprinkle and scatter the seed-soil mix around the container. 
  3. Moisture: For larger seeds, begin germination inside a moist cottonwool sandwich. This method is an old favourite for kids as they can lift up the cottonwool and enjoy sneak peeks of the seed’s progress. After a few days, the seed will be ready to be moved to a seedling tray. 

Did you know? Some seeds like green peas can be easily sprouted by soaking them in water for a few hours. Once they start looking like cute little tadpoles, you can simply transfer them to prepared seedling treys for further growth

 

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In the seedling hot seat

Your local nursery is fully stocked with cool-season seedlings that you can grow at home. Consider your lifestyle and determine whether beds or containers would suit you best. Larger edibles are best for the ground, while smaller veggies and herbs work well in containers on the stoep where kids can easily get involved. Seasonal flowers add a bang of colour to barren borders and beds, especially when planted in between winter-dormant plants. Always remember to check the sun requirements of your new seedlings to help you decide where to plant them. 

Edibles: Asparagus, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, peas, chillies, and eggplant. 

Colour: Verbena, alyssum, geraniums, larkspur, petunias, and dianthus.

Fast growers: Peas and calendulas. 

 

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Grow-on gloriously  

Maximize your harvest and get the brightest show from your flowers by using the correct soil mixes and fertilisers. Ask for help from knowledgeable staff members at your local nursery who will be able to recommend the best products for your chosen plants. Once you have purchased a few seedling trays (with the necessary soil mix and food), follow these tips for successful growing. 

The difference of good dirt: You can either transplant seedlings directly into prepared beds and containers, or into halfway house containers for replanting later, depending on what type of plants they are (edibles or decoration) and where their final growing place will be. In general, the prepared soil environment should be nice and loose with a combination of potting soil, compost, and a slow-release fertiliser worked in. 

Feeding is fabulous: Plants need to be fed during their growing season, during which they absorb the most amount of nutrients from the soil. Edible and flower specific fertilisers are available at your garden centres. Read the packaging of your chosen plant feed to determine how much to use and how often to apply. 

Top tip: Transplant all new seedlings around mid-morning and water well. This will allow plants to utilise the water while they are most active during the day, while also reducing the chance of frostbite.

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Lemonade super-boost juice July DIY

Posted on: June 26th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
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With so much citrus in season now, you may be looking for some inspiration on what to do with your harvest. Life is a Garden invites you to get seriously super with your lemons this July and juice up a nutritious storm in your kitchen. Re-invent the lemonade with this zesty booster juice DIY. 

Lemonade super-boost juice recipe

Aren’t we lucky to have Mother Nature on our side as we enter the last stretch of winter! Your lemon harvest, herbs, and spices are talking – do you know what they say?

Ingredients

- 2x peeled lemons for a flush of Vitamin C and multiple essential minerals and plant proteins

- Half a finger of fresh, peeled ginger for respiratory system clearing and protection

- 1x celery stalk for detoxification and opening of the toxin release pathways of the body

- Half a teaspoon of raw, organic turmeric to reduce inflammation 

- A quarter cucumber for rehydration and cholesterol-lowering properties

- A handful of parsley as a systemic anti-fungal and gland health ally

- 2x tablespoons of raw honey for holistic antibacterial support (place your honey in lukewarm water before juicing to ensure it will dissolve well inside your juice)

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Method

There is a difference between a smoothie and a juice: a smoothie contains all the pulp and fibres of the chosen ingredients whereas a juice contains only the liquid gold. You can use the recipe above as a smoothie if you’re looking for something more meal-like, or you can extract the liquid from the ingredients as a potent super shot or juice for the family. Juices are generally gentler on the digestive system as the absence of plant fibres allows for easier absorption of all the goodness. 

Option 1: Nut milk bag

A bit of effort will go a long way when using a hand-operated nut milk bag, which you can purchase at almost any health store. Simply place each solid ingredient inside the bag and squeeze the juice out into a large bowl. The result will be a velvet, smooth elixir that may well blow your mind. Stir in your honey and turmeric after all the solids have been pressed. 

 

Top tip: Use the leftover fibres and pulp for the ingredients as an elixir for your compost heap – it’s a boost juice win for the garden too! 

 

- Option 2: Juicer appliance 

The advantage of using a juicer is that you don’t have to get your hands as involved as with a nut bag, however, you may also lose a bit of the goodness along the way. As such, we recommend using a bit more of each ingredient to compensate. There are a variety of juicers on the market, just be sure to choose one that separates the liquidfrom the pulp. 

 

Follow the instructions on how to feed your ingredients into your chosen juicer and then stir in your turmeric and warmed up honey afterwards. Enjoy the lip-smacking sensation and a surge of revitalised energy that will soar through your body. 

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Try this: Freeze your harvest

Squeeze your citrus into a bowl, ensuring you have a nice clear liquid-sunshine consistency. Then, pour your happiness into ice trays and pop them into the freezer for later. Enjoy your frozen fruit cubes in a drink or pop them into the blender for a refreshing crusher. Top it all off with some fresh herbs from the garden and perhaps a little sweetener for the kids or a dash of gin for the grown-ups. 

 

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Top tip: Visit your GCA Garden Centre to see which other fresh herbs are in stock now. Purchase a seedling tray to harvest from and then transplant them into cute containers to use as a kitchen windowsill garden. 

 

When this one body is all we’ve got, let’s make lemonade to boost it good! Enjoy this flavour adventure and send your taste buds into salivation haven. Life is a Garden, and we need our health to tend to it. 

 

The Secret To Citrus Success Botanical Boss

Posted on: June 26th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
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If you are reading this, somewhere inside you there is a special place that longs to uncover the secrets of the mighty citrus. Life is a Garden invites you on a juicy journey to the epicentre of this stunning fruit. Learn about ornamental varieties, decorating, utilising leftovers, citrus for your province, and gossip-worthy growing hacks. Let’s go! 

 

What’s so great about growing your own? 

  • Health wealth: The high quantity of Vitamin C boosts the immune system and keeps skin smooth and elastic. Citrus are also loaded with B vitamins, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, and copper. Tending to your trees is a super stress reliver and a chance to get active in the sunshine. 
  • Year-round food: Growing a variety of cultivars that fruit at different times of the year allow you to spread out and extend your harvest window. With the right cultivars and planning, you can grow citrus almost all year round! 
  • Organic & eco-friendly: Growing your own has the added benefit of product control. If organic produce and eco-friendly growing is top on your list, a citrus plantation is definitely for you. 
  • More money, more C power: Most citrus trees begin producing fruit even as adolescent plants. Once established, their large yields will save your family and the community a significant amount of money, while also providing possible forms of income, depending on what you choose to do with your harvest (resell or jam making, for example).  

 

Garden jargon check: The word ‘cultivar’ refers to a plant within that specie that has been specifically developed through controlled plant breeding. A citrus cultivar is therefor a specifically bred variation of this plant ‘created’ to deliver a special purpose, such as to produce more fruit or grow smaller. 

 

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Ornamentals on the patio

These sweet trees are the ideal patio décor asset! As long as they receive good direct sunlight throughout the day with correct feeding, watering, and soil – you can’t go wrong (maintenance hacks shared below). Add a pop of colour to your patio or show off your topiary skills with some funky pruning designs (read more about pruning styles in our Tiptop Topiary article here: https://www.lifeisagarden.co.za/topiary/). Citrus can also be espaliered along a wall or fence to hide or screen and area.

Top tip: Avoid using fertiliser for trees in containers as this may well burn or kill your plants.

Claim to fame: Masses of white, pungently citrus-fragranced flowers that develop into cute little orange fruit throughout most of the year. These three lovelies have a compact, bush-like growth habit, making them simply perfect additions for container planting and small space gardening. 

A handy hack: When transplanting your tree into it’s forever home, pick a container that is twice the size of the one you purchased it in, 

 

Garden jargon check: Ornamental plants are those which are specifically grown for their beauty factor, and not for their by-products, for example. Ornamental citrus trees are bread and grown for their unique decorative qualities, such as scented flowers or extra bright fruit. 

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Suited citrus for your province 

Northern Cape: Grapefruits

Eastern Cape: Lemons, oranges, and naartjies

Western Cape: Naartjies

Mpumalanga: Oranges, lemons, and naartjies

North West: Lemons and naartjies

Gauteng: Lemons and oranges

Limpopo: Lemons, oranges, and naartjies

KwaZulu Natal: Limes, lemons, and oranges

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Love your leftovers 

To successfully utilise your leftover citrus, check out these zesty tips:  

  • Never add whole fruit to your compost. Cut up any fruit before adding it to the heap to prevent a secondary infestation of pesky pests such as fruit flies, fungus, and citrus black spot.
  • Avoid using spoiled fruit as mulch – this will also attract unwanted insects. 
  • Citrus will not harm your worms in the worm farm, they just take a long time to be eaten. 
  • Experiment with making oils and preserves to share with your family and the community. Why not donate some of your harvest to those in need who can either fill their own tummies or their corner spaza shop, which in turn will fill even more tummies! 

 

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Gossip-worthy growing hacks

We’ve consulted our industry experts and they’ve shared these awesome trade secrets with us:

  • Overwatering is the biggest citrus killer. At the end of winter, restrict watering as much as possible, which will cause plants to stress and produce more flowers, resulting in more fruit for the next season. 
  • Pick the flowers off your tree for the first year or two. This will allow the plant to put its energy into becoming a bigger and stronger tree with larger crops in the years that follow.
  • Always remember to plant your citrus tree at the same level as it was planted in the nursery container. 
  • Drainage is also very important. Make sure that all trees (in the ground or containers) have well-draining soil. If planting in the open ground, avoid soils that have a high clay content in them. Citrus trees can suffer from root diseases, and this is normally brought on by a combination of overwatering and poor drainage. Before potting your citrus, add a layer of coarse gravel or rock to the bottom of the container to prevent the holes from clogging up.
  • On older trees, thin out the old branches in the centre of the tree. This will help bring in light and air movement to the inner part of the tree.
  • Feed your citrus with a balanced fertiliser every month from August to November (available at your GCA Garden Centre).

 

Grab a ready-to-go tree: Lemon eureka and lemon navels are just two top citrus trees that you can find at Montana Nurseries. The friendly staff will help you choose the right container, soil, and fertiliser for your new citrus – it’s go on and grow from there! 

 

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Pest alert

Your GCA Garden Centre has both chemical and eco-friendly pest control products to choose from. If you are unsure about which insect is causing the infection, take a close up photo of your plant and show it to your knowledgeable nursery staff member. The chances are that of these are the culprit: 

  • Red spider mite
  • Leaf miner
  • Scale 
  • Psylla 
  • Mealybug

 

With so much information at your green fingertips, we hope that your citrus adventure brings you so much joy and lots of juice! Join our seasonal gardening group on Facebook and share your progress and challenges with other citrus enthusiast: https://www.facebook.com/groups/lifeisagarden.co.za 

 

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Landscaping and decorating with citrus INDUSTRY EXPERT Q&A

Posted on: June 1st, 2022 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments
citrus, bonsai, life is a garden, citrus bonsai, green, flowers, plants, greenery, July, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, naartijies, mini citrus, winter, delicious, healthy, juice, cooking

Topic: Citrus
Theme: Mini citrus trees for the patio
Industry Expert: David Seewald
Garden Centre/Grower: Heuers - www.heuers.co.za 

Are you ready to be inspired and educated? Our Life is a Garden readers are in for a zesty treat this month! David from Heuers Nursery has juiced out the full scoop on everything you need to know about growing a citrus tree on your patio. Check out his dwarf recommendations, maintenance hacks, grow guide, and personal journey with these special fruits.

1. What made you first fall in love with citrus growing? Why are citrus trees so special?

I always had an interest in citrus from since I joined the family business. In early 2017 I had a chance to visit some citrus growers in the Cape region and that’s when I decided to actively pursue my dream of growing citrus. In 2019 I had the good fortune to visit the top grower of dwarf citrus in the world. This opened my eyes to what could be done with citrus trees grown on a dwarfing rootstock.

What makes citrus trees so special is the wide range of citrus fruits. They each have their own flavour characteristics and uses, be it in the garden or the commercial sector. Citrus trees are also special because they have a global appeal and are grown almost everywhere.

2. What are some of the reasons why gardeners should be growing citrus at home? Are there any benefits/advantages?
Besides the satisfaction of growing and harvesting citrus from your own trees, there are other benefits related to growing your own citrus namely:

- Citrus fruit has many health benefits and is filled with vitamins, minerals, and essential fibre.

- You have control over which method of pest control to use on your trees. Many people have concerns around chemicals being used on the fruit they buy.

- There are several good quality eco-friendly pesticides on the market and they are readily available at your local garden centre.

- Growing your own fruit is super cost-effective. Even from a young age, your tree can produce some fruit. Once it is established you will be rewarded with a bountiful crop for you and your family to enjoy.

- You can also grow different cultivars that fruit at different times of the year to extend and spread out your harvest window.

- Gardening overall is good for your physical and mental well being and is a great stress reliever.

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3. Besides utilising citrus trees for their produce, how could gardeners incorporate trees as part of their patio décor?

Citrus make beautiful ornamental trees in the garden and on the patio. They can be espaliered along a wall or fence to hide or screen and area. They can also be pruned into a lollipop shape in a pot or the open ground. The two best known ornamental citrus varieties are the Calamondin and the Kumquat. What makes these varieties attractive are the masses of white citrus-scented flowers, which develop into small orange round fruit that can be found almost throughout the year on the tree. Their small and compact growth habit makes them ideal for the patio or small garden.

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4. Is there a difference between a mini (or dwarf) citrus tree and a citrus bonsai?

Yes, there is. Bonsai is the art of growing a miniature tree by restricting the growth of a normal-sized tree through pruning and training techniques. In dwarf citrus, a rootstock is selected which has dwarfing characteristics. These characteristics get passed onto the cultivar, which you graft onto it. The benefit of growing dwarf citrus is that you have a smaller tree that bears the same size fruit as a standard citrus tree. This allows people with limited space to grow citrus.

5. How would gardeners go about growing a mini citrus tree? Could you please guide us through the process and advise on which citrus are best suited?

Growing a mini or dwarf citrus tree requires the scion (bud) of the tree you want to produce to be grafted onto a dwarfing rootstock. Once the graft union has taken, the dwarf citrus tree can be treated like any normal citrus. The only difference will be the growth habit of the tree. Dwarf citrus trees will grow to roughly half the size of a standard citrus tree, depending on the cultivar. The same rules apply for growing dwarf citrus as for normal citrus.
These being:

- Do not overwater your trees. Monitor your watering with the weather. Water less when it is cool or wet and water more when it is dry and hot.

- Do regular checks on your citrus trees for pests.

- Cut away any growth below the graft union (joint).

- Prune your tree to keep it in the desired shape. On older trees, you can thin out the old branches in the centre of the tree. This will help bring in light and air movement to the inner part of the tree.

- Feed with a balanced fertiliser every month from August to November.

- If growing in a container, be sure to check that the container has adequate drainage holes at its base. Also, use a good quality, well-drained potting soil. Before potting your citrus, add a layer of coarse gravel or rock to the bottom of the container to prevent the holes from clogging up.

Most citrus varieties are compatible with the dwarfing rootstock. However, the Eureka lemon is not compatible, but fortunately you can choose from the other varieties of lemons such as:

- Lisbon
- Rough skin
- Meyer

For the moment, there are no dwarf citrus trees being produced on any large scale for the retail market in South Africa.However, we at Heuers Nursery will be releasing our range of dwarf citrus to the market in the next year.

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6. What are some of the most common pests and how can gardeners protect and treat their trees?
The most common pests we see on citrus are the following:

- Red spider mite
- Leaf miner
- Scale
- Psylla
- Mealybug

Fortunately, there are several chemical and biological products on the market that can protect and treat your trees. Visit your local garden centre for guidance on which products to use.

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7. Are there any general citrus hacks that you could share with a beginner citrus grower?

If you have the patience, pick the flowers off the tree for the first year or two. This will allow the plant to put its energy into becoming a bigger and stronger tree with bigger crops in the years that follow. Always remember to plant your citrus tree at the same level as it was planted in the nursery container. Drainage is also very important. Make sure that all trees (in the ground or containers) have well-draining soil. If planting in the open ground, avoid soils that have a high clay content in them. Citrus trees can suffer from root diseases, and this is normally brought on by a combination of overwatering and poor drainage.

Enjoy your fruitful journey and patio decorating with these bold edibles. Remember that citrus trees prefer subtropical climates and grow well in areas where there is no heavy frost or extreme cold. Dash down to your local garden centre for advice on which trees will flourish in your area.

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Thriving Indoor Gardening

Posted on: May 17th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
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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! 

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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.
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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.
  • Cleaning: Throughout the year, indoor plants collect dust which can block the leaf pores, hindering photosynthesis and transpiration. Make sure that dust is removed from the top and bottom of leaves. For small indoor plants, put them in a bath or shower and give them a gentle spray of lukewarm water. For larger plants, a warm wet cloth will do the job.

Did you know? Leaf shining products are available from our GCA Garden Centres to help protect your plants from dust and keep leaves looking their best. 

  • Repotting: June is also the time to assess whether your plants need a larger container. Are roots growing out of the base of the pot? Are the new leaves on the plant smaller than the existing leaves? Does the plant dry out quickly? If the answer is yes, yes, yes – your plant needs a larger home.

Pest control: Scale alert 

 

  • Identification: Very small tan or brown oval insects with a hard shell that infect the stems and undersides of the leaves of indoor plants. They are sap-sucking and can eventually ruin a plant. The secretions of heavy infestations can lead to sooty mould and black fungus. The best way to curb scale attacks is to keep your plants clean from dust, in a humid atmosphere, and in optimal health,
  • Symptoms: The appearance of raised bumps on leaves and stems. Leaves may also be covered in a sticky substance. Because these insects suck the sap of plants, heavier infestations can cause yellowing of leaves, stunted growth and even dieback of the plant. If left untreated, the yellowing and dieback of the plant will increase, meaning the plant will be sapped of all its nutrients and will eventually die off completely.
  • Suggested Action: Infested plants can also affect other healthy plants near them. Keep affected plants separate from healthy ones. Remove and dispose of any infested branches, twigs, and leaves (do not put these on the compost heap – throw them in the bin or burn them). Where scale colonies on plants are not so large, they can be picked off by hand. Dabbing individual pests with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab will also work when infestations are light. In cases of larger scale colonies, treat with a systemic insecticide.
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indoor, winter, plants, flowers, garden, life is a garden, greenery, pests, colourful, maintain, flower, colour

Instant indoor colour 

If you would like to add some instant colour to your home, choose from the wide range of stunning indoor plants available now at GCA Garden Centres. Try African violet, begonia, cyclamen, peace lily, calceolaria, kalanchoe, cymbidium orchids, chrysanthemums, cineraria, and primula acaulis.

 

Make the most of winter indoors and always remember to grow on! Visit your GCA Garden Centre for a gorgeous variety of pot plants, fertilisers, and pest control solutions. If you are unsure about products or which plants to choose, ask the friendly staff for assistance – they’re there for you! 

Walls Of Life Indoor Plants

Posted on: May 17th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
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Theme: Indoor Plants

 Topic: Living walls

 Industry Expert: Ronnie van Voorst

 Garden Centre: Impala Nursery

Find out what our industry expert, Ronnie from Impala Nursery, has to say about growing a flourishing living wall for your home, office, or school. Whether you are interested in unique art, employee wellness, environmentalism, or space-saving – vertical gardening has benefits for everyone to enjoy. 

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living walls, greenery, andscape, garden, life is a garden, eco, deco, environment, plants, flowers, beauty, living walls

 

1.Could you please describe what a living wall is and is not? 

A vertical garden is a wonderfully creative way to showcase nature both in and outdoors. Living walls bring instant calm to the soul while uplifting one’s mood and cultivating overall psychological wellbeing. Also known as green walls, they contain real, living and breathing plants installed vertically against any structure that can support the plants (walls, fences or gates). Living walls are not dust collectors and are not filled with faux plants. 

 

2.What’s all the fuss about vertical growing? What makes a green wall so special? 

Going vertical saves on floor space, and when you need more plants in your life, why not go up? It also saves you from weeding and breaking your back while bending over in the garden. Green walls are special as they become living works of art. The different plants grouped together create a stunning vertical tapestry with a personality of its own.

 

3.What would you say are the most important factors that ensure a healthy living wall? 

Make sure you have these inputs in place - water, light, nutrients (food), and air. Firstly, using appropriate plants for the position of the wall. Secondly, watering cycles should match the plants' own requirements - one wouldn’t water a succulent in the full sun the same way one would a fern indoors. Finally, a little bit of love in the form of maintenance, like removing dead leaves to make way for new growth or a sprinkle of fertiliser. 

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4. Is it true that vertical growing is difficult and high maintenance?

Not at all. Vertical gardening has come a long way over the years and there are systems that can be fully automated with minimal maintenance. With the right plants established, a living wall is very easy to care for. 

 

5. Where would be the best place to install a living wall? Is it more practical to have one at the office or in your home? 

Both are practical. Nowadays, many companies choose to invest in their employee’s wellness. Plants work as humidifiers, assist with temperature control, improve air quality, and produce fresh oxygen. All these benefits lead to employees being more awake, able to think clearer, concentrate for longer, and breathe quality air. These benefits then lead to less sick leave and overall increased productivity in the workplace (not to mention something beautifully organic to admire). With more people working from home, green walls would be a great investment for a family’s well-being. Even a smaller version of a vertical garden in the form of ‘living pictures’ (plants inside wooden frames) will go a long way in reaping these benefits. 

 

6. How would a gardener decide on what plants to use? 

Think about the space for roots and leaves when choosing plants. For indoors, I would suggest slow-growing plants with varying colours and textures. Be sure to include some plants that are well-known for their air-purifying properties. For outdoor living walls, plants that fill their space uniformly are important. A 3-D look may be very pleasing to the eye but one doesn’t want plants to totally outgrow those around them.

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living walls, greenery, andscape, garden, life is a garden, eco, deco, environment, plants, flowers, beauty, living walls

7. Where would be the best place to install a living wall? Is it more practical to have one at the office or in your home? 

Both are practical. Nowadays, many companies choose to invest in their employee’s wellness. Plants work as humidifiers, assist with temperature control, improve air quality, and produce fresh oxygen. All these benefits lead to employees being more awake, able to think clearer, concentrate for longer, and breathe quality air. These benefits then lead to less sick leave and overall increased productivity in the workplace (not to mention something beautifully organic to admire). With more people working from home, green walls would be a great investment for a family’s well-being. Even a smaller version of a vertical garden in the form of ‘living pictures’ (plants inside wooden frames) will go a long way in reaping these benefits. 

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8. How would a gardener decide on what plants to use? 

Think about the space for roots and leaves when choosing plants. For indoors, I would suggest slow-growing plants with varying colours and textures. Be sure to include some plants that are well-known for their air-purifying properties. For outdoor living walls, plants that fill their space uniformly are important. A 3-D look may be very pleasing to the eye but one doesn’t want plants to totally outgrow those around them.

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9. What should gardeners watch out for once their green wall is established? Are there any pests or challenges you have experienced? 

One could lookout for the usual suspects as house and outdoor plants might have certain pests or funguses specific to the variety. Common indoor pests include mealybugs, brown scale, aphids, the common whitefly, fungus gnats, and thrips.

 

 

There you have it, vertical gardeners! We hope that you are well inspired and informed by our living wall expert. Head down to your nearest Garden Centre to find all the plants mentioned above and a whole lot more that will be perfect additions to your new project. Pots, potting soil, fertilisers, and pest control solutions are also available at this gorgeous garden centre. 

 

Biodiversity in the Garden – organisms that fly and crawl.

Posted on: May 11th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments

Become an eco-custodian to South Africa’s heralding wildlife, right from your backyard! We bet you did not know just how much natural potential your garden has for attracting the most awesome creatures and ultimately create a thriving ecosystem.

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If you want to learn more about how you can turn your garden into a beautiful hub for life and biodiversity, check out this link: https://www.lifeisagarden.co.za/biodiversity-all-things-that-fly-and-crawl/

Plant Moms Botanical Boss

Posted on: April 26th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
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Plant Mom Addition 

May is for the plant moms! Embrace becoming a botanical boss and dig your way into the world of plant parenting with confidence. Celebrate Mother’s Day with a new addition to the family or gift mommy dearest something to help with that empty nest. Follow Life is a Garden’s guide to successful indoor gardening.

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Seasoned plant moms

If you’re looking for a plant that says “this isn’t my first child”, these three high-maintenance favourites will glamorously show off your expert parenting skills. 

  1. Moth orchid

Tantrums about: could be anything but especially overwatering.  

Bribe it with: patience, loose bark potting mix, indirect sunlight, humidity, scheduled watering. 

  1. Maidenhair fern

Tantrums about: not being able to watch you shower. 

Bribe it with: misting, dappled light, and humidity. Also, some time outdoors where it can see the sunset. 

  1. Calathea

Tantrums about: being the only child and open spaces.

Bribe it with: bright, indirect sun, well-draining soil, lots of friends to increase humidity, and a shallow container (short-root syndrome). 

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First-time plant parents 

When gifting or homing a plant as the first indoor offspring, go for these three easy greens that don’t always need to be the centre of attention. 

  1. Snake plant 

May give glares when: irritated by too many water kisses. 

Give pocket money and: only one or two waterings during winter and almost any light condition. 

 

  1. Spider plant 

May give glares when: it’s too hot to play inside  

Give pocket money and: well-drained soil, indirect light, occasional pruning of playful spiderettes.

  1. Pothos (Epipremnum)

May give glares when: grounded and unable to go anywhere. 

Give pocket money and: a hanging basket or trellis, a little pruning, and a chance to dry out between watering. 

 

Indoor growing guide

Regardless of what you are planning to grow, here are our top tips for successfully raising your bundles of joy indoors. 

  • Adoption: purchase plants and seedlings from our quality approved GCA Garden Centres, ensuring that your new greens have already been given the best head start in life. 
  • Containers: always choose a container with many drainage holes, and don’t forget the saucer! Purchasing a small watering can with a long spout is also a great idea. 
  • Repotting: potted plants will eventually outgrow their containers. You’ll know it’s time to repot them when there is more root than soil left inside the pot. Upgrade your pot size and replenish the soil with fresh potting mix and a splash of fertiliser. Ask your garden centre assistant for help on which plant food and soil mix to use for your particular plant. 
  • Journaling: to help organise feeding, watering and pruning times, begin a diary for your indoor plants where you can schedule your playdates properly. A journal will also help future babysitters and prevent them from accidentally doing damage to your hard work while you are away. 
  • Maintenance: to keep your plant children looking and performing their best, use a damp cloth to remove any dust from the leaves. Dust prevents plants from absorbing adequate light and clogs their stomata – the holes which they need to breathe. In addition, deadheading spent blooms will encourage more flower power while pruning promotes lush regrowth. 

 

The benefits of plant babies 

Indoor gardening is a fabulous hobby! You could start an Instagram page to promote your plant-parenthood journey and let the world celebrate those special growth milestones with you. In addition, gardening of all kinds promotes a connection with nature, increases happiness, improves air quality, and is really fun (and slightly addictive).

 

From conversation starters to filling an empty nest, there’s always a reason to get a new plant or five! Remember to check the growing instructions of your new addition and make sure you can provide the perfect place for optimal growth. Life is a Garden, and plant moms are awesome!

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Biodiversity – All things that Fly and Crawl

Posted on: April 26th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
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Life is a Garden invites you to become eco-custodians to South Africa’s heralding wildlife, right from your backyard! Reap the rich rewards and fall in love with our vibrant biodiversity that flies, swarms, and crawls with life.

Local is the lekkerste: Growing indigenous plants means more habitat creation for our local wildlife, while also increasing our native plant species reduced by urbanisation and deforestation. SA’s critters and greens have a lekker advantage of being naturally adaptive to our environment, meaning less maintenance and more life in your garden!

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Bring in biodiversity by

  • Planting for pollinators: Attract bees, butterflies, birds, and eco-barometers like frogs and lizards by planting salvia, borage, lavender, and antirrhinum.
    • Companion planting: Get your edibles elated, your flowers flourishing and seeds spreading by adding pentas, echinacea, marigolds and sunflowers to the veggie patch. 
    • Organic pest-control: Naturally repel a variety of pests by planting basil (for flies), citronella grass and rosemary (for mozzies), as well as chrysanthemum (for spider mites).
    • Helpful predators: Avoiding pesticides attract natural predators such as ladybugs, spiders, dragonflies and praying mantises who make quick work of mealybugs, aphids, scale, and more.
    • Wonderful water: Give your garden critters a drink with water features and birdbaths. Enjoy watching all your favourite friends come to visit. 
    • House wildlife: Install bird, bat, bee, and owl houses around your garden for fewer rodents, mozzies, and locusts. Become a beekeeper and harvest your own honey too! 
    • Indulge in indigenous: Clivias, vygies, African lily (Agapanthus spp.), crane flowers and salvias attract colourful indigenous flyers for your viewing pleasure. 
  • Evade the invasive: Remove invasive plant species from your garden. Aliens may overconsume water, negatively transform the land, and hinder our local biodiversity. 

Happy soil = happy plants: Make sure you’ve got good drainage, use compost, mulch up, and fertilise.

Biodiversity, love your garden, birds, plants, flowers, hydrangeas, animals, life is a garden
Biodiversity, love your garden, birds, plants, flowers, hydrangeas, animals, life is a garden

Remember to visit your favourite GCA Garden Centre where you can purchase all sorts of wildlife accessories and gorgeous gogga-attracting plants. You’ll find all the compost and fertiliser you need too, as well as some very stylish birdbaths and cute garden décor. 

 

Biodiversity, love your garden, birds, plants, flowers, hydrangeas, animals, life is a garden
Biodiversity, love your garden, birds, plants, flowers, hydrangeas, animals, life is a garden

Poppies and Petunias Balcony Besties

Posted on: April 26th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
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As the sun sets to welcome the evening sky in all its colourful glory, sit back and relax on the balcony with some potted poppies and petunias for company. These lovelies are the perfect choice for all-year-round charm and vibrance. Here is Life is a Garden’s guide on how to successfully grow and care for your new patio and balcony besties.

Cute petunias in containers

 

Petunias are available in a range of colours, each as bright as the next. Position them in a mostly sunny spot and ensure they are never completely dry. Perform the finger test to see when to water petunias as you would rather want to underwater than overwater these babes. 

 

Soil:

Petunias require well-draining, aerated and slightly acidic soil. Potting soil mix works well, especially if you combine it with a little peat moss to lower pH levels. 

 

Fertiliser:

These ladies love lots of food. Most potting mixes have the right amount of nutrients but to be sure, use a slow-release fertiliser after planting. Alternatively, compost will give Petunias the feeding they need, just remember to make sure it doesn’t interfere with the soil’s drainage abilities. 

 

Deadheading:

This encourages plants to direct their energy into creating more flowers, rather than wasting it on already fading blooms. Deadheading also keeps your plant looking neat and tidy. Simply remove flowers that are beyond their prime by pinching them off from just below their base.

 

Perfecting potted poppies 

 

Poppies are a timeless classic. They might not be the easiest flower to grow but their vibrant colour and sweetness is certainly worth the extra care. Poppy varieties that grow well in pots include oriental poppies, Iceland poppies, California poppies, and Shirley poppies. Iceland poppies (Papaver nudicaule) provide an incredible, colourful show during winter.

 

Planting:

Poppies dislike being transplanted. As such, we recommend purchasing poppy seedling trays along with a little booster food to help with the transplant shock. You can get all these from your GCA Garden Centre. Place containers in a full sun position and be sure to water the seedlings gently as they have very delicate roots. Once in flower, poppies need to be deadheaded to increase the number of blooms. 

 

Soil:

Poppies enjoy a neutral to slightly acidic pH. They require excellent drainage but rich soil. A loamy, well-draining potting mix will be perfect. 

 

Water:

Poppies enjoy minimal water during and before their flowering season. They can be watered every day but ensure not to overwater each time you do. When they’re about to flower, and throughout their flowering period, water moderately, maintaining excellent drainage. 

 

Fertiliser:

Fertiliser should only be applied during the growing season. It is best to apply a slow-release fertiliser when you first plant them. If you didn’t, a balanced liquid feed, every two weeks will provide potted Poppies with the nutrients they need. 

 

Pests:

Be on the lookout for aphids and water regularly to avoid red spider mite damage. Ensure you choose a good-quality potting mix to avoid root rot.

 

If you’re looking to enjoy sunsets in the city, you simply can’t go wrong with these balcony besties. A wide selection of pots and hanging baskets will further help to highlight your new additions, so be sure to consider the style of your chosen containers when planning your new living décor.

Trendy Very Peri

Posted on: April 26th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple

The Pantone colour of the year is Very Peri – a courageous, statement-making violet-blue that generates creativity and inspiration in the garden. Cultivate some confidence and curiosity this autumn by incorporating planting a striking variety of purple Veri Peri stunners. Here is Life is a Garden’s grow guide for 2022. 

 

Eternal purple bliss

According to the trend-setters at Pantone, “17-3938 Very Peri is a dynamic periwinkle blue hue with a vivifying violet-red undertone that blends the faithfulness and constancy of blue with the energy and excitement of red”. In addition, this colour represents:

  • Newness
  • Mending and healing  
  • Courageous creativity 
  • Imaginative expression 
  • The power of manifestation 

With such passionate connotations connected to this colour, there really is only one thing left to do – GCA Garden Centre here we come! 

 

trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple
trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple

Elated tasty edibles  

Did you know? The health benefits of purple food include anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Anthocyanidins are responsible for the purple pigment in our edibles and also helps to boost the immune system. 

  • Fruit: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, red grapes, figs, plums, and passion fruit. 
  • Veggies: Beetroot, eggplant, red cabbage, purple cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. 

 

Idyllic indoors for 2022

Did you know? Having shades of purple plants around the house helps to invoke peace and happiness. There’s a lot going on in the world, so if you’re looking to reap a little more optimism for the new year, grow these:

  • Calatheas, cyclamen, orchids, and rubber tree plant (Ficus elastica).

 

Top tip: Remember to check the sowing and growing season chart on all seed packets, seedling trays, and pots for the best time to introduce your new purple splendours to the garden. 

 

trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple
trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple

The most brilliant bulbs

Did you know? When looking at these Veri Peri inspired bulbs, the warmer red-purples are seen as more energetic to the human eye, while the subdued blue-purples are seen as peaceful and contemplative.

  • Plant crocus, hyacinth, allium, tulips, liatris, dahlia, anemone, and agapanthus.

 

Anything but ordinary annuals 

Did you know? Pairing these Veri Peri annuals with hues directly across the colour wheel, such as lime greens and yellow, will create a dynamic contrast in the garden that brings out the best of both extraordinary colours. 

  • Plant heliotrope, petunia, poppy, verbena bonariensis, ageratum, nierembergia, verbena, bachelor’s buttons, statice, calibrachoa, torenia, scaevola, morning glory, and sweet peas.

 

Peaceful (but popping) perennials

Did you know? You can create an analogous hue bed by grouping your red-purple and blue-purple perennials together. Experiment with hot and cool-coloured pallets around the garden for a popping landscape this season. 

  • Plant clematis, baptisia, lupine, iris, campanula, salvia, asters, phlox, Russian sage, perennial geranium, viola, lavender, aconitum, nepeta, delphinium, aquilegia, echinops, platycodon, and pulsatilla.

 

Remember that

Perennial plants regrow every spring while annuals only live for one growing season. The advantage of perennials is that they don’t often need replacing (if well looked after), while annuals reward the garden with unique seasonal charm.  

 

trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple
trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple

Show-stopper shrubs

Did you know? Of all the colours, purple is most associated with rarity, royalty, magic, and mystery.  Back in the day, some Roman emperors even forbid their citizens from wearing purple or they would face the death penalty! 

  • Plant buddleia, lilac, wisteria, hydrangea, vitex, ceanothus, azalea, rhododendron, and Texas sage., and rose of Sharon.

 

Cool-season annuals to inspire you NOW  

Begin your Veri Peri adventure this month by planting these chilled out, charismatic lovelies in beds and pots for a little upliftment as we head into shorter days and longer nights. You can purchase these plants along with fertilisers, compost, and other gardening accessories from your favourite GCA Garden Centre. 

  • Alyssum 
  • Vygies
  • Pansies and violas 
  • Petunias 
  • Primulas
  • Antirrhinum (snapdragons)
  • Delphinum (larkspur) 
  • Phlox
  • Lobelia 
  • Dianthus

 

Become part of the trendy gardening vibe-tribe and have fun playing with the Pantone colour of the year. Bring in excitement, courage, and joy by growing some of these truly gorgeous plants. Life is a Garden, and it’s a purple party! 

trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple
trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple
vERY peri
Life is a Garden

Tiptop Topiary

Posted on: March 29th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
Tiptop Topiary

Show off your champion gardening skills with stunning topiary plants, pruned to sophisticated perfection. Follow Life is a Garden’s topiary style guide and get the look this autumn!  

Top tip: Most evergreen shrubs can be trained to grow into any shape or direction. All you need is some imagination and a good set of shears.  

Get the look

Lollipop: Choose a tall, bushy plant with a strong main stem. Stake the plant well to help it grow upright. Start shaping the head by cutting back stems to about 2 to 3 nodes and clearing the main stem of all other growth. Plant picks: Abutilon, anisodontea, brunfelsia, and Murraya exotica.

Poodle-cut: Go for a slim but bushy plant and stake it securely. Visualise where the dense leaf growth will form the three ‘poodle-cut’ spheres. Shape your balls beginning at the base and clear all other growth. Plant picks: Duranta 'Sheena's Gold', cherry laurel, Cypress, and pittosporum.

Spirals: Choose a slim conifer and challenge yourself with this design. You will need a long, strong stake around which the plant will be twisted, creating the spirals. Complete the look by cleaning around the twists to maintain their spiral shape. Plant picks: Juniperus scopulorum ‘Skyrocket’ and all other pencil conifers. 

Try these topiary styles: Parterres, mazes, labyrinths, knot gardens, espalier, frames, hedging, shapes, and cute animals. 

Topiary colours April garden gardening plants shrubs flowers sow trim
Topiary garden plant flowers shrubs greenery trim design environment april

More terrific topiary plants

Foliage-dense for pruning: Duranta gold, syzygium paniculatum, ficus varieties, ligustrum undulatum, as well as lemon and lime trees. Feed plants monthly with a 2:1:2 fertiliser and mulch around the base with organic plant material. 

Flowering bushes for shaping: Solanum, fuchsias, freylinia, hibiscus, and westringia. Feed plants monthly with a 3:1:6 fertiliser. As soon as they start shooting new branches, cut them back to give them a fuller, more compact shape.

Try these topiary styles: Parterres, mazes, labyrinths, knot gardens, espalier, frames, hedging, shapes, and cute animals.  

Tiptop Topiary
Tiptop Topiary
Tiptop Topiary
hIBISCUS
Tiptop Topiary
FUCHSIA

If you’re new to the world of topiary, you could always practice your shaping skills on fast-growing and affordable rosemary bushes in containers. If you love the look but have a busy lifestyle, why not go for life-like, maintenance-free, faux topiaries as patio and indoor décor. Have fun styling your plants and experimenting with different shapes!  

Boosting your immune system with Herbs and Vegetables for the winter season

Posted on: March 20th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi
Give your health a kick start this Sunday 10am at HomeGrowers Kensington.
Boosting your immune system for winter using vegetables, herbs and medicinal mushrooms.
Join us this Sunday morning to learn all about how you can bolster your immune system in preparation for the flu season and the other illnesses that appear over the cold seasons. We will be discussing a selection of herbs, fruit, vegetables and fungi that can help keep you and your wallet safe from medical expenses this winter and different methods of using these versatile natural remedies to your benefit.
RSVP
Kim: 0824852472

April in the garden Everything is awesome in April

Posted on: February 28th, 2022 by Cassidy No Comments
April Checklist Gardening Greenery Flowers Plants Colour Health

Happy second month of autumn, gardeners! Although it’s getting colder, the landscape is truly warmed up by the rich colour pallet around us. With many plants going into hibernation, cool-season flowers are only just waking up and getting ready to treat us to their colourful charm. It’s time to sort out some pre-winter maintenance and prep the veggie patch for soups and stews.  

Awesome flowers to plant 
  • Towards the end of April is the perfect time to plant striking indigenous bulbs like watsonia, freesia, ixia, chincherinchee and Sparaxis. For non-indigenous bulbs, try daffodils, irises, tulips, and hyacinths.
  • For colour and charm, go for primula, poppy, pansy and gazania seedlings, as well as perennials such as lupins, Shasta daisies, and aquilegias. 

Planting new roses now will allow them to ‘settle in’ during winter and gain a head start in spring. Continue to spray your roses against fungal diseases such as mildew and black spot.

Cold Winter Autumn Hyacinths season garden gardening coulour plant flower life is a garden
chincherinchee flowers plants garden autumn april greenery
Biodiversity, love your garden, birds, plants, flowers, hydrangeas, animals, life is a garden
aquilegias.

Awesome plants to sow 

  • Flowers that can still be sown are osteospermum, mesembryanthemums, winter scatter packs and the indigenous scatter pack mix. Individual varieties include Virginian stocks, calendula, and Felicia.
  • Veggies to be sown now include peas, parsnips, carrots, onion Texas Grano (short day variety), beetroot Bulls Blood, and broccoli.
  • For a winter production of healthy herbs, start sowing seeds in windowsill containers. High light is all that’s needed for a good crop with a reasonable indoor temperature. 

Top tip: Guard against leaving containers on windowsills overnight as cold glass may harm plants.

Awesome to spray 

  • Aphids will still be around this time of the year, although their numbers will be less than in spring. Give your flowers a close inspection and if there are still a few around control with Plant Protector.
    • Snails and slugs devastate leaves on plants and ruin their appearance. Snailban and Snailflo are just two of the products which you can purchase from your GCA Garden Centre as a solution. 
  • Scale is a sap-sucking insect that can cause severe damage to many types of plants in the garden. They can be eradicated by spraying with Malasol or Oleum in the cooler months.
  • Autumn is the peak season for leaf miners, causing twisting and curling on new leaves. Control with regular applications of Eco Insect Control SC.

Top tip: Watch out for ant movement - the main culprits for transferring disease around the garden. Sprinkle Ant Dust around their holes and along their trails.

mesembryanthemums garden greenery beautiful bright colours life is a garden
Garden Colour Plants Flowers Greenery Gardening Soil Autumn April Easter

Awesome feeding 

  • Feed your winter-flowering plants such as hellebores to encourage a dramatic winter show later in the season when little else is brave enough to flower.
  • When cyclamen buds start to appear on last year’s plants, start feeding them every second week.
  • Add fertiliser to aloes and flowering succulents now.
  • Help your lawn along by feeding with 2.3.2
  • Give sweet peas a boost with liquid fertiliser and train them up onto a net or lattice.
  • Feed citrus trees with a general fertiliser and a handful of Epsom salts per tree.

 

broccoli food greenery health garden autumn gardening life is a garden environmental
April Gardening Food Veggies Cold Easter Garden Green Greenery Plants Flowers

Awesome maintenance 

  • In frost-prone areas, remember to grab some protection from your GCA Garden Centre and be ready to cover up before you’re caught off guard. 
  • Mulch up to the max with living groundcovers and plant materials.
  • Containers are ready for a new layer of potting soil. Remove about one third from the top and replace it with the new soil.
  • Any container plants that need repotting can also be done now. Help them adapt with a liquid fertiliser after transplanting. 

 

If you’re unsure about which fertilisers or sprays to use, remember to ask your knowledgeable garden centre advisors for help. Any other plants that need transplanting can also be done now, giving them a chance to adjust so that come springtime, they are blooming with life.

Hellebores garden food flowers beauty colour autumn growth life is a garden plants greenery green environment
Cyclamen Buds Flowers Environment Health Green Greenery Plants Garden Autumn April Soil Colour

Living Mulch Garden Mastery: Living mulch

Posted on: February 28th, 2022 by Cassidy No Comments

Life is a Garden invites you to bring your soil to life this March with mulch that’s teaming with both micronutrients and gorgeousness. With our special selection of plants, you can grow living, eco-optimal mulch solutions that will super-charge your soil, save time and money, and increase the beloved biodiversity in your garden.

 

Know your options  

Depending on your personal style, gardening goals, and landscaping purposes, you may be drawn to using different mulch options in specific parts of the garden.  Which mulch suits your needs best?

 

Living Mulch Info
Pebbles
Wood chips
Bring your soil to life

Living mulch mimics a forest floor with an ever-growing protective layer of foliage that keeps soil temperature cool in summer and warm in winter. As plants loose leaves, organic, biodegradable matter is added to the micronutrient hot pot, increasing good bacteria and homing insects.

Living mulch is especially advantageous for:
  • Filling large barren areas and beds
  • Creating thriving plant communities
  • Diversifying plant species
  • Protecting edibles in the veggie patch
  • Saving you money as plants multiply
  • Optimal moisture retention
  • Full, lush landscaping
  • Increasing and sustaining biodiversity
Take caution of smothering

Using living plants as mulch means that they will grow, of course. Take caution against accidental smothering of your other crops and adapt your plant choices arrestingly. Here are some tips:

  • When planting living mulch in full sun, hot/dry climates, plant compactly to fully protect the soil.
  • In cool/wet climates (or in shaded areas), plant living mulch with a bit of space between the plants to allow excess moisture to escape and to allow each plant to spread out and access more sunshine.
  • When in doubt, use fewer living mulch plants in the vegetable garden and go for beneficial companion plants that won’t shade out the crop in question or interfere with its root system.

Did you know? Planting legumes that release nitrogen increases soil fertility.

Try these living mulch top plant picks 
  • Mentha
  • Lyssimachia
  • Aptenia
  • Dichondra
  • Erigeron
  • Trachelospermum jasminoides
  • Mazus Repens Blue
  • Sagina Subulata Aurea
  • Sigina subulata
  • Lyssimachiaa green
  • Lyssishachiaa aurea
  • Convolvulus sabatuis blue
  • Dichondra silver falls
  • Dichondra wonderlawn
  • Dymondia
  • Muehlenbeckia Complexa
    Alternanthera yellow
  • Alternthera tricolour
Mentha
Convolvulus sabatuis blue
Erigeron
Dichondra silver falls

Annual living mulches for vegetable gardens include borage, calendula, nasturtium, and sweet alyssum.

Perennial living mulches for perennial crops include comfrey, oregano, thyme, and white clover.

Top tip: When planting perennial living mulches for ornamental beds, zone them with plants that require similar light and moisture requirements.

Using suitable living plants as mulch is a smart choice for the longevity, biodiversity, and aesthetic value of your garden. Optimise your veggie patch and get all barren spaces filled up and flourishing. Remember to visit your GCA Garden Centre where you can find these plant picks and many more.