Posts Tagged ‘ Food for thought ’

Get the look – Food for Thought Must Love Gardening

Posted on: September 23rd, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

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.

  • 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.



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? They are almost completely edible and some parts even downright yummy. Don’t let those thorny stems fool you, they too are edible. When using the fresh rose petals you mostly only need to remove some of the older petals and not completely strip the flower. Petals can be used as:
    • Colourful dessert garnish or added to a salad.
    • Candied and then used as a tasty garnish.
    • Chopped into a summer sorbet or frozen in ice cubes.
    • Used in syrups, jellies, perfumed butters and sweet spreads.
  • Braai rosemary, otherwise known as Tuscan Blue rosemary. Rosmarinus officinalis 'Tuscan Blue' is an upright rosemary that grows to between 1.2m and 1.5m high. They can be planted in obelisks or tee-pees of about the same height or shorter as a fun way of growing them. The reason they have adopted the name ‘braai rosemary’ is because they have tall, strong upright stems that are amazing to cut and strip as braai kebab skewers. This is a fun project to try with the kids. Whether you use meat and veggies or melon and strawberries, the flavour of rosemary infuses subtly into the food from the skewers. Visit the following page to learn more about this family fun idea:

Fresh rosemary leaves or stem tips with young leaves, can be used in many dishes – here are just a few:

  • With potatoes and roast veggies
  • Chicken, game, lamb and veal
  • Biscuits
  • Salad dressings, sauces, herb butters and oils

Tip: There are also pink and white flowering upright growing rosemary plants, a creeping rosemary, and the old favourite ‘McConnel’s Blue’.

  • Although fennel is not new to Italian cuisine it is trending as the go-to vegetable and herb to be used in many dishes, from appetisers to desserts. The leaves, flowers, seeds and its bulbous base are all edible. Eaten raw or cooked, it is savoured for the subtle aniseed and liquorice notes. In the landscape, fennel or Florence fennel Foeniculum vulgare, is a gorgeous plant with fine, ferny foliage and tiny bright yellow flowers. The ferny foliage is a wonderful contrast to large-leafed plants. It is easy to grow and is often planted among roses to keep the aphids off the roses since they are a host plant to aphids.

Tip: Bronze fennel has an exquisite purply colour, which is a fabulous colour to use in the garden and in your food.


Edible faves: An edible garden wouldn’t be complete without basil in the summer and violas in the winter. There are so many delicious new basil varieties that can be sown or purchased in October. Make sure you keep some open spaces and pots ready for this versatile herb.


The striking little flowers of Viola hederacea are beautiful as an edible garnish. Lastly, the amazing Meyer lemon is a dwarf variety that is ideal for small gardens or large pots.

Take inspiration from “Get the Look” and add your own creativity to the design – Life is a Garden, so live it to the full.

Pictures courtesy of Garden World – Show Garden by Strylitzia Landscapes.


Now Trending Life is a Garden Top Trends of 2019

Posted on: August 27th, 2019 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

Looking for some modern garden ideas? Whether you need a complete garden re-design or simply want to update your space's functionality and look - Life is a Garden has put together some top trends to help you. Visit your local GCA affiliated Garden Centre to get the products and expert advice you need to implement these trends.

Keep it simple

Mess leads to stress! Simplifying your garden can simplify your life. A good idea is to plant mostly perennial plants that will come back each year. Group them together based on their watering needs. Fill in any left-over spaces with bedding plants. Reposition messy trees or shrubs to avoid daily clear-up duties.

Garden getaway

A small retreat within a larger garden can feel like a getaway. Creating a quiet space in your garden to relax, read, or meditate is a great way to de-stress. Include a simple water feature and surround the space with lush plants.

Plant show-off

Stepping outside and looking at your plants with fresh eyes is a creative quest that can be therapeutic for your soul. There is something very satisfying about picking and displaying your home-grown plants in your house. Finding beauty in unexpected pieces e.g., twigs, leaves, dried seed heads, fruits, etc.—are very cool additions to an arrangement, and chances are you already have something unique right in your own backyard. 

Food for thought

Although growing your own food is not a new trend, it seems that now more than ever we have a vested interest in how our food is grown. The ability to produce your own food is not limited to people with large spaces of land. Your home garden can grow more food then you could imagine!

You can start by simply adding a pot on your front or back patio with a few herbs, and later add ornamental edibles, herbs/veggies can also be grown between other plants in your flower beds.

Pay it forward

Gardening isn‘t just about making a piece of land look pretty. Gardens can also be used to give back to the environment and community. Using natural ways to get rid of weeds and control garden pests like grubs and beetles and including plants that attract pollinators such as bees, birds and butterflies is a great way to give back to the environment. Donate your overabundance of fresh produce to your local charity or share with your neighbours to foster a sense of community.

Living Coral

Choose bold and vibrant, hot colours. The 2019's pantone colour of the year is living coral - a nurturing colour that appears in our natural surroundings. Add some of these flowers to your garden to introduce this trendy colour: Wizard® Coral Sunrise Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides), Salvia Coral Nymph (Salvia coccinea), Pop Mango Salmon (Verbena x hybrida), Petunia Shock Wave Coral Crush (Petunia x hybrida), Sunpatiens Coral Pink (Impatiens x hybrida) and Calibrachoa Conga Coral Kiss (Calibrachoa x hybrida).

Rethink plastic

With the drive for plastic-free living becoming a major focus, switch to biodegradable plant pots made from coconut husks, wood chips, or rice husks found at your local GCA Garden Centre. These can then be added straight to the compost when they’re no longer needed. The garden is a great place to re-use household plastic products which you would otherwise throw away. Plastic bottles can make a statement hanging planter, just cut open one side, fill with compost and plant seedlings, then hang horizontally.

Be water-wise

Gardening for a changing climate is a key trend, with many gardeners and landscapers incorporating stronger, more resilient plants in their designs. A smart way of tackling climate change and unpredictable weather patterns is to store water and use it more carefully. Plants that can withstand heat and drought are becoming popular choices - think succulents, cacti, and hardier flowering shrubs such as Salvias.

Outside in

Don’t limit your plants to your garden. Find creative ways to bring green indoors, especially in the midst of winter. With proper plant choices and some grow lights, even the darkest corner of your home can support plant life. Plants with exotic textured foliage like Staghorn ferns and variegated or multi- colours are great choices. Another reason to try this ever-popular trend is that houseplants are excellent air purifiers.

Grow up

Vertical planting shows no signs of waning. As real estate trends lean towards smaller gardens, it becomes increasingly important to maximise every bit of space. One of the best ways to create a lush backyard without taking over your patio and lawn space is to go vertical. Be it a fence, wall or metal cage, you can maximise growing space with a limited footprint by planting Ophiopogon japonicus and Festuca ovina glauca in a vertical wall.


For more gardening tips and information, pop in to your nearest GCA Garden Centre, visit  or join the conversation on our Facebook page: