It’s holiday season, and a jolly good reason to celebrate! Live life to the fullest surrounded by the ones you love and a gorgeous garden to host them all in. Life is a Garden’s got a fully loaded, super fun summer entertaining and planting guide to get you in the spirit of things this December.
Wet vines from the garden can be transformed into gorgeous decorative wreaths, which you can secure onto your front door. Try ivy varieties, grapevine, and big num num (Carissa macrocarpa) with ornamental grass strands that’ll maintain colour for longer too. Add to the friendly vibes by adding a textured welcome mat available from your GCA Garden Centre.
Try this: Once you’ve gotten a solid run from your wreath, tie it onto a tree branch and hang some birdseed feeders from it.
Solar lights are the best-kept fun secrets this summer. Light up your pathways with lanterns, accentuate your trees with spiralled fairy lights, and make the patio pop with spotlights highlighting your gorgeous container beauts. Solar jars are also a sure win, to which you can add glass stones for extra sparkle. Solar jars look super magical when added to fairy gardens and scattered around beds.
Always lit tip: Wrap battery-operated fairy lights around your front door DIY wreath for added evening ambience as guests arrive.
Keep the kids entertained and educated with a ‘Find that bug’ quest. You can easily create a printable worksheet for your kids and their friends listing the goggas to be discovered in your garden. Alternatively, there are several local apps to be downloaded, which kids can use to identify their discoveries. Why not get them all to give a fun little presentation about the bugs afterwards!
Happy house plants
Consider playing with poinsettia (Christmas star) and amaryllis (Christmas flower) as part of your festive décor prep.
Eco-warrior wall of fame: Lacewings
Dynamite comes in a small package with these extraordinary helpers. They are excellent additions to the garden for pest control and prevention. Adults feed on pollen, nectar, and honeydew, while the larvae are active predators of soft-bodied pests such as aphids, thrips, whitefly, leafhoppers, spider mites and larvae, caterpillars, nymphs, mealybugs and more! After feasting for 2-3 weeks, lacewing larvae spin a cocoon and emerge as adults 10-14 days later. After such a carnivorous upbringing, adults lacewings are converted to veganism, enjoying nectar and helping us by pollinating crops.
- Known also as aphid lions or wolves, lacewings can gobble up to 100 nasty aphids in a day.
- Grey lacewing larvae are super smart oaks! They camouflage by carrying devoured prey carcasses on their backs.
- Adult lacewings have ears at the base of their wings, allowing them to hear bats’ echolocation signals. They avoid being eaten by closing their wings and appearing smaller.
- Lacewing larvae kill their prey by injecting lethal digestive juices into their meal, dissolving their insides, and then providing our hero with a nutritious, sappige smoothie – lekker!
Welcome lacewings by
- Planting indigenous.
- Offering a variety of pollen and nectar-rich flowers to choose from (suggestions below).
- Learn how to identify them to avoid accidental harm to these heroes.
- Providing a safe hibernation home during the winter, such as log piles and dense hedges (check out our Hedge-tech article here for inspiration that’s shearously worth it).
Plants for critters that guard the garden
Lacewings, butterflies, birds, bees, and ladybugs will all come to work when adding these sweet additions to the garden now:
- Wild dagga
- September bush
- Pentas lanceolata
- Star jasmine
- Flowering hibiscus
- Nasturtiums are highly recommended to make your garden come alive.
Does the idea of spending an afternoon in a tranquil and breath-taking landscaped garden sound enticing? Well, with our help you’ll be digging in and transforming your garden into a haven just in time to have it ready for the festive season. Whether you’re looking to create a staycation spot or an entertainer’s dream, we have some tips that will help you get started.
Start with a vision
To begin, you’ll need a better understanding of the canvas you have available to work with. Take a walk around your garden and make a note of the sunny areas that would benefit from sun-worshipping plants and flowers. Also, pay attention to the shadier areas that might be ideal for you to convert into your peaceful escape or a lively entertainment area.
Once you have an idea of the space you’re working with, it is time to get the creative juices growing.
Stepping into paradise
Plants and flowers are an obvious first thought when thinking about your garden, and it is essential to have an idea of the types of flowers and colours you’d like to see dotted around this space as well as possible areas where you can plant trees and shrubs.
Having mapped out your flora you’ll have a better idea of where you want to place inviting pathways that lead you to explore your garden and soak up the beauty and fragrances that will linger around every corner. There are various paving and stepping stone options available to meet a variety of tastes.
Pots and a decorative bridge can be used as a focal point adding additional charm to the garden. Water features are also attractive additions to any garden and the soothing sound of water falling adds an element of calm to the environment. They also attract birds to the garden to further enhance the outdoor experience.