Posts Tagged ‘ fynbos ’

Fynbos and friends

Posted on: July 29th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments

Boost your garden’s biodiversity by growing fynbos, anywhere in South Africa!

icas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

For more tips on growing fynbos, hit the link: https://www.lifeisagarden.co.za/fynbos-and-friends-industry-expert/

 

 

Pressed Proteas Fynbos DIY

Posted on: July 27th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

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 

august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

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. Once pressed, white flowers will turn to a more winter white, so keep this in mind when selecting colours. Go for richly coloured blooms that will turn out in even deeper shades once preserved.  

vaugust, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

Method: 

  1. The most important part of capturing the full shape and dimension of your protea is actually to press the parts individually. Once dried, you will be able to reconstruct your centrepiece flower to better mimic its original glorious form. As such, begin your pressing process by carefully taking apart the major elements of your protea. Other smaller flowers and foliage can be left as is, but it is nice to also have individually pressed leaves for later detailing and texture.  
  2. Once you have all the pieces of your protea and accompanying flowers, prepare your chosen pressing environment by placing your paper towel or fabric on the bottom surface. Place all your plants on the paper towel or fabric and then place another layer of material over them. 
  3. Place the top part of your chosen pressing slab/brick/book on top of your arrangement and allow it to completely dry for 3 to 4 weeks.  

Top tip: To test if your plants have dried enough, see if they crack when you try to bend them. It’s a good idea to include some extra test pieces during the pressing process to use as your sacrificial plants. This will help you determine if your arrangement has dried properly.   

 

august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

4. Remove all your plant pieces and begin planning your bouquet on the cardboard. You can really get creative here and use anything from calligraphy pens to ribbon and other craft paper to accentuate and personalise your design to suit your décor style.  

5. Once you are happy with the design, apply a small amount of glue to the back of the plant pieces and watch as your organic masterpiece comes to life.  

6. Place the cardboard back into the frame and secure the glass. Your botanical artwork is now ready for the wall!   

august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

Head down to your GCA Garden Centre for a selection of truly flamboyant fynbos to add to your garden. Indigenous plants are always a win for the ecosystem as they home and feed our local wildlife and are naturally suited to our climate. Remember to check which fynbos is particularly suited to your area and grab a bag of fertiliser to boost their growth after transplanting.  

Fynbos and Friends Botanical Boss

Posted on: July 26th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments

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. 
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

The call of our country  

If fynbos is so abundant, why should you then grow your own? Sadly, 1 700 fynbos plants are threatened by extinction with a large number also in danger of dying out completely, which is why the Kogelberg Nature Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the following protected areas, grouped under the Cape Floral Kingdom: 

  • Table Mountain 
  • De Hoop Nature Reserve 
  • Boland mountain complex 
  • Groot Winterhoek wilderness area 
  • Swartberg mountains 
  • Boosmansbos wilderness area 
  • Cederberg wilderness area 
  • Baviaanskloof 
  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden 

The threat to fynbos is not particularly climate change but alien trees. Mediterranean pines, Australian eucalypts and acacias thrive in similar environments and gradually overwhelm our fynbos, transforming landscapes into dark forests.  

You can answer the call of our country and make a difference in your own garden by: 

  • planting fynbos 
  • removing alien trees 
  • investing in a rainwater tank 
  • using biologically friendly pesticides  
  • providing shelter, food, and water for wildlife   

 

august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

Time to get fynbos-fantastic!  

Now that we’re well-educated and inspired, it’s time to get to the juicy part of our adventure – starting a fynbos bed! With over 650 Erica species, 330 proteas, 320 restio varieties, and 137 phylicas – it’s pure paradise for gardeners (although also a tad overwhelming in terms of choice). It is important to plant fynbos according to your region’s rainfall (do you get rain during winter or summer?). This distinction, along with the following top plant picks from our experts, will help you decide on which plants to grow and how to design a glamorous indigenous bed with fynbos.   

Top tip: Fynbos loves organic, rich dirt and thrive in sandstone derived, acidic soil with good drainage, moderate watering, and no manure.    

 

Best bets for summer rain regions  

  1. King protea – is our national flower and available in pinks, reds, and whites.  
  2. Protea ‘Sylvia’ – cold hardy up to -7°C, could flower any time of the year when mature. 
  3. Phylica pubecens ‘Veerkoppie’ – is a texture delight and something different. 
  4. Erica versicolor ‘Sunbird red, pink and white’ – is a sunbird favourite and flowers almost the whole year-round. 
  5. Leucadendron ‘Safari Sunset’ – is an easy growing conebush with beautiful red foliage. 

Designer fynbos beds (summer rain)  

Plant Safari Sunset, protea ‘Sylvia’, Sugardaddy, and Brunia for your high points (2-3m) at the backs of beds. King protea, phylica, Erica, pincussion, and mimetes work well as medium plants (1-1.5m) while vygies will work well as smaller plants for the fronts of beds (border plants).  

Summer rain growing hacks  

Proteas are best planted out immediately after the frost period has passed (in August and September) while the air is still cool. Proteas like to be planted in groups providing mutual support during strong winds. Keep the soil cool with mulch such as pine needles that will add to the acidity of your soil. 

 

august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

Best bets for winter rain regions  

  1. Leucadendron Harlequin – is perfect as a low-growing, bright hedge/shrub.
  2. Protea Little Prince – is a dwarfed stunner, ideal for smaller gardens.
  3. Leucospermum High Gold – is a flashy yellow shrub for the patio and beds.
  4. Aulux Bronze Haze - blossoms in summer and turns a deep bronze in winter.
  5. Agathosmas (Buchu) – a super medicinal plant, great for tees, and low maintenance.

  

Designer fynbos beds (winter rain)  

Plant Leucadendron Safari Sunset and Burgundy Sunset at the back of beds (2-3m). Bring in Leucospermum Ayoba Pink, Calypso Red and Ayoba Red for a middle burst of colour (1-1.5m). Filler plants such as Erica abietina, sparmanii, and cerinthoides will bring it all together perfectly.  

 

Winter rain growing hacks  

Proteas are best planted out into beds and permanent containers in autumn (April and May). Before planting, the chosen site should be cleared of all growth and individual holes (at least 40cm deep) prepared for each plant. At planting, do not add any bone meal or other forms of phosphorous or compost to the planting hole.  

 

Did you know? Proteas are social plants growing in close-knit communities that help to protect one another from harsh climates and wind.  

august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

Friends of fynbos to look forward to  

Colourful sunbirds in masses, bees lured in by lekker local pollen, and cute rhino beetles that love a good compost heap – just some of the garden visitors to get excited about. Planting a variety of different fynbos will attract a multitude of incredible natural predators that all help keep your garden’s ecosystem and food chain intact and balanced. Your secret weapon with pest control is Mother Nature – if you plant it, the good guys will come!  

 

Top tip: Mulch your plants with acid compost once a year and remember to prune your fynbos after flowering or before spring for nice full growth.  

 

Best fynbos for containers  

Leucospermums: Ayoba Red, Ayoba Pink, Calypso Red, and Sweet Lucy 

Proteas: Little Prince and Roupe 

Leucadendrons: Senorita, Red Devil, Harvest, Harlequin, and Amy 

Ericas: Abietina, Fairy Bells, Cerenthoides, Sparmanii, and Serruiras (Blushing Brides) 

august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

Fynbos secrets for success  

Our experts have shared the following advice to help you grow fabulous fynbos successfully.  

  • Always plant your fynbos in full sun. Most varieties, especially Leucospermum, will not flower otherwise.  
  • Fynbos in winter rainfall areas require excellent air circulation, cool nights, and low humidity in summer. 
  • Fynbos will not survive in heavy clay soils. In such conditions, plant on slopes or create soil mounds into which acid compost has been thoroughly mixed.  
  • Proteaceae take about 18 months to establish during which time they need regular deep watering according to your region’s rainfall.  
  • Always sterilise your secateurs and sheers, especially when cutting a sick plant as this will spread disease to the other plants.  
  • Proteas like cool soil, so plant these groundcovers around their stems: Dymondia, margareteae, Othonna capensis, and Carpobrotus edulis.  
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

With so much insight, your fynbos growing journey is sure to be simple and splendid. Remember to visit your GCA Garden Centre when you can find a collection of fynbos to adopt. Enjoy answering the call of our country and connecting with our wildlife like never before. Life is a Garden, let’s fill it with fantastic fynbos!  

Fynbos on the patio for winter rain regions Industry Expert Q&A

Posted on: July 26th, 2022 by Loyiso Mamahlodi No Comments
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

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.   

august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

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. Fynbos helps to conserve and maintain our amazing biodiversity.   

 

3. To sustainably protect our wildlife, do you have any eco-friendly pest control suggestions for gardeners looking to begin a fynbos growing journey and are there any specific pests they should be looking out for?  

Usually, having a garden with a large variety of different indigenous plants attracts a wide range of birds and insects to your garden. Having a wide range of insects and birds usually brings with it natural predators that will help control the pests in your garden. So, the best pest control advice is to let nature sort itself out. The biggest pest and disease issue with fynbos plants is probably root rot diseases. These are generally quite widespread in soils. Unfortunately, there is no cure for root rot diseases so it usually doesn’t help dumping a whole lot of fungicide into the soil, hoping to cure a sick plant. Often root rot issues are more a problem where people tend to overwater their plants or in areas where the soil does not drain well. So generally, not overwatering a plant will create a plant that is much tougher and resistant to other pest and disease issues. 

 

august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

4. As your nursery is based on the West Coast, which receives winter rain, could you please recommend your top five fynbos varieties to grow in beds and what makes them stand out plants for you?   

Fynbos is very diverse and has so much to offer in foliage, colour, texture, flowers, and even fragrant foliage.  If you plan your garden correctly, you can attract a variety of wildlife, have colour straight through the year and a waterwise garden all in one.  There are so many varieties to name because they all have their special attributes to offer. 

Some of our favourite varieties in no specific order: 

Leucadendron Harlequin 

Protea Little Prince 

Leucospermum High Gold 

Aulux Bronze Haze 

Agathosmas (Buchu) 

august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

5. If you had to design a glamour-inspired fynbos bed for beginner gardeners (in winter rainfall areas), which plants would you suggest and how would you arrange them? Are there any specific growing hacks to support the success of such a bed? 

Taking into account how much space you have available:  

Back:  Leucadendron Safari Sunset and Burgundy Sunset. 

Middle: Leucospermum Ayoba Pink, Calypso Red and Ayoba Red.  

Filler plants:  Erica abietina, sparmanii, cerinthoides  

Scented plants: Agathosma cilliaris and apiculata or Leucospermum Sweet Lucy 

Groundcover:  Leucospermum Hullabaloo 

 

In winter rainfall areas, proteas are best planted out into the garden and into permanent containers in autumn (April and May), once cool, moist weather has definitely set in. Before planting, the chosen site should be cleared of all growth and individual holes (at least 40cm deep) prepared for each plant. At planting, don’t add any bone meal or other forms of phosphorous or compost to the planting hole. Any organic material with high levels of phosphorous or a high pH should be avoided 

The recommended planting distance is 0.65m for species that attain a maximum height of 2m and those exceeding 2m are planted at a distance of 1m. Smaller species, such as Agathosma and Serruria can be planted 0.5m apart. After removal from the pot, be sure to place the plant at the same level it was in the container and disturb the roots as little as possible. Firm the soil around each plant and water well.  

In summer rainfall areas, proteas are best planted out immediately after the frost period has passed (in August and September) while the air is still cool. Proteas like to be planted in groups providing mutual support during strong winds. Keep the soil cool with mulch such as pine needles that will add to the acidity of your soil. 

august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

6. Are there any advantages of growing a fynbos specific bed? What would be a motivator to inspire gardeners to start one?  

Members of the protea family are essentially social plants, although there are some exceptions. Many of the species growing in their natural habitat occur in close proximity to one another, forming close-knit communities. The individual plants protect one another from prevailing winds and form a dense cover that prevents compaction, keeps the soil cool, and reduces the rate of evaporation. In cultivation, growing Proteaceae in association with other fynbos plants such as buchus, ericas, phylicas and restios, creates a pleasing effect and lengthens the life of plants. Most fynbos plants are relatively short-lived in cultivation and have to be replaced from time to time.  Proteaceae have the same watering needs, soil requirements and general care so would be best to keep them all together. 

august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

7. Are there any fynbos and protea varieties that are particularly suited for container growing? Do you have any advice for patio planting to share?  

Yes, there are many varieties that do well as container plants.  Things to remember are that the plants are not able to look for their own water or food.  Always choose a container that will be big enough for the plant when it is fully grown.  Always cut the plants back after flowering to keep them short, compact, and disease-free. This will also promote flowers for the next season.  Before planting make sure the container is in the correct spot as it might be troublesome to move afterwards. 

Arnelia’s favourite container plants per Genus:
Leucospermums: Ayoba Red, Ayoba Pink, Calypso Red, and Sweet Lucy 

Proteas: Little Prince and Roupe 

Leucadendrons: Senorita, Red Devil, Harvest, Harlequin, and Amy 

Ericas: Abietina, Fairy Bells, Cerenthoides, Sparmanii, and Serruiras (Blushing Brides)

august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

8. Are there any other general handy hacks and maintenance practices you could share with our gardeners?  

It is important to plant your fynbos in full sun. It is well-known that especially Leucospermum fails to flower if planted in complete shade. Those from the winter rainfall area require excellent air circulation and cool nights and cannot tolerate high humidity in summer. 

A soil with more than 30% clay in the top-and sub-soil is not recommended for the planting of most Proteaceae even though species of Proteaceae also grow on Bokkeveld shale, which has a high clay content, but generally in cultivation fynbos don’t survive in heavy clay media, and in such conditions, one needs to plant on slopes or create soil mounds into which acid compost has been thoroughly mixed; the addition of gypsum will assist in separating the clay particles.  Remember Proteaceae takes about 18months to establish and in that time need regular deep water depending on the weather more in summer and less in the winter due to the rain. 

When you cut your plants back always make sure you sterilise your secateurs, especially if cutting a plant with a disease as this is how most things spread in the garden. 

august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity
august, fynbos, protea, ericas, king proteas, life is a garden, greenery, colour, plants, diversity

The team from Arnelia Nurseries have certainly spoiled us with so much fynbos wisdom. Head down to your GCA Garden Centre and see which of their plant recommendations are ready to come home with you. While you are there, check out the birdbaths and critter houses for sale in preparation for your wildlife visitors. You can also access our GCA Garden Centre locator here: https://www.lifeisagarden.co.za/category/garden-centres/  

June in the Garden Checklist for the outdoor artist Gardening Checklist

Posted on: May 10th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

Consider the June garden as an inviting blank canvas, welcoming you to paint with a rainbow of winter blooms. For your cool-season muse, Life is a Garden has gathered a few vibrant beauts to plant-paint with, as well as some artsy edibles to inspire your soups. Learn how to defend your plant babies against black frost and enjoy our handy maintenance tips. Embrace the cold and plant on!

 

Chilled thrills in the Western Cape
  • Have faith in your fynbos and head over to your GCA Garden Centre to checkout new protea hybrids and visit some old faves too. Leucospermums (pincushions) and leucadendrons are stunning choices you can go bos with in the garden. Remember, proteas grow in pots too!
  • Aunt Gale’s wind is always around the corner so make sure all ties and stakes supporting young trees and roses are super secure. You may also want to check your garden furniture and make sure that nothing will end up in your neighbour’s yard.
  • Avoiding flooding at home by clearing drains and gutters of old plant material.
  • Begin winter pruning on vines, peach, plum, and apricot trees. Visit your GCA Garden Centre for products to spray on dormant trees after pruning.
Plant flowers from Wonderland
  • Pansies and Violas: These annuals are perfect to plant as borders and edgings, in window boxes and containers. Position them where they receive full sun in winter but partial shade in spring and early summer, to give them a longer lifespan. They like fertile, composted soil with good drainage and regular watering.
  • Snapdragons: These short-lived, yet super-cute perennials are ideal in mixed border gardens, flower boxes, and as potted patio décor. Bright snapdragon flowers will bloom profusely all winter long in full sun to partial shade. Begin germinating seeds indoors and when they’re ready, pop them into nutrient-rich soil that drains well.

Blooming muses to plant: Primula, primrose, calendula, stocks, gazania, poppy, bellis, alyssum, conifers, hellebores, narcissi, Camellia, Erica, pincushion, and ornamental grasses.

Triumphant cold troupers to plant: Abelias, Elaeagnus pungens ‘Variegata’, Pittosporum tobira, P. tenuifolium, rosemary, confetti bushes, Melaleuca bracteata ‘Johannesburg Gold’, and holly.

Artsy-potsy plant pick: Lewisia is one tough babe and will handle pretty much everything winter has to throw at her. She likes sun or partial shade, good drainage, but not the richest of soil. Water her moderately and deadhead spent blooms. She’ll reward you with gorgeous rosettes, slender stalks, and pastel-pink flowers for patio pots and just about everywhere else really!

 

Pruning particulars
  • If you live in a frost-free area you can begin pruning roses in June.
  • Very chilly and frost-prone areas should wait until the 2nd week of July.
  • Everyone can prune and cut back deciduous trees, conifers, vines, peach, plum, and apricot trees now.

Black Frost se voet

  • What is it: Black frost happens when humidity is too low for frost to form, but the temperature drops so low that plant tissues freeze and die, becoming blackened.
  • Where it affects: The leaves of plants are the most affected. Avoid pruning the burnt leaves as they will continue to protect the plant in case of another freeze invasion.
  • How to protect: You can protect plants even more by using raised beds, mulching up (a lot), covering growing trees at night, and changing to mid-morning watering to allow all water to evaporate before evening temperatures drop.
  • What to do: Once a plant has succumbed to the black frost horseman, do not prune or feed it, simply send it love – this too shall pass. Once the temperature increases, some plants will shed dead leaves on their own, while others that have died back will begin to regrow.

Inspirational edibles to plant: Rocket, cabbage (red and baby), horseradish, asparagus, global artichokes and rhubarb, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, beetroot, turnips, Brussel sprouts, oriental vegetables, celery, parsley, peas, and leeks. Pop into your fave GCA Garden Centre and see which seedlings are available.

Homegrown’s to harvest: Citrus and avocados (finally), leeks, Brussel sprouts (from the bottom upwards), carrots, parsnips, and cabbages.

Mulch-up your canvas: Mulch the entire garden with lovely autumn leaves to protect plants from the cold and assist in water retention in dry areas. Cape gardeners, get on top of those rain-loving winter weeds with max mulch power.

March in the Garden Checklist Gardening Checklist

Posted on: February 16th, 2021 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments
March Gardening Checklist

As the last month of summer comes to an end, it’s time to start preparing the garden for autumn and winter growing. March presents ideal conditions for sowing seeds as the day temperatures are still warm enough, while night temperatures begin dropping gradually. This is also a great time for cool-season seed germination varieties, and let’s not forget that much-loved gardening maintenance.

 

Flowers and foliage

The autumn climate is well-suited for planting as new roots get a chance to establish themselves before spring. Try sowing these lovelies now for a brilliant flush of colour and fragrance:

  • African daisy (Dimorphoteca) to beautify beds, borders, and containers.
  • Livingstone daisy, known also as Bokbaai vygie (Mesembryanthemum) are colourful customers.
  • Virginian stocks (Malcolmia maritima) as an enthusiastic and cheerful bloom.
  • Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) to keep pests at bay in the veggie patch.
  • Blue Felicia bush (Felicia amelloides) for fast-growing, striking sky-blue flowers.
African daisy (Dimorphoteca)
Livingstone daisy
Virginian stocks
Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) to keep pests at bay in the veggie patch.
Blue Felicia bush
Sweet peas

Before sowing sweet peas, prepare their new home by digging deep trenches and working in some nutritious compost from your local GCA Garden Centre. Bonemeal (if you don’t have dogs) and super-phosphate are excellent choices to assist in creating your sweet pea sanctuary. Remember to soak the seeds overnight in lukewarm water before sowing directly into the ground.

Roses

Roses are a simply spectacular sight in autumn! To ensure quality blooms into winter, continue with regular preventative treatments/spraying for black spot, beetles and bollworm. As the days get shorter, the roses start to go dormant and withdraw food from their leaves. To compensate for this and to provide enough food for new growth and flowers, fertilise with rose food – your GCA Garden Centre guy can advise you on the best option. Regular watering is very important if there is insufficient rainfall.

Sweet pea
Rose care

Tree tip: Plant new fruit trees from mid-March onwards in temperate regions to ensure a good spring and summer harvest. Your GCA Garden Centre has a tasty selection of fruits to grow, go check it out.

Veggies and herbs

Winter veggies are ready to be planted for delicious soups and stews to enjoy during the chilly nights. Remember that your GCA Garden Centre supplies both vegetable seeds and seedlings to get you started. Sow/plant these cool-season sensations now for an autumn/winter harvest:

  • Cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower
  • Broad beans, Brussel sprouts, and onions
  • Spinach, leeks, celery, and peas
  • Gooseberries, beetroot, and garlic
  • Oriental veggie varieties available at your GCA garden centre

Bedding bestie tip: Do companion planting with wild garlic, yarrow, comfrey, and Marigolds to assist with soil nutrition and natural pest control.

Cabbage
Brussel sprouts
Leeks
Gooseberries
Herb preservation

For an on-demand homegrown supply of fresh herbs during winter, start harvesting and preserving your greens now. Chop mint, parsley, basil and lemon balm, place them in an ice tray, fill with water, and pop them in the freezer. Aromatic herbs such as oregano, marjoram, thyme, sage, bay leaf, and rosemary, are better air-dried. Continue to feed herbs monthly with a half-strength liquid fertiliser and water regularly.

Must love maintenance

March is a month of maintenance, for which you’ll be gloriously rewarded as we move into winter. Give the garden a little extra TLC in preparation of the changing season. A little goes a long way in terms of the overall appearance and fertility of your beds, plants, and harvest.  Start these maintenance jobs now:

  • Work in about 30cm of compost into beds with a handful of bonemeal or super-phosphate to ensure plants have all the nutrition they need for winter.
  • Trim ground covers like sutera (bacopa) that may have taken strain during the hot summer months. They’ll produce fresh new growth and will thicken up nicely.
  • Give fynbos plants like confetti bush, a light trim to shape them up before their winter flowering.
  • Protect grapes this time of year and prune back excessive leaves to allow more sunlight into the crop.
  • Once nectarines, peaches and plums have finished fruiting, prune to shape and remove any dead or diseased branches.
  • Remember to reduce the amount of water given to houseplants.
Sutera bocopa
Confetti bush
Grapes
Nectarines

Although summer has loved and left us, autumn has come with its own wonderful variety of sowing opportunities. There’s always a flower, fruit, and veggie in need of a home, roses looking for a pruning, and a little maintenance to make all the difference. Enjoy March in the garden and tick off your to-do checklist with the help of tools, accessories, and seeds available at your GCA Garden Centre.