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.
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 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.
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:
Did you know? Planting legumes that release nitrogen increases soil fertility.
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.
Clivias are one of South Africa’s indigenous super stunners and have become quite the collector’s dream. Luckily, you don’t have to be a horticulturist to grow these distinguished plants, just some garden mastery know-how from Life is a Garden. Learn how to correctly harvest clivia seeds, how to grow them, and how to provide long term care for your elite lovelies.
What’s so special about these plants anyway? For starters, they produce simply exquisite trumpet-like, fragrant flowers with dramatic blooms in sunset shades, both as solid colours and as delightful bi-colour varieties. Owing to their lengthy germinating time (one year from seed to pot) they’ve rightfully earned their place in the professional landscapers garden. Up for the challenge? These beauts can be grown as hero houseplants in a well-lit area, in shaded beds, or in pots on the patio with no direct sunlight. They thrive in rich potting mix with good drainage. Clivias are most active from autumn to spring, but they’ll retain their dainty evergreen foliage all year round.
Top tip: Garden centres are stocked with a truly splendid variety of potted clivias to choose from. Ask the friendly nursery attendants for guidance on what soil mixes to use in beds and pots. They’ll also be able to give you recommendations on fertilisers to give your prized clivias that extra boost.
There are two ways to get your green fingers on some clivia seeds:
When clivia flowers are pollinated they produce large red berries. Pick your berries as they begin colouring then pop them onto the operating table and follow these steps:
After all that dedication, you want to make sure you give your clivias the best care possible. Here are some handy tips for how to care for established clivias in the garden:
Pest alert: Look out for the lily borer! Regularly check your bulbs and especially your clivias for signs of this pesky critter. You’ll notice clusters of tiny eggs underneath leaves, which are laid by a white moth with a 4cm wingspan. Visit your garden centre for the best pest control solution.
High in ornamental value, long-lasting flowering intervals, excellent cut-flowers, and evergreen – clivias are definitely worth it. Go from novice to pro with these sought after bad girls by following the above tips for success. Clivias also make for exquisite gifts so next time you’re on a split and divide mission, pot a few for friends and family.