The Underground Internet

The Underground Network

We’ve been so spoiled with rain this summer and there’s certainly been no shortage of lush greenery in the garden. March has its own almost-autumn adventures in store with intelligent ornamental grasses leading the pack. It’s time to unearth the internet underground, prep cool-season herbs, and keep an eye out for some pesky bugs. 

 

Networking, smart grass 

Plants have a secret language underground that allows them to ‘talk’ to each other. Communities of plants network amongst themselves to transfer information about the environment, share nutrients, and even provide help to other plants in distress. This underground internet is an essential part of all forests and flourishing landscapes everywhere. 

Instead of growing plants alone, rather go for a community of intelligent ornamental grasses that will adapt and multiply, filling up barren spaces and creating the ultimate abundant look. 

Try these fantastic fountain grass varieties:

  • Pennisetum ‘Fireworks’, ‘Rubrum’ and ‘Vertigo’
  • Pink muhly grass 
  • Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’ (Zebra grass) 
  • Carex ‘Frosted Curls’
  • Coman’s ‘Khaki’
  • Festuca ‘Silver Eye catch’ 
  • Indigenous restios like Elegia tectorum (Cape thatching reed)

Top tip: Collect seeds from flowering grass to keep as birdfeed for our beloved hungry winter visitors. 

Did you know? Mycelium is the multicellular vegetative body of fungi. Think of it as an underground root system that super-charges the sharing of information and nutrients to the entire plant network. Mycelium grows outwards, looking for water, nitrogen, carbon, potassium (and more), which is then transported back to plants around the garden. Incorporating some super mycelium into your landscape is easy. Edible, non-toxic mushroom grow kits are available at GCA Garden Centres with simple instructions and access to all resources needed. 

Pink muhly grass
Carex ‘Frosted Curls’

Uncapped Earth Wi-Fi

Maximise your plant network with these fuss-free, friendly perennials: 

  • Long-flowering - acanthus, campanula, centranthus, diascia, gaura, Japanese anemone, kangaroo paw, nepeta, rudbeckia and echinacea.
  • Drought resistant - armeria, artemisia, bergenia, felicia, eryngium, salvia and penstemon.

4 Season Gardening Goals

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Life is a Garden has compiled an easy-to-follow, 4 season gardening guide to help you sow, grow, and eat all year round. Enjoy another year in the garden and never miss an opportunity to plant your favourite veggies and flowers. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for those pesky pests! 

Summer (December, January, February)

Pretty plants 

  • Grab seed packets of show-stopping violas, primulas, pansies, snapdragons, ornamental kale, poppies, wildflowers, sunflowers, gazanias, and dianthus.
  • Towards the end of summer, you can sow calendula, cosmos, daisies, violas, primula, pansies, snapdragons, ornamental kale, gazanias, poppies, wildflowers, Bellis, dianthus, and marigolds.
  • Seedling trays for quick colour include petunias, impatiens, calendula, dahlias, verbena, alyssum, cosmos, marigolds, nemesias, and dahlias.
  • For picture-perfect cut flowers, harvest your roses, cornflowers, hydrangeas, carnations, delphiniums, lilies, gladiolus, sweet peas, cosmos, gypsophila, agapanthus, sunflowers, and geraniums.

Top bulb tip: Buy flower bulbs for the new season but don’t plant them just yet. Wait for the weather to cool down and prepare the soil with well-aged organic matter before planting.

Everything edible 

  • In January, sow from seed or plant from seedling treys: dwarf beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflowers, celery, lettuces, leeks, radishes, rocket, spinach, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, celery, eggplants, peas, potatoes, and pumpkins.
  • You can harvest beans, beetroot, capsicums, chillies, courgettes, cucumbers, eggplants, garlic, lettuces, onions, and tomatoes this month.
  • In February, you can sow beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflowers, celery, kale, leeks, lettuce, radishes, rocket, spinach, Swiss chard, coriander, parsley, Brussel sprouts, peas, rosemary, sage, and thyme.
  • You should be able to pick passion fruit, strawberries, raspberries, apricots, peaches, plums, and apples during your last month of summer. 

Top fruit tip: Once nectarines, peaches and plums have finished fruiting, prune the plants to shape, and remove any dead or disease-infected branches.

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gardening, gardening guide, gardening tips, seasonal gardening, gardening for beginners, spring gardening, summer gardening, fall gardening, winter gardening, garden maintenance, plant care, garden design, gardening ideas, seasonal plants, gardening techniques, gardening advice
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Quick Maintenance

  • Mulch all beds and containers well to improve water retention and keep the soil moist.

The beauty of bee keeping

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F is for Fearless February! Dare to do something different and come buzz on the wild side with Life is a Garden as we explore the beauty of beekeeping. Whether you live on a plot or farm, townhouse or flat – the enchanting world of beehives, honey extraction, bee courses and baked goods are all available to you. Here’s the basics to get you going. 

 

Beekeeping has a few rules 

Before we fly on, there are specific by-laws for beekeeping stipulated by the Metropolitan Municipality Public Health. You can’t own a hive on your balcony in the suburbs, for example, but you can go on an epic beekeeping course and tend to a hive away from home. For our plot and farm dwellers to have sufficient space, here is a brief overview of the current laws:

  • No person may keep bees on any premises unless that person is the holder of a permit authorizing that activity and every beehive is situated –
  • A minimum of five metres from any boundary of the premises.
  • A minimum of twenty metres from any public place or building used for human habitation or from any place used for the keeping of animals.
  • The bees are kept in an approved beehive and the beehive is kept in an area inaccessible to children and animals, kept in the shade at all times, and supplied with a source of drinking water within five metres of the hive.

 

It is important for beekeepers to register with The South African Bee Industry Organisation (SABIO) so that your set-up is in accordance with the regulation standards. This is to ensure all bees live a happy life and to prevent accidents or injuries to your neighbours. Now that we’re all clued up, let’s look into the benefits of starting a beehive and what treasures could be yours! 

Charming Arches

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Flowering and edible arches are arguably one of the most stylish and elegant features of a garden. Ideal in large spaces where a focal point of interest is needed, over entrances as a dramatic touch, or in small gardens where a compact cluster of blooms steals the show – arches are full of charm and for everyone! Follow Life is a Garden’s top aching tips and plant picks to get cracking on your first New Year’s gardening project.

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Good advice for getting started 

Here are a few important factors to consider when purchasing or building an arch.

  • Take careful note of the size of the space where you would like to grow your edible or flowering arch. How much sun does this space receive? Is there enough room for the plant to expand as it grows? 
  • Where will your arch steal the show most and what is your vision? Consider which other accessories will complement the structure such as a cute table and chairs nearby for tea, garden lights along a walkway that lead to the arch, or perhaps an additional flower bed all around the arch. Flowering arches are also excellent wildlife attractors and privacy shields. 
  • What material is your arch made of? Some plants get heavier as they age, requiring stronger support. If using a wooden arch, remember to use a weather-resistant sealer that won’t harm your plant. If you are using a metal arch, remember that extreme weather may also burn/freeze delicate flower varieties. 
  • Can you reach the top of your arch? Pruning your ramblers, scramblers, and climbers are essential to maintaining a nice and neat shape to your arch. Make sure you have a long ladder and access to all sides of the plant for shape pruning. Similarly, if you are growing an edible arch, make sure you have enough space to harvest. 

January Gardening Checklist

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Tidy up time

Neaten borders and beds, turn over the compost heap, and mulch well after weeding. 

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January gardening, gardening tasks, winter gardening, garden maintenance, seasonal gardening, winter plants, garden care, pruning, planting guide, winter landscape, gardening tips, cold-weather gardening, January plants, frost protection, soil preparation, winter crops, gardening chores, horticulture tips, winter flowers, garden to-do list

Festive trees

Plant wild gardenia (Gardenia thunbergia), Henkel’s yellowwood (Podocarpus henkelii ), and Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Gold Crest’.

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January gardening, gardening tasks, winter gardening, garden maintenance, seasonal gardening, winter plants, garden care, pruning, planting guide, winter landscape, gardening tips, cold-weather gardening, January plants, frost protection, soil preparation, winter crops, gardening chores, horticulture tips, winter flowers, garden to-do list

Homegrown herbs

Plant mint, rosemary, thyme, chives, basil, and rocket.  

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Try this: Grow different coloured basil between your petunias and other flowering annuals. Go for purple basil (spicy-scented with purple leaves and pink flowers), ‘Siam queen’ (green leaves with square purple stems), and ‘Magical Michael’ (compact and bushy with purple and white flowers). 

Harvest delights 

Harvest strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, and celery.

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Waterwise tips

  • On hot days, mist houseplants like ferns and orchids to provide extra humidity.
  • Punch holes in the bottom of plastic bottles and place them in shallow holes around plants. Fill with water to give seedlings slow-release moisture.  
  • Use a soaker hose rather than a sprinkler and water early morning to reduce wasteful evaporation.
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Pest patrol 

  • Remove old flower stalks and dead material around the base of spent perennials to prevent mildew and red spider mite.
  • Spray roses against black spot, mildew, and aphids.  
  • Watch out for hawk moth caterpillars feeding at night on impatiens, arum lilies and fuchsias. Remove them by hand.
  • Be aware of lawn caterpillar infestations and treat with eco-friendly pesticides from your garden centre. 

Top pest tip: Spray early morning or late afternoon to avoid harming garden helps, like bees and ladybugs, that may still be active. 

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January gardening, gardening tasks, winter gardening, garden maintenance, seasonal gardening, winter plants, garden care, pruning, planting guide, winter landscape, gardening tips, cold-weather gardening, January plants, frost protection, soil preparation, winter crops, gardening chores, horticulture tips, winter flowers, garden to-do list

Hybrid Hydrangeas December Notebook

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Your summer garden is in for a real treat with these three show-stopping new hydrangea hybrids in bloom now. 

  1. Magical revolution (Hydrangea macrophylla magical) is an absolute must-have. This compact, bushy, deciduous shrub bares clusters of flowers that change colour as time passes. Every day is a magical experience with a rainbow transformation of hues to look forward to. 

Grow guide: Semi-shade or full sun, moist but well-drained soil, good for containers, beds and borders. Disease hardy but look out for red spider mite and scale.

Hydrangea Varieties, Garden Flowers, Flowering Shrubs, Hortensia, Landscape Plants, Ornamental Gardens, Blooming Beauties, Gardening Tips, Floral Diversity, Hydrangea Care, Seasonal Blooms, Garden Design, Flowering Bushes, Colorful Gardens, Plant Varieties
Hydrangea Varieties, Garden Flowers, Flowering Shrubs, Hortensia, Landscape Plants, Ornamental Gardens, Blooming Beauties, Gardening Tips, Floral Diversity, Hydrangea Care, Seasonal Blooms, Garden Design, Flowering Bushes, Colorful Gardens, Plant Varieties

2. Endless summer (Hydrangea macrophylla) has a name that says it all. A truly special cultivar has arrived with the superpower of blooming on both old and new wood, resulting in a flower show all year round. An added bonus is that plants are hardier to colder climates too. 

Grow guide: Semi-shade is best but will tolerate full sun if the soil is kept moist. Good for hedging and as cut-flowers with resistance to pests and disease.

Hydrangea Varieties, Garden Flowers, Flowering Shrubs, Hortensia, Landscape Plants, Ornamental Gardens, Blooming Beauties, Gardening Tips, Floral Diversity, Hydrangea Care, Seasonal Blooms, Garden Design, Flowering Bushes, Colorful Gardens, Plant Varieties
Hydrangea Varieties, Garden Flowers, Flowering Shrubs, Hortensia, Landscape Plants, Ornamental Gardens, Blooming Beauties, Gardening Tips, Floral Diversity, Hydrangea Care, Seasonal Blooms, Garden Design, Flowering Bushes, Colorful Gardens, Plant Varieties

3. Oakleaf (Hydrangea quercifolia) is a medium-sized bush with large, cone-shaped clusters of simply gorgeous blooms (up to 30cm long). The cream-white flowers will turn pink as they mature and can be enjoyed even until mid-winter, complimented by burgundy foliage. 

Grow guide: Dappled shade during midday is best although they perform better than others in dryer climates. Keep soil fertile and moist, look out for mildew.

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Hydrangea Varieties, Garden Flowers, Flowering Shrubs, Hortensia, Landscape Plants, Ornamental Gardens, Blooming Beauties, Gardening Tips, Floral Diversity, Hydrangea Care, Seasonal Blooms, Garden Design, Flowering Bushes, Colorful Gardens, Plant Varieties

Hydrangea pruning tips

  • There are 2 main groups of hydrangea pruning requirements so be sure to ask your garden centre assistant about the type you have.
  • Group 1 plants (old wood) bloom on last year's growth and need to be pruned in late summer. 
  • Group 2 plants (new wood) bloom on fresh growth and should be pruned in early spring after the frost. 
  • Pruning branches as leaves emerge in spring will result in multiple smaller flower heads as opposed to fewer larger clusters.

The super-fun summer garden December in the Garden

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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. 

Warm welcomes

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. 

December Gardening, Garden Maintenance, Winter Garden Tasks, Seasonal Gardening, Plant Pruning, Cold Weather Gardening, Soil Preparation, Winter Plant Care, Garden Cleanup, Frost Protection, Indoor Plants, Mulching, Garden Planning, Weather-Resistant Plants, Gardening Tips
December Gardening, Garden Maintenance, Winter Garden Tasks, Seasonal Gardening, Plant Pruning, Cold Weather Gardening, Soil Preparation, Winter Plant Care, Garden Cleanup, Frost Protection, Indoor Plants, Mulching, Garden Planning, Weather-Resistant Plants, Gardening Tips

Eternal sunshine

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.

December Gardening, Garden Maintenance, Winter Garden Tasks, Seasonal Gardening, Plant Pruning, Cold Weather Gardening, Soil Preparation, Winter Plant Care, Garden Cleanup, Frost Protection, Indoor Plants, Mulching, Garden Planning, Weather-Resistant Plants, Gardening Tips
December Gardening, Garden Maintenance, Winter Garden Tasks, Seasonal Gardening, Plant Pruning, Cold Weather Gardening, Soil Preparation, Winter Plant Care, Garden Cleanup, Frost Protection, Indoor Plants, Mulching, Garden Planning, Weather-Resistant Plants, Gardening Tips

Inquisitive kids

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!

Handy helpers top tip: To bring in friendly flyers and pest-munching bugs, check out this article: (link to that other article we did about bug/bird-friendly gardens) 

December Gardening, Garden Maintenance, Winter Garden Tasks, Seasonal Gardening, Plant Pruning, Cold Weather Gardening, Soil Preparation, Winter Plant Care, Garden Cleanup, Frost Protection, Indoor Plants, Mulching, Garden Planning, Weather-Resistant Plants, Gardening Tips
December Gardening, Garden Maintenance, Winter Garden Tasks, Seasonal Gardening, Plant Pruning, Cold Weather Gardening, Soil Preparation, Winter Plant Care, Garden Cleanup, Frost Protection, Indoor Plants, Mulching, Garden Planning, Weather-Resistant Plants, Gardening Tips

Happy house plants

Consider playing with poinsettia (Christmas star) and amaryllis (Christmas flower) as part of your festive décor prep.

Top 10 tips on how to get the most from your garden

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Garden Day is on Sunday the 15th of October, although we’ll certainly be celebrating all month long! Life is a Garden invites you to become part of this special occasion by taking the time to really enjoy the fruits of your labour. Join us as we offer inspiration on how you can get the most from your garden and include time with your plants as part of your everyday routine and event hosting.

Top 10 tips on how to get the most from your garden 

Morning coffee nook 

Try changing up your morning routine to allow for 10 minutes of welcoming the day amongst your plants and a cuppa’. This should put you in a great mood and set a peaceful pace for the rest of your day.

Experiment and expand

Dare to grow something exotic and different this summer. Look for plants and edibles that excite you and that you may not have thought to grow before. You may also want to experiment with a different growing style such as trailing, creepers, or cascading baskets.

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Festivity-ready 

Is your garden ready to host a little get-together without you needing to set up first? Consider installing flood lights, fairy lights, chimes, and other permanent garden accessories. Also look into what weather-resistant furniture you can include that’s always occasion-ready. Having a space that’s open to receiving guests may take a lot of pressure off the host. 

Outdoor storage

Invest in an outdoor cupboard or crate where all your scatter pillows, throws, and other goodies can be easily stored and taken out to use. This also reduces trips back to the house and makes the effort feel less when your outdoor essentials are organised nearby for easy access. 

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Cocktail corner

Growing garnish for all your favourite cocktails is another way to encourage more time with your plants.

Crucial Cross-Pollination

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Cross-pollination is when pollen from one plant is transferred to another with the help of insects (like bees and butterflies). Certain plants depend on this process to produce their edibles. Try growing the following trees together.

  • Almond trees grow well in the Western Cape with a more Mediterranean climate. With the help of bees, two almond trees are required to pollinate one another. Grow then in full sun with plenty of organic matter added to the soil. Planting clovers and other legumes around trees will contribute to soil fertility and attract pollinators.
  • Apple trees need a cross-variety pollination partner. You can ask for help from your garden centre assistant for advice on which varieties to grow together for the best results. Most apple trees will blossom in spring with fruit ripening in late summer to early autumn. Plant them in full sun with rich soil and feed with a fruit tree fertiliser.
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  • Papaya trees grow so easily from seeds in the compost heap. They will produce fruit when there is a male and female tree planted within a 3-metre proximity. The male (or even a hermaphrodite) can cross-pollinate the female. For best results, grow at least three trees together in full sun with nutrient-rich soil and good protection from frost. 
  • Avocado trees are definitely worth a little patience. Each tree is either type A or type B and needs to be pollinated from trees of the opposite type. Type A varieties are Hass, Pinkerton and Gwen. Type B varieties include Fuerte, Bacon and Zutano. Plant your trees six to nine metres apart with plenty of sunshine and well-draining, rich soil. 
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Cross-pollination increases yield and fruit quality.

Top tip: To attract more pollinators, plant lavender varieties, marigolds, and an assortment of seasonal herbs around your fruit tree beds. Allow your herbs to come to flower for max honeybee power! 

Fiery fynbos

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Fynbos is a specific group of vegetation that is known as Proteaceae. Fynbos has expertly adapted over millions of years and has thus become the world’s most diverse plant habitat, even more than a tropical rainforest.

Proteas

King Pink is our national flower and a dramatic addition to the garden. They enjoy full sun in beds and containers, are drought and frost-hardy, and make for stunning cut flowers. Enjoy their bold blooms from July to October every year. 

Ericas

Fairy Confetti is a sweetheart shrub with masses of tiny pink flowers that add happiness to the garden. Their pretty blooms can be expected from spring, along with the many indigenous wildlife visitors they attract. Plant then in full sun in beds or pots. 

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Leucospermums

The Scarlet Ribbon is a vigorous grower with no shortage of blooms. Their intricate flower heads will bring any bed or container to life with striking red, orange, and yellow details. Grow then in full sun and enjoy their flowering time from September. 

 

Leucadendron range

Inca Gold is a decorative foliage plant with bright green, lime/yellow leaves that contrast perfectly with their pink edges. Grow them in full sun beds where you can look forward to a unique flower show from November to September.

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

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. 

Hanging basket bulker: Plant begonia ‘Dragon Wings’ in shades of light pink and reds for added hanging basket cuteness in full to semi-sun areas. 

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gardening, proteas, fynbos, good gardening practices, South African plants, native plants, garden design, plant care, landscaping, sustainable gardening, drought-resistant plants, water-wise gardening, gardening tips, gardening techniques, gardening ideas, gardening inspiration, garden maintenance, gardening for beginners, gardening experts, gardening resources, gardening community, floral diversity, gardening in South Africa, gardening in dry climates, gardening in low-water areas, eco-friendly gardening, garden biodiversity, gardening with indigenous plants, gardening with native species, gardening benefits, wildlife-friendly gardens, attracting pollinators, gardening for a greener future, gardening trends, gardening with unique species, gardening and conservation, gardening for biodiversity, gardening education, gardening workshops, gardening enthusiasts, gardening blog, garden photography, gardening projects, gardening and sustainability, gardening and the environment, gardening and climate change, gardening practices for water conservation, gardening innovations, gardening challenges, gardening rewards

In the garden

Lawn love

Give your grass the pre-spring treatment by low mowing, spiking, feeding, and firm raking (scarifying). Apply a generous layer of lawn dressing and fertiliser, available at your garden centre, and cover the area so that just the tips of the blades are visible.

El Niño ready 1: the new climate cycle

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Scientists are predicting the full impact of El Niño to play out in 2024, with temperatures expected to soar across the globe. Changing climate cycles are as old as the Earth itself and a natural part of what humanity will experience while living on our gorgeous blue planet. As gardeners, these changes are particularly influential as we already have a close relationship to rainfall and the weather in general, as well as the needs of our plants and garden wildlife. A period of noticeable changes is heading our way, imploring us more than ever to practice sustainable watering.

The coming change in weather pattern from La Nina (cool phase) to El Niño (warm phase), will affect the entire continent across multiple sectors – from food production, fuel and food prices, agriculture, plant life, and as we’ve seen – the possibility of day 0 in our own homes.

In this article, we’ll be answering the following questions:

  1. What is El Niño and why the change from La Nina?
  2. What has Africa learned from El Niño in the past?
  3. What can South Africa Expect? 
  4. How will El Niño impact the home gardener?

 

Before we dive in, this article is number 1 of 3 in Life is a Garden’s El Niño Preparedness Series. We recommend that you read them in chronological order for a comprehensive understanding. Together, these 3 articles will leave you well-informed and equipped for gardening in a drought. 

Article 1: El Niño - the new climate cycle (you are here)

Article 2: Gardener or Earth Custodian? 

  • What is the Good Gardener Ethos?
  • What is my conscious gardening advantage? 
  • How can I be a wildlife guardian and habitat creator?
  • How can I look after my family?

 

Article 3: The Water Warrior Way 

  • How can I affordably collect and store rainwater now? 

El Niño ready 2: Gardener or Earth custodian?

As we approach the new El Niño climate cycle, we also enter a deeper understanding of how influential and important the gardener is. Predicted dry times and heat waves ahead will have a significant impact on gardening and likely to our usually cheerful dispositions as hardships from around the country make the news. It can be challenging to remain positive and solution-driven during these times. However, The South African Nursery Association (SANA) and Life is a Garden are working hard to ensure you thrive, not only survive this period.

The first step in preparing for this weather cycle begins with the correct education. Be sure to have read Article 1 to school yourself on the fundamentals of El Niño. In this article, we arrive at the second phase of our El Niño preparedness, which is a change in mindset or ethos upgrade that recognises the evolution of the gardener from an everyday plant grower to a mighty Earth Custodian (if you aren’t one already).

We hope that you are just as inspired as we are to take on this shining title and join Life is a Garden on our mission to play for team plants, people, and planet!

In this article, we’ll be answering the following questions:

  1. What is the Good Gardener ethos?
  2. What is my conscious gardening advantage?
  3. How can I be a wildlife guardian and habitat creator?
  4. How can I look after my family?

*Before we dive in, this article is number 2 of 3 in Life is a Garden’s El Niño Preparedness Series. We recommend that you read them in chronological order for a comprehensive understanding. Together, these 3 articles will leave you well-informed and equipped for resilient gardening.

Article 1: El Niño - the new climate cycle 

  • What is El Niño and why the change from La Nina?

El Niño ready 3: The Water Warrior Way

gardening, South Africa, El Nino, water-savvy, gardening practices, sustainable gardening, drought-resistant plants, water conservation, gardening tips, gardening techniques, eco-friendly gardening, gardening in dry climates, native plants, water-wise gardening, gardening in times of drought, climate change, environmental awareness, gardening solutions, water-efficient landscaping, gardening advice, garden maintenance, gardening ideas, water-saving strategies, gardening for beginners, gardening experts, sustainable landscaping, gardening trends, gardening resources, gardening community, water-wise plants, gardening workshops, organic gardening, eco-conscious gardening, garden design, gardening education, gardening benefits, gardening and the environment, gardening techniques for water conservation, gardening innovations, gardening inspiration, gardening for a greener future

We’ve got some time from now (August) until summer when El Niño’s heat and dryness is predicted to reach us in full swing. Estimated to last for 9 to 12 months, it is to prepare a resilient garden and make the necessary changes to our habits and water collection infrastructure.

Having read article 1 and article 2, the topics of Earth Custodian and Water Warrior should be familiar tools to have for gardening in a heatwave. In this 3rd article of Life is Garden’s El Niño Preparedness Series, we will be digging our spades into some practical ways that you can save and efficiently manage your water consumption to keep your garden thriving.

To recap, a Water Warrior is part of the Earth Custodian’s everyday gardening habits - from water-wise practices to wildlife protection and rainwater harvesting. The Earth Custodian is both a mindset and ethos upgrade that recognises the gardener as more than just a plant grower, but an essential service individual who is conscious of the big-picture footprint their water habits have.

To be a Water Warrior means that we have ‘woken up’ to the accountability of our household’s water consumption and how our daily habits impact the country as a whole, as well as surrounding wildlife and the precious balance of Mother Nature. By extension, becoming a Water Warrior also means that we do not transfer all resource and infrastructure responsibility to municipalities and government.

 

In this article, we’ll be answering the following questions:

  • How can I affordably collect and store rainwater now?
  • How can I grow a resilient garden?
  • Is hydrozoning right for me?
  • How should I be watering my containers, beds, and lawn?

 

Before we dive in, this article is number 1 of 3 in Life is a Garden’s El Niño Preparedness Series.