Scale down and glam up gran’s garden

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Reduce effort and increase beauty 

If your grandparents have been living in their home for many years, their garden is likely high-maintenance and possibly a tad out of date. Ease the burden by removing water- and time-demanding plants and replacing them with our suggestions below. 

 

Waterwise, evergreen, indigenous plant picks for big beds

1. Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata): quick-spreading shrub, pest-resistant but attracts pollinators, pretty blooms year-round, fertilise in spring, full sun to semi-shade. 

2. Bird of paradise (Strelitzia spp.): large growth, dramatic tropical-looking flowers, attracts birds, hard frost sensitive, fertilise in spring, ideal for morning sun to semi-shade.

Listicle, Life is a garden, greenery, garden, gardening, birds of paradise, spekboom, salvias, plumbago, easy plants, greenery, green, backyard, gardening for gran
Listicle, Life is a garden, greenery, garden, gardening, birds of paradise, spekboom, salvias, plumbago, easy plants, greenery, green, backyard, gardening for gran

3. Confetti bush (Coleonema pulchellum): aromatic leaves with masses of starry pink blooms in winter and spring, attracts pollinators, coastal thriver, good cut-flower/foliage, full sun.

Listicle, Life is a garden, greenery, garden, gardening, birds of paradise, spekboom, salvias, plumbago, easy plants, greenery, green, backyard, gardening for gran
Listicle, Life is a garden, greenery, garden, gardening, birds of paradise, spekboom, salvias, plumbago, easy plants, greenery, green, backyard, gardening for gran

Easy and everlasting plant picks

1. Spekboom as a green succulent that cleans the air, looks pretty and needs little maintenance is high on our list for greening spaces for the elderly.

2. Geraniums are nostalgic and easy colour to bring back loads of gardening memories, which is particularly important for older gardeners as they age. The new varieties are even less prone to disease when they are overwatered.

Listicle, Life is a garden, greenery, garden, gardening, birds of paradise, spekboom, salvias, plumbago, easy plants, greenery, green, backyard, gardening for gran
Listicle, Life is a garden, greenery, garden, gardening, birds of paradise, spekboom, salvias, plumbago, easy plants, greenery, green, backyard, gardening for gran

3. Salvias are always festive and vibrant. Easy, almost no maintenance and certainly showy. From bedding plants to perennials, one can’t go wrong adding them into the garden.

4. In winter, the Namaqualand daisies as indigenous, waterwise and tough annuals for colour are a winner for older gardeners. Especially if on a limited budget, sowing seeds is an easy way to get colour over as bigger patch.

5. Roses, especially Iceberg, bring plenty of joy to older gardeners. Cutting stems to bring them indoors or to give a friend makes them even more special.

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grandams garden, life is a garden, greenery, begonias, clivias, daisies, tomatoes, geraniums,camellias, gaura, flowers, plnts, gca,beauty, LIAG

Glam up gran’s garden Botanical Boss

Life is a garden, greenery, garden, gardening, birds of paradise, spekboom, salvias, plumbago, easy plants, greenery, green, backyard, gardening for gran, Botanical boss

If you’re fortunate enough to still have your grandparents around, what a blessing! Now it’s our turn to bless them back by livening up their gardens, patios, and indoor spaces with some low-maintenance lovelies. Life is a Garden has made a list of top plants that will forgive a little forgetting, and promise to add freshness and beauty to your beloved ouma and oupa’s home. 

 

Make outdoors EASIER

If your grandparents have been living in their home for many years, their garden is likely high-maintenance and possibly a tad out of date. Get the family involved to help ease the burden by removing water- and time-demanding plants and replacing them with our suggestions below. Remember to bring extra pots on green-ovation day so that the family can re-home all the removed plants, adding a sweet touch of sentimentality to their own gardens.  

 

Waterwise, evergreen, indigenous plant picks for big beds

1. Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata): quick-spreading shrub, pest-resistant but attracts pollinators, pretty blooms year-round, fertilise in spring, full sun to semi-shade.

2. Bird of paradise (Strelitzia spp.): large growth, dramatic tropical-looking flowers, attracts birds, hard frost sensitive, fertilise in spring, ideal for morning sun to semi-shade.

Life is a garden, greenery, garden, gardening, birds of paradise, spekboom, salvias, plumbago, easy plants, greenery, green, backyard, gardening for gran, Botanical boss
Life is a garden, greenery, garden, gardening, birds of paradise, spekboom, salvias, plumbago, easy plants, greenery, green, backyard, gardening for gran, Botanical boss

Confetti bush (Coleonema pulchellum): aromatic leaves with masses of starry pink blooms in winter and spring, attracts pollinators, coastal thriver, good cut-flower/foliage, full sun.

Life is a garden, greenery, garden, gardening, birds of paradise, spekboom, salvias, plumbago, easy plants, greenery, green, backyard, gardening for gran, Botanical boss
Life is a garden, greenery, garden, gardening, birds of paradise, spekboom, salvias, plumbago, easy plants, greenery, green, backyard, gardening for gran, Botanical boss

Top simplifying tip: Ask the staff at your GCA Garden Centre for more easy plant recommendations that are specifically suited to your region. If you are unsure about the maintenance demands of existing plants in gran’s garden, take a photo of it and share them with our experts for advice: Seasonal Gardening.

Make the patio EFFORTLESS

We are lucky to still enjoy some balmy afternoons on the stoep or balcony. Make tending to containers kinder to backs and knees by raising all pots (with bricks or pallets, for example) and re-potting to higher elevations where possible.

Gardening art for gran DIY

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Receiving art from grandchildren brings pure joy to the hearts of our beloved oumas and oupas, babas and gogos, nannas and gramps. Life is a Garden’s flower-inspired DIY would also make the perfect class project to gift to a senior home. The garden is far from dull in April, which is why we’ve based our little art project on the flowers in bloom now, available at your GCA Garden Centre. How many can your kids recreate?

Life is a garden, greenery, garden, gardening, birds of paradise, spekboom, salvias, plumbago, easy plants, greenery, green, backyard, gardening for gran, DIY, Do it yourself, diy with gran, DIY for gran
Life is a garden, greenery, garden, gardening, birds of paradise, spekboom, salvias, plumbago, easy plants, greenery, green, backyard, gardening for gran, DIY, Do it yourself, diy with gran, DIY for gran

You will need

- Thick craft paper (slightly thicker than normal to prevent the paint from bleeding through) 

- Thick craft paint in a variety of colours (thick enough to make nice blobs) 

- Cotton earbuds 

- Paint brushes

Life is a garden, greenery, garden, gardening, birds of paradise, spekboom, salvias, plumbago, easy plants, greenery, green, backyard, gardening for gran, DIY, Do it yourself, diy with gran, DIY for gran
Life is a garden, greenery, garden, gardening, birds of paradise, spekboom, salvias, plumbago, easy plants, greenery, green, backyard, gardening for gran, DIY, Do it yourself, diy with gran, DIY for gran

Lavender and celosia portraits 

1. On a white piece of craft paper, paint on the green stalks of the lavender/celosia plant, leaving enough space above the stalks for the flowers. You may even want to add grass, a rainbow, a froggie, or other cute nature elements. 

2. Group about 5 earbuds together and dip them in your chosen coloured paint to represent each flower species. Stamp the earbuds simultaneously above the painted stalks to create beautiful lavender and celosia blooms. The earbuds work well to mimic the look of these plants’ particular flowering style. 

3. Repeat your earbud blobs as many times as you like to create longer and lusher lavender and celosia flowers. 

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Life is a garden, greenery, garden, gardening, birds of paradise, spekboom, salvias, plumbago, easy plants, greenery, green, backyard, gardening for gran, DIY, Do it yourself, diy with gran, DIY for gran

Try this: To recreate bunching flower bushes or trees, you can even use the tops of broccoli dipped in paint. 

Both lavender and celosia enjoy full sun and nutrient-rich soil for best flowering results. There is a stunning variety of hybrids available at Garden Centres, so be sure to choose the one that steals your heart! Life is a Garden – let’s paint it! 

Bodacious Bulbs April Bulbs

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Show off your gardening skills with bodacious spring-flowering bulbs. They might not look like much now, but you can certainly bank on their beauty come September. Now is the perfect time to plant bulbs as the cooler months allow roots to settle in and new growth to develop. 

 

Top tip: Garden centres supply packaged bulbs with instructions for time of planting, depth, height of growth and light requirements. Be sure to choose the right bulb for your space. 

Get the best from your bulbs

Location: Choose a place where you can enjoy their glorious display to the fullest. Plant shorter blooms in the front of a border and medium to tall ones behind them. Also try large groups, drifts, and interspersing bulbs with spring annuals such as pansies and primulas.

Containers: Enjoy your bulbs on the patio in pots. A depth of 10-15cm will suit most bulbs, but ranunculi, ixias, daffodils and tulips need a deeper container. Ensure your pots have adequate drainage but never allow the bulb roots to dry out. Remember to water daily.

Soil preparation: Prepare beds or containers at least a week before planting to allow fertilisers time to dissolve, otherwise they may burn bulbs. Before planting, dig in a generous amount of compost followed by a handful of planting fertiliser or bonemeal and water well. For pots, add water-retaining granules to help the soil retain moisture during the dry months. Feed throughout the growing season and after flowering with 3:1:5 Vita Flower or 2:1:1 Bulb Food.

Depth success: Always read planting instructions carefully. Usually, bulbs should be planted at a depth of three times the actual height of the bulb. Space large bulbs 10-15cm apart and small bulbs 3-5cm apart. Never press the base of the bulb hard into the soil as it will compact.

Zebra plant We love succulents

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Haworthiopsis attenuata ‘Zebra plant’ is a local hero, indigenous to the Eastern Cape. They are from the same subfamily as aloe and are equally eye-catching in appearance with pointy leaves and zebra-like white stripes. Grown both indoors and out, this succulent is next on your summer adoption list!

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Getting to know your Zebra plant

Grow guide: With a high tolerance for different light conditions, you can grow them pretty much anywhere. Outdoors, they prefer morning sun and need to be acclimatised to full sun areas. Indoors, they can handle low light but need to be moved to bright light locations every few weeks to keep them healthy. 

Claim to fame: Zebra plants are hassle-free, non-toxic, and can tolerate mild frost for short periods. Locals also use this plant to ward off evil and protect homes. Zebras produce aloe, which can be applied to minor cuts and skin irritations. Plants are highly decorative with a lovely ridged texture on the white stripes.

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zebra plant,succulent, zebra, aloe, pot plant, life is a garden, pot, stripes, january gardening, green, greenery

In the garden: This succulent will liven up any container and rock garden, reaching a sweet height of 15 cm. Pair them with other low-growing plants in well-draining soil (they do not like wet feet). Water once the soil has dried out completely and fertilise once a month during spring and summer. 

Pest patrol: Plants are generally pest and disease hardy but be aware of the usual suspects such as mealybugs and spider mites. Keep plants healthy and you will be rewarded with a friend for a decade! 

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zebra plant,succulent, zebra, aloe, pot plant, life is a garden, pot, stripes, january gardening, green, greenery

Did you know? This plant is used in a variety of cosmetics – from shampoo to lotions, and homoeopathy medicine and beauty products. 

 Top tip: Your Zebra plant will produce pups and offsets. Separate new arrivals by removing them from mom and transplanting into moist, prepared soil. Wait until new growth appears before watering again.

Celebrating Citrus Landscaping and decorating with citrus

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citrus, bonsai, life is a garden, citrus bonsai, green, flowers, plants, greenery, July, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, naartijies, mini citrus, winter, delicious, healthy, juice, cooking

Topic: Celebrating Citrus
Theme:
Landscaping and decorating with citrus
Industry Expert:
Dane Montana
Garden Centre:
Montana Nurseries - https://www.montananurseries.co.za/

 

If you are looking to begin a citrus growing journey, come and learn some trade secrets, exclusively shared by our industry expert, Dane from Montana Nurseries. Incorporating these vibrant and versatile fruit trees as part of your landscaping design is easier than you may think. Check out Dane’s recommendations for which trees to grow in your province and get the best head start on your juicy journey.

1. What made you first fall in love with citrus growing? Why are citrus trees so special?

My dad, Alan Ross, started Montana Nurseries and began growing and farming citrus trees in our nursery. I have grown up with citrus and have always loved the variety of lemons, oranges, naartjies, and limes. Citrus trees are very rewarding and there’s always something happening, whether it be a new flush of sweet flowers or delicious fruit.

 

2. What are some of the reasons why gardeners should be growing citrus at home? Are there any benefits/advantages?

The main benefit is their juicy produce that’s loaded with vitamins. Citrus can be eaten as is or used in cooking or oils. The leaves of some varieties, such as the Thai lime, are used to create many fragrant and zesty dishes. The flowers are wonderfully scented too.

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citrus, bonsai, life is a garden, citrus bonsai, green, flowers, plants, greenery, July, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, naartijies, mini citrus, winter, delicious, healthy, juice, cooking

3. Besides utilising citrus trees for their produce, how could gardeners incorporate trees as part of their backyard landscaping design?

Citrus trees make great feature plants, either in the ground or in containers. There is a wide variety of cultivars with different coloured leaves, flowers and fruit. The ornamental types such as calamondins and chinotto are more of a shrub, whereas the commercial types such as lemon eureka and navels grow more like trees.

Lemonade super-boost juice July DIY

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With so much citrus in season now, you may be looking for some inspiration on what to do with your harvest. Life is a Garden invites you to get seriously super with your lemons this July and juice up a nutritious storm in your kitchen. Re-invent the lemonade with this zesty booster juice DIY. 

Lemonade super-boost juice recipe

Aren’t we lucky to have Mother Nature on our side as we enter the last stretch of winter! Your lemon harvest, herbs, and spices are talking – do you know what they say?

Ingredients

- 2x peeled lemons for a flush of Vitamin C and multiple essential minerals and plant proteins

- Half a finger of fresh, peeled ginger for respiratory system clearing and protection

- 1x celery stalk for detoxification and opening of the toxin release pathways of the body

- Half a teaspoon of raw, organic turmeric to reduce inflammation 

- A quarter cucumber for rehydration and cholesterol-lowering properties

- A handful of parsley as a systemic anti-fungal and gland health ally

- 2x tablespoons of raw honey for holistic antibacterial support (place your honey in lukewarm water before juicing to ensure it will dissolve well inside your juice)

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botanical boss, citrus, bonsai, life is a garden, citrus bonsai, green, flowers, plants, greenery, July, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, naartijies, mini citrus, winter, delicious, healthy, juice, cooking

Method

There is a difference between a smoothie and a juice: a smoothie contains all the pulp and fibres of the chosen ingredients whereas a juice contains only the liquid gold. You can use the recipe above as a smoothie if you’re looking for something more meal-like, or you can extract the liquid from the ingredients as a potent super shot or juice for the family. Juices are generally gentler on the digestive system as the absence of plant fibres allows for easier absorption of all the goodness. 

Option 1: Nut milk bag

A bit of effort will go a long way when using a hand-operated nut milk bag, which you can purchase at almost any health store. 

The Secret To Citrus Success Botanical Boss

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If you are reading this, somewhere inside you there is a special place that longs to uncover the secrets of the mighty citrus. Life is a Garden invites you on a juicy journey to the epicentre of this stunning fruit. Learn about ornamental varieties, decorating, utilising leftovers, citrus for your province, and gossip-worthy growing hacks. Let’s go! 

 

What’s so great about growing your own? 

  • Health wealth: The high quantity of Vitamin C boosts the immune system and keeps skin smooth and elastic. Citrus are also loaded with B vitamins, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, and copper. Tending to your trees is a super stress reliver and a chance to get active in the sunshine. 
  • Year-round food: Growing a variety of cultivars that fruit at different times of the year allow you to spread out and extend your harvest window. With the right cultivars and planning, you can grow citrus almost all year round! 
  • Organic & eco-friendly: Growing your own has the added benefit of product control. If organic produce and eco-friendly growing is top on your list, a citrus plantation is definitely for you. 
  • More money, more C power: Most citrus trees begin producing fruit even as adolescent plants. Once established, their large yields will save your family and the community a significant amount of money, while also providing possible forms of income, depending on what you choose to do with your harvest (resell or jam making, for example).  

 

Garden jargon check: The word ‘cultivar’ refers to a plant within that specie that has been specifically developed through controlled plant breeding. A citrus cultivar is therefor a specifically bred variation of this plant ‘created’ to deliver a special purpose, such as to produce more fruit or grow smaller. 

 

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botanical boss, citrus, bonsai, life is a garden, citrus bonsai, green, flowers, plants, greenery, July, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, naartijies, mini citrus, winter, delicious, healthy, juice, cooking

Ornamentals on the patio

These sweet trees are the ideal patio décor asset!

Landscaping and decorating with citrus INDUSTRY EXPERT Q&A

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citrus, bonsai, life is a garden, citrus bonsai, green, flowers, plants, greenery, July, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, naartijies, mini citrus, winter, delicious, healthy, juice, cooking

Topic: Citrus
Theme: Mini citrus trees for the patio
Industry Expert: David Seewald
Garden Centre/Grower: Heuers - www.heuers.co.za 

Are you ready to be inspired and educated? Our Life is a Garden readers are in for a zesty treat this month! David from Heuers Nursery has juiced out the full scoop on everything you need to know about growing a citrus tree on your patio. Check out his dwarf recommendations, maintenance hacks, grow guide, and personal journey with these special fruits.

1. What made you first fall in love with citrus growing? Why are citrus trees so special?

I always had an interest in citrus from since I joined the family business. In early 2017 I had a chance to visit some citrus growers in the Cape region and that’s when I decided to actively pursue my dream of growing citrus. In 2019 I had the good fortune to visit the top grower of dwarf citrus in the world. This opened my eyes to what could be done with citrus trees grown on a dwarfing rootstock.

What makes citrus trees so special is the wide range of citrus fruits. They each have their own flavour characteristics and uses, be it in the garden or the commercial sector. Citrus trees are also special because they have a global appeal and are grown almost everywhere.

2. What are some of the reasons why gardeners should be growing citrus at home? Are there any benefits/advantages?
Besides the satisfaction of growing and harvesting citrus from your own trees, there are other benefits related to growing your own citrus namely:

- Citrus fruit has many health benefits and is filled with vitamins, minerals, and essential fibre.

- You have control over which method of pest control to use on your trees. Many people have concerns around chemicals being used on the fruit they buy.

Trendy Very Peri

trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple
trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple

The Pantone colour of the year is Very Peri – a courageous, statement-making violet-blue that generates creativity and inspiration in the garden. Cultivate some confidence and curiosity this autumn by incorporating planting a striking variety of purple Veri Peri stunners. Here is Life is a Garden’s grow guide for 2022. 

 

Eternal purple bliss

According to the trend-setters at Pantone, “17-3938 Very Peri is a dynamic periwinkle blue hue with a vivifying violet-red undertone that blends the faithfulness and constancy of blue with the energy and excitement of red”. In addition, this colour represents:

  • Newness
  • Mending and healing  
  • Courageous creativity 
  • Imaginative expression 
  • The power of manifestation 

With such passionate connotations connected to this colour, there really is only one thing left to do – GCA Garden Centre here we come! 

 

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trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple

Elated tasty edibles  

Did you know? The health benefits of purple food include anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Anthocyanidins are responsible for the purple pigment in our edibles and also helps to boost the immune system. 

  • Fruit: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, red grapes, figs, plums, and passion fruit. 
  • Veggies: Beetroot, eggplant, red cabbage, purple cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. 

 

Idyllic indoors for 2022

Did you know? Having shades of purple plants around the house helps to invoke peace and happiness. There’s a lot going on in the world, so if you’re looking to reap a little more optimism for the new year, grow these:

  • Calatheas, cyclamen, orchids, and rubber tree plant (Ficus elastica).

 

Top tip: Remember to check the sowing and growing season chart on all seed packets, seedling trays, and pots for the best time to introduce your new purple splendours to the garden. 

 

trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple
trendy, trending, Veri Peri, Plants, Flowers, green, Greenery, Life is a garden, purple

The most brilliant bulbs

Did you know? When looking at these Veri Peri inspired bulbs, the warmer red-purples are seen as more energetic to the human eye, while the subdued blue-purples are seen as peaceful and contemplative.

Give your lawn the summer vita-boost it needs Feature Diamond Sponsor – Wonder

Summer lawn care is all about the right mowing height and fertiliser. If you want to enjoy glorious green blades this season, the tips below might come in handy. 

4 Tips for growing a luscious summer lawn: 
  • Set your mower to a high cutting height, as longer, thicker grass wears better in the summer heat. And wards off weeds too!
  • Rake up grass clippings and dead leaves, and move them to your compost heap. This way the grass will be able to absorb as much sunlight as possible for photosynthesis. 
  • Water your lawn regularly, and fertilise with Wonder Organic Vita-Boost Vermicompost for a bi-carbon boost. 
  • Watch out for broadleaf weeds. If your lawn is being invaded, fertilize your lawn first, and then spray with herbicide two weeks later.