Medusoid Euphorbias We love succulents

Medusoid Euphorbias

Medusoid Euphorbias 

The plant genus Euphorbia is truly exciting and unique. The Medusoid Euphorbias group in particular boasts some of the most intriguing varieties with striking snake-like arms for branches, resembling the head of Medusa. Unlike the legends of this Gorgon from Greek mythology, this succulent is unlikely to turn you to stone and more likely to turn heads in awe!

Getting to know your Medusoid Euphorbias

Grow guide: Native to South Africa, these daredevils thrive in a wide range of habitats. Grow them in beds or containers with exceptionally well-draining soil in a spot that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. They will enjoy a bit of afternoon shade in hotter climates as extreme heat may stress plants. 

Claim to fame: Medusoid Euphorbias are drought-tolerant and will reward the garden with exotic-looking charm. These plants are generally low maintenance with once-a-week watering to keep their greyish-green snakes happy.

In the garden: Plant your Medusa heads in containers and hanging baskets where they are able to show off all their sprawling tentacles in full glory. Feed them monthly during spring and summer with a water-soluble fertiliser.

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medusoid euphorbias, greenery, green living, succulent, life is a garden, spring, water warrior

Pest patrol: Watch out for mealybugs and spider mites and treat with appropriate products available at your garden centre. Always ensure the plant is not crowded and has good air circulation to prevent powdery mildew.

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medusoid euphorbias, greenery, green living, succulent, life is a garden, spring, water warrior

Fun fact: According to Greek mythology, Medusa was once a beautiful sea nymph who fell in love with Poseidon (the God of the sea).  Athena, known as one of the Greek goddesses, then cursed Medusa with a head of snakes and a fatal gaze. 

Top tip: Your Medusoid Euphorbias will go into two main dormancy periods during the depths of winter and the peak of summer. Cut back on watering during this time to avoid root rot.

SANA GCA Awards 2023 Winners

GCA Awards, SANA, Greenery, Gardening, Horticulture awards, colour, beauty

SANA GCA Awards 2023

The South African Nursery Association (SANA) held the annual Garden Centre awards conference on the 8th of June at the Indaba Hotel in Johannesburg. The prestigious black-tie event is fondly referred to as the Oscars for gardening and is a very exciting time for the horticultural industry.  Several outstanding Garden Centres received awards to honour their significant contribution to the green trade.

Here are your winners for 2023:

 

Independent Garden Centre

2nd Runner Up

Eckards Garden Pavilion

Water Wise Winner

Concrete & Garden Creations

Home Stores

2nd Runner up

Builders Express Northmead

All of these award-wining Garden Centres and Home Stores can be found on Life is a Garden’s website via the nation-wide store locator directory.

GCA Awards, SANA, Greenery, Gardening, Horticulture awards, colour, beauty

Sleek Minimalism Botanical Boss

botanical boss, sleek, minimalist, gardening, indoor gardening, outdoor gardening, plant care, plant maintenance, plant aesthetics, minimalistic design, clean lines, simplicity, greenery, potted plants, container gardening, indoor plants, outdoor plants, urban gardening, modern gardening, sustainable gardening, plant selection, plant arrangement, space optimization, natural materials, organic gardening, small gardens, balcony gardens, terrace gardens, indoor oasis, outdoor retreat, harmonious spaces, contemporary gardening, plant styling, plant decor, minimalist lifestyle, zen gardens, low-maintenance plants, efficient watering, natural light, plant propagation, vertical gardening, indoor planters, outdoor planters, plant accessories. Life is a garden

If you’re looking to change up your current garden style to a sleek and trendy look, minimalism may be a perfect fit for you. The minimalistic garden reduces maintenance time, water usage, and clutter. Moreover, sleek lines and open spaces help bring calm vibes to the busy city mind. Here is all you need to know to get you started. 

Current trends in architecture and interior décor are uncluttered simplicity, with clean lines, open spaces and natural, contrasting and complimenting materials. The minimalist approach to gardening will support and enhance what has been started by the architect and interior decorator.” - Hingham Nursery

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botanical boss, sleek, minimalist, gardening, indoor gardening, outdoor gardening, plant care, plant maintenance, plant aesthetics, minimalistic design, clean lines, simplicity, greenery, potted plants, container gardening, indoor plants, outdoor plants, urban gardening, modern gardening, sustainable gardening, plant selection, plant arrangement, space optimization, natural materials, organic gardening, small gardens, balcony gardens, terrace gardens, indoor oasis, outdoor retreat, harmonious spaces, contemporary gardening, plant styling, plant decor, minimalist lifestyle, zen gardens, low-maintenance plants, efficient watering, natural light, plant propagation, vertical gardening, indoor planters, outdoor planters, plant accessories. Life is a garden

What is minimalism and how can you achieve this look? 

The minimalistic concept is all about simplicity and highlighting strong features with a defined purpose in the space. The goal is to have less, which then creates a feeling of increased spaciousness and order. The minimalistic garden tells the story of a space with a well-thought-out theme that is extended and complemented by colour accents, textures, shapes, and lines throughout the garden. 

 

  1. Less is more: rather go for one big pot than multiple smaller ones. Use understated design elements and a neutral colour pallet. Limit the materials used in the space and keep the area neat, tidy, and almost at the bare minimum. 
  2. Contrast adds interest: look for contrasts in texture and colour, whether it be shades of green or just green with a hint of a second colour here and there. Bold leaves contrasted against finely-textured plants are a perfect combo. In addition, including a body of water or water feature creates movement and brings even more calm to the overall landscape. 
  3. Size matters: instead of many small pavers and stepping stones, go for large elements in strong shapes. Big square pavers will fill up a space nicely while creating bold lines and the feeling of spaciousness. 

Less is more EXPERT Q&A

sleek, minimalist, gardening, indoor gardening, outdoor gardening, plant care, plant maintenance, plant aesthetics, minimalistic design, clean lines, simplicity, greenery, potted plants, container gardening, indoor plants, outdoor plants, urban gardening, modern gardening, sustainable gardening, plant selection, plant arrangement, space optimization, natural materials, organic gardening, small gardens, balcony gardens, terrace gardens, indoor oasis, outdoor retreat, harmonious spaces, contemporary gardening, plant styling, plant decor, minimalist lifestyle, zen gardens, low-maintenance plants, efficient watering, natural light, plant propagation, vertical gardening, indoor planters, outdoor planters, plant accessories. Life is a garden

July’s Topic: Sleek minimalism  
Theme: Less is more    
Industry Expert: Julie Scragg
Garden Centre: Hingham Nursery based in Durban North www.hinghamnursery.co.za 

Hingham Nursery is stocked with all your minimalistic gardening needs – from stylish plants to sleek décor accessories and planters. If you’re in the Durban North area, be sure to pay them a visit. You can access our nationwide GCA Garden Centre locator here to find your next award-winning shopping experience: https://www.lifeisagarden.co.za/category/garden-centres/

1. Please tell us how Hingham Nursery came to be and what inspired your personal gardening journey? 

Gardening and creativity is in our blood - from the rose that my great-great-grandmother brought here from England on board a ship in 1863, to my mother who started Higham Nursery from scratch, propagating all her own plants and laying out the nursery with inspiring landscape features.

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sleek, minimalist, gardening, indoor gardening, outdoor gardening, plant care, plant maintenance, plant aesthetics, minimalistic design, clean lines, simplicity, greenery, potted plants, container gardening, indoor plants, outdoor plants, urban gardening, modern gardening, sustainable gardening, plant selection, plant arrangement, space optimization, natural materials, organic gardening, small gardens, balcony gardens, terrace gardens, indoor oasis, outdoor retreat, harmonious spaces, contemporary gardening, plant styling, plant decor, minimalist lifestyle, zen gardens, low-maintenance plants, efficient watering, natural light, plant propagation, vertical gardening, indoor planters, outdoor planters, plant accessories. Life is a garden

2. For our gardeners who are totally new to this style of gardening, please tell us what modern minimalistic landscaping/gardening is AND what makes it different/special to other styles of gardening? 

Here are some key points to consider:

- Simplicity is key

- Less is more

- Small plant palette with a lot of repetition

- Geometric shapes

- Clean lines

- Open spaces and large swathes of planting with dramatic accents.

 

Current trends in architecture and interior décor are uncluttered simplicity, with clean lines, open spaces and natural, contrasting and complimenting materials. The minimalist approach to gardening will support and enhance what has been started by the architect and interior decorator.

In a fast-paced world, minimalism calms the mind and works well for busy people who prefer not to have to make any more decisions than they have to.

sleek, minimalist, gardening, indoor gardening, outdoor gardening, plant care, plant maintenance, plant aesthetics, minimalistic design, clean lines, simplicity, greenery, potted plants, container gardening, indoor plants, outdoor plants, urban gardening, modern gardening, sustainable gardening, plant selection, plant arrangement, space optimization, natural materials, organic gardening, small gardens, balcony gardens, terrace gardens, indoor oasis, outdoor retreat, harmonious spaces, contemporary gardening, plant styling, plant decor, minimalist lifestyle, zen gardens, low-maintenance plants, efficient watering, natural light, plant propagation, vertical gardening, indoor planters, outdoor planters, plant accessories. Life is a garden
sleek, minimalist, gardening, indoor gardening, outdoor gardening, plant care, plant maintenance, plant aesthetics, minimalistic design, clean lines, simplicity, greenery, potted plants, container gardening, indoor plants, outdoor plants, urban gardening, modern gardening, sustainable gardening, plant selection, plant arrangement, space optimization, natural materials, organic gardening, small gardens, balcony gardens, terrace gardens, indoor oasis, outdoor retreat, harmonious spaces, contemporary gardening, plant styling, plant decor, minimalist lifestyle, zen gardens, low-maintenance plants, efficient watering, natural light, plant propagation, vertical gardening, indoor planters, outdoor planters, plant accessories. Life is a garden

3. Please give us your top minimalistic gardening go-to practices. What’s your secret recipe for easily achieving this look? 

- Less is more so rather one big pot than 3 small ones.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Everlasting and easy plants INDUSTRY EXPERT Q&A

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April’s topic: Glam-up gran’s garden
Theme: Everlasting and easy plants 
Industry expert: Wayne Stewart
Garden Centre: Eckards based in Bedfordview, Gauteng: https://eckards.co.za/ 

If you’re in Gauteng, a visit to this multiple award-winning Garden Centre may well be the Saturday outing you’re looking for. We sat down with Wayne from Eckards to get the best advice on how you can glam up gran’s garden this winter. Come gain some elderly-aimed maintenance tips and easy plant picks to help ouma get more wow for less work.

1. We loved exploring your website, especially the awards section. Eckards certainly has an excellent record of achievements. Could you tell us about some of your favourite accomplishments and how you maintain your multiple award-winning standard? 

 

Our Eckards recipe for success is simple: great customer experience + quality plants + a passionate team = an award-winning standard. Eckards has maintained our top ten rating in the GCA competition for over 18 years, which is something we are very proud of. Winning awards is not everything but it is a great way for the team to see the fruits of their effort benchmarked against the best in the industry.

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

2. Having spent decades in the industry, we’re sure you’ve seen many hybrids come and go as well as which plants seem to have withstood the test of time as SA’s favourites. Please tell us which plants and trees are your all-time best sellers. 

 

Gaura in all colours has been popular since it was re-launched when the pink varieties were added to the range. As a plant for pollinators, it has withstood the test of time as a must-have filler in any garden.

After the impatiens disease hit in 2007 we saw a big change in colour for shade. Consumers mixed it up, instead of just falling back on common impatiens.

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?

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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

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. 

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

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.

Garden Centre Association Competition Winners

Want the best? Here they are!

As you know, Life is a Garden is the marketing branch of The South African Nursery Association, known as SANA for short. To become a SANA member, garden centres and home stores must meet a series of criteria and evaluations set out by experienced committee members. SANA’s goal is to set an industry benchmark and maintain the standard of their world-class retailers.

GCA stands for the Garden Centre Association, striving to present a professional image of the horticultural industry and encourage professional business practices through a code of conduct.

Here are your top GCA Garden Centres in South Africa:

  1. Plant Paradise Garden Centre
  2. Eckards Garden Pavilion
  3. Stodels Nurseries Bellville
  4. Heckers Garden Centre
  5. Stodels Nurseries Menlo Park
  6. Concrete & Garden Creations
  7. Builders Warehouse PE
  8. Builders Express Robindale
  9. Builders Express Hillcrest
  10. Builders Express Northmead

To find your nearest award-winning GCA, visit our website at www.lifeisgarden.co.za and follow the Garden Centres tab on the top menu.

All-the-feels landscaping Industry Expert

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March Topic: Tenacious texture
Theme: All-the-feels landscaping    
Industry Expert: Jimie Malan
Garden Centre supplier: Malanseuns https://www.malanseuns.co.za/

Their stellar reputation and quality plants over the past 110 years in the industry, have put Malanseuns on top of the list as one of South Africa's best Garden Centre suppliers. Life is a Garden met with Jimie Malan to get the best advice on how to bring in bold texture into your garden this March. Come find out how to add movement, contrast, and sound to your backyard and reap all the feels before winter arrives!

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1. We loved reading the origin story on your website and how Danie Malan founded your family business all the way back in 1913! Can you tell us a bit about your personal gardening journey and how you have come to fit into the Malanseuns Pleasure Plants story?

Since I can remember, I enjoyed being in the garden. You can basically say I was brought up by plants. Some of my fondest memories are walking with my late grandma through her garden. She taught me all about plants and shared so many lovely stories about her favourite flowers. The love for plants runs through the Malan family’s veins and I too realised that my absolute passion is plants! You can almost say we have green blood and not red.

It is truly a big honour for me, as the leader, to work with this amazing Malanseuns team. Every day is a new adventure with plants. To me, it is very fulfilling to see new growth and also to follow the process of a plant growing into something beautiful!

I always say that you can be an artist with plants, simply by using their many different colours, shapes and textures.

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life is a garden, greenery, expert, tenacious texture, march gardening, malanseauns, gca, garden centre, garden, flowers, plants, plat, colours, nature, march in the garden

2. The Malanseuns brand is certainly a renowned one.

The Autumn Harvest

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It’s Autumn, and probably the last opportunity to soak up a lovely warm-ish day in South Africa before the winter chill sets in. Why not arrange some outdoor time on your patio with friends and family and surprise them by preparing some dishes, almost exclusively from your garden? Get your preserve recipes ready and let’s fill some bags with produce to share with those in need. 

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Pick me

A tasty host of herbs to be picked now include thyme, parsley, marjoram, and mint. Veggies like squash, zucchini, eggplants, peppers, chillies and, beetroot are also ready for the lunch buffet. Juicy fruit such as melon and tomato will be coming to an end now as well. 

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fresh produce, harvest, autumn harvest, greens, life is a garden, farming, fruits, vegetables, harvest, autumn, march, food, share, backyard farm, greenery

Harvesting tips

  • Prolong your lettuce harvest by only picking the larger, outer leaves each time, allowing the inner leaves to keep growing.
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fresh produce, harvest, autumn harvest, greens, life is a garden, farming, fruits, vegetables, harvest, autumn, march, food, share, backyard farm, greenery
  • Tomatoes are ready to be picked when they’re uniformly red – just before they soften. Spray preventatively against various fungal diseases.
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fresh produce, harvest, autumn harvest, greens, life is a garden, farming, fruits, vegetables, harvest, autumn, march, food, share, backyard farm, greenery
  • Lemons, depending on variety and care should be available to harvest pretty much all year round. Keep your tree well-watered, prune when necessary and protect it from pests to keep your bounty flowing.
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  • Peppers are a Catch-22 harvest. If you want volume you should pick them frequently and before they mature since they’ll keep trying to produce viable seed but if it is flavour you’re after you need to let them reach maturity before harvesting knowing you’ll have less but tastier fruit.
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Preserve your bounty

Fresh produce has a limited shelf life but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your harvest for longer. Fill jars with homemade pasta sauces, relishes, and pickles that can be enjoyed for months after you’ve harvested your vegetables. There are some stunning preserve recopies out there, not to mention fire ciders and other health conics you can create.

The ferocious 4 – carnivorous plants to die for! Predator plant month

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Come meet our ferocious four - your next hobby and likely, fantastic new obsession. Part plant and part pet, these fascinating predators with roots are perfect for beginners and will reward you with years of companionship, charm, and wonderment.  

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1. Venus flytrap:

Arguably the most popular predator. The ‘traps’ are two hinged lobes at the end of each leaf with hair-like trichomes that signal the snapping action. Digestive enzymes get to work as the plant absorbs a lovely nutritious soup. 

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2. Trumpet pitcher plant:

This cleaver funnel-like plant hunts using a pit-fall trap. Insects are attracted by a nectar-like secretion on the top of the leaves. The nectar is poisonous, sending intoxicated bodies tumbling down the funnel to be digested.

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3. Sundew:

These sassy plants exude a sticky substance that attracts and then traps insects and other small prey. Their meal is quickly swallowed by a web of tiny tentacles and digested by enzymes within the plant stems and leaves.

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4. Tropical pitcher:

More sack-like in appearance, they too attract insects using sweet intoxicating nectar. Prey slip on the rims of the plant, falling into a pool of poison. Soon, the insects drown inside the sticky acidic liquid, followed by digestion. 

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Top carnivorous plant tips

  • Research your plant’s particular needs and respond to the changing external conditions.
  • Predator plants thrive in nutrient-deficient soil with access to plenty of insects. 
  • When growing in containers, ensure pots have adequate drainage and are made of a material that does not adversely impact the PH and quality of the soil. 
  • Always use the correct potting medium. A blend of sphagnum peat and perlite is their favourite. Ask your GCA Garden Centre assistant for the best products to use.  

 

Read more about predator plants here: botanical boss article

Predator plant month Botanical Boss

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Predator plant month

What’s better than shark week? Predator plant month! Arguably one of the most charismatic collectables, carnivorous plants are a true spectacle in the garden. To help you become a predator botanical boss, Life is a Garden sat down with industry experts for the best advice on how to care for these exotic beauties. Your next exciting hobby and gardening project with the kids awaits!

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FAQ’s with the Carnivore Queen from Jozi Carnivores.

How much sun does my plant need?

In general, carnivorous plants need plenty of sun as they are not good at photosynthesising (tropical pitcher plants, however, need dappled shade). The most common cause of plants not thriving is insufficient or incorrect sunlight.

Can I use any water?

Predator plants require water that is nutrient, mineral, and chlorine free. Rainwater, distilled water, or reverse osmosis water are perfect for your carnivores. Borehole water can also work but this depends on the quality of your particular water source. Mineral water is not suitable because it contains, well, minerals - and our carnivores like it rough.

How do I water my carnivorous plants?

Remember that most varieties are bog plants. You can recreate their natural environment at home by simply standing the plants in a shallow tray and watering from the bottom. The tropical pitcher plant, however, is the exception again as it is found in rainforests and needs to be watered from the top.

*Find out how to make your own bog garden here: Bog in a bucket DIY

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Can I repot my predators in ordinary soil?

Normal garden soil, potting soil, and compost are too rich for carnivorous plants and will kill them quickly. Plants require an acidic, nutrient-deficient potting medium as they get most of their sustenance from the insects they catch and not through their root system via the soil.

Green-ovate your bathroom Bathroom Plants and Garden Checklist

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Green-ovate your bathroom with these moisture-loving, humidity-seeking plants.

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Indoor bathroom beauties

Landscaping indoors is a great way to both extend and create a theme. In addition, the bathroom doubles as a sweet little greenhouse for all your favourite indoor lovelies. Consider the style of the plant to inspire your container shape and colour choice. 

Tropical vibes:

Croton plants (Codiaeum variegatum) come in a large variety of foliage shapes and sizes as well as different colour variations. In general, the more variegated and colourful the croton plant, the more light it will need. They do not like the cold and will likely go through a shock period once brought home or moved. A tad fussy, but so worth it!

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For good feng shui:

Sculptural and intriguing, the lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) is a good choice for beginners. They enjoy filtered sunlight and a drop of liquid fertilizer once a month. You can even grow this plant in a vase of pebbles and water, just be sure to refresh the water every week. In addition, stalks can be trained to grow in special twists and turns. 

Striking and strange:

Guzmania flower bracts will captivate you all year round. As they tend to be top-heavy, place a stone at the bottom of containers. Plants prefer bright light, no direct sun, and an orchid mix soil base that is kept moist. Place them at eye level where you can enjoy their evergreen foliage and most unusual flowers.

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Top tip: Remember to rotate your plants every two weeks for even, straight growth. 

Top tip: Avoid fungal disease and ensure fresh air circulation by always airing out the bathroom after showering/bathing. 

Try this:

Mount the staghorn fern (Platycerium bifurcatum) against a stunning piece of driftwood on a windowsill with indirect sun. As part of the epiphyte family, these Tillandsia (air plants) thrive by absorbing moisture through their leaves. 

Bog in a bucket – your predator plant paradise DIY

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Adopting a carnivorous plant is like having a pet, so if you’re looking to begin teaching kids responsibility – this species is a great way to start. Similarly, if you’re looking for a new hobby or an engaging, long-term gardening project, a bog garden offers years of thrills and companionship. 

Did you know? The two types of trapping methods are grouped as either active or passive. Do some research to find out which style your little predator uses.

What’s a ‘bog’ anyway

In the wild, one would find our predator plants thriving inside water-logged, nutrient-deficient soil and stagnant water. Over many years, this little ecosystem of decaying plant matter and limited water flow created thick layers of mushy muck – the perfect environment for these incredible predators. Carnivorous plants certainly challenge what we know about fertilisers and the importance of ‘good’ fresh water. 

Your bog garden needs to mimic a lekker vrot swamp with 0 added nutrients as all the good stuff plants need comes from the insects they catch. It’s rather easy to create the perfect ‘bad’ environment for these plants when creating a bog in a bucked, which allows you full control over their living conditions AND external factors. When faced with hail, snow, frost, or other extreme weather, you’ll need to move your plant pets to safety. 

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You will need

1. Predator plants that have similar sun requirements and thrive from bottom watering as we’ll be replicating a marsh environment. We recommend homing these Thrilling Three together as they all enjoy full sun (at least 6 hours a day) and love wet feet. 

  • Sundew
  • Venus flytrap
  • Trumpet pitcher (NOT tropical pitcher as this guy needs dappled shade and top watering, so grow it separately)
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  • You will also need a very specific growing medium, which is a mixture of sphagnum peat and perlite, as well as reverse osmosis water or collected rainwater.

Incredible carnivores with roots Predator plant month

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February’s topic: Predator plant month
Theme: Incredible carnivores with roots!  
Industry expert: Renee Mendelow
Garden centre: Jozi Carnivores based in Midrand, Gauteng: www.jozicarnivores.co.za  

If you have yet to explore the extraordinary world of predator plants, Jozi Carnivores has your next epic gardening adventure sorted! Located on a beautiful farm with horses and trees, this specialised Garden Centre is well worth the outing and offers fascination for the whole family to engage in. With thousands of exotic carnivorous beauties to choose from, our industry expert, Renee, has provided some invaluable information and advice on how to become the ultimate predator plant parent. Come dig in, if you dare!

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1. Please tell us how your carnivore plant journey began and what made you fall in love with this most unusual species?  

I discovered carnivorous plants at a time when I had three children in primary school. We were going to so many children’s birthday parties and spending so much money on gifts that were mostly about packaging and plastic. It made me feel sad. Around that time, I spotted a little Venus flytrap in a nursery and bought it for my daughter who shared my love of nature. She adored her Venus flytrap but a day or two later she emerged looking sad and worried. “It’s my Venus flytrap” she declared, “It’s bored and lonely and just sits around all day waiting for something to happen”. We clearly had a problem on our hands, so we decided to find a friend for the lonely plant. 

We trawled the nurseries but found none. We then searched the internet and found a carnivorous grower in Cape Town. I was then exposed to the incredible world of carnivorous plants and discovered the fascinating variety available. I realised quickly that predator plants serve as an excellent educational, organic gift for children that also taught positive values such as caring for a living thing.