Predator plants for killer impact Predator plant month

Poster, Predator plant, Life is a garden, plant predator month, carnivorous plants, exotic, indigenous plants, greenery, colours, pitcher plants, Venus flytrap, flytrap, gardening, February, Gardening

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.

Poster, Predator plant, Life is a garden, plant predator month, carnivorous plants, exotic, indigenous plants, greenery, colours, pitcher plants, Venus flytrap, flytrap, gardening, February, Gardening

 

Zebra plant We love succulents

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

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!

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

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.

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

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

Eat your heart out healthily Become a Botanical Boss this January

figs, berries, harvest, life is a garden, delicious garden, delicious, greenery, colour, taste, fruits, abundance, harvest, farming, agriculture, horticulture, summer gardening, summer, gardening, fruit trees, vines, January gardening, produce-producing trees, produce, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, citrus
figs, berries, harvest, life is a garden, delicious garden, delicious, greenery, colour, taste, fruits, abundance, harvest, farming, agriculture, horticulture, summer gardening, summer, gardening, fruit trees, vines, January gardening, produce-producing trees, produce, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, citrus

New Year’s resolutions and gardening go hand in hand, especially considering the amount of healthy food we are able to grow in virtually any space. Whether you’re going for low-calorie, low-carb meals, or high fat intake and intermittent fasting, raw and purely organic or vegan – the harvest is on your side! Fuel your body for less with this mostly summer edible selection and grow guide from Life is a Garden. 

Top tip: If you missed last month’s article, click here for expert advice on how to set up a vertical hydroponic system for all-space produce growing: 

 

Calorie-conscious, nutrient-dense crops to grow

figs, berries, harvest, life is a garden, delicious garden, delicious, greenery, colour, taste, fruits, abundance, harvest, farming, agriculture, horticulture, summer gardening, summer, gardening, fruit trees, vines, January gardening, produce-producing trees, produce, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, citrus
figs, berries, harvest, life is a garden, delicious garden, delicious, greenery, colour, taste, fruits, abundance, harvest, farming, agriculture, horticulture, summer gardening, summer, gardening, fruit trees, vines, January gardening, produce-producing trees, produce, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, citrus
figs, berries, harvest, life is a garden, delicious garden, delicious, greenery, colour, taste, fruits, abundance, harvest, farming, agriculture, horticulture, summer gardening, summer, gardening, fruit trees, vines, January gardening, produce-producing trees, produce, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, citrus
figs, berries, harvest, life is a garden, delicious garden, delicious, greenery, colour, taste, fruits, abundance, harvest, farming, agriculture, horticulture, summer gardening, summer, gardening, fruit trees, vines, January gardening, produce-producing trees, produce, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, citrus

Your farming responsibility 

As gardeners, we have a direct impact on our environment, which comes as a sweet blessing because this means we CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Sustainable water practices are an essential part of gardening and we cannot ignore how precious and finite this resource is. We saw the huge impact of day 0 in the Western Cape, and the rest of the country is not immune to this possibility either. Here are some simple and effective practices from our industry expert, Charles Oosthuizen from Tuberflora Nursery.

  • “MULCH, MULCH, MULCH - why are South Africans so hesitant about this practice? We see this in so many gardens - barren, hard-baked soil raked neatly clean on a weekly basis. This is not the way forward in terms of sustainable watering practices at all.
  • Drip irrigation is the future as it is cost-effective, low maintenance and saves a lot of water.
  • Water only in the late afternoon or early in the morning.
  • Water very well only once or twice a week instead of a little bit every day.
  • Add water-retaining gel to your pots and containers.
  • The more compost and other organic material in and on top of the soil the more water retention the soil will have.

5 Top crops that keep giving Plant them once but harvest many times

Harvest, january, plants, fruit, backyard, gardening, produce producing trees, greens, vegetables, greenery, healthy, eat your heart out, fruit, gardening, life is a garden

We’re not ready to let go of the festive vibes and generous spirit of the holidays just yet! Life is a Garden would like to extend these good feels with the below list of summer crops that keep on, keep on giving. Plant them once but harvest many times – that’s the way to eat your heart out healthily this new year.

Harvest, january, plants, fruit, backyard, gardening, produce producing trees, greens, vegetables, greenery, healthy, eat your heart out, fruit, gardening, life is a garden

Your 5 top crops that keep giving and how to harvest them correctly 

  1. Spinach: Harvest only 1/3 of the plant at a time by cutting your chosen leaves at their base, above the crown (where all stems meet). You don’t have to work your way from outside in, so long as you harvest a mix of new and mature leaves. 
Harvest, january, plants, fruit, backyard, gardening, produce producing trees, greens, vegetables, greenery, healthy, eat your heart out, fruit, gardening, life is a garden
Harvest, january, plants, fruit, backyard, gardening, produce producing trees, greens, vegetables, greenery, healthy, eat your heart out, fruit, gardening, life is a garden

2. Fancy lettuce: Apply the same technique as with spinach and remember to mulch around the plants very well. Adequate water and moisture will discourage bolting, which is when the plants go to seed – so perhaps you’d even like to experiment.

Harvest, january, plants, fruit, backyard, gardening, produce producing trees, greens, vegetables, greenery, healthy, eat your heart out, fruit, gardening, life is a garden
Harvest, january, plants, fruit, backyard, gardening, produce producing trees, greens, vegetables, greenery, healthy, eat your heart out, fruit, gardening, life is a garden

Top tip: When harvesting leaves, pick them early morning (for crispness) or late afternoon. Avoid the hottest parts of the day to not stress plants unnecessarily. 

3. Tomatoes: If it looks ripe and smells good, pick that bad boy! For a repeated lush harvest, prune back low-lying branches that touch the ground and pinch out smaller suckers that appear below the first cluster of flowers. Also remove any yellow leaves.

Harvest, january, plants, fruit, backyard, gardening, produce producing trees, greens, vegetables, greenery, healthy, eat your heart out, fruit, gardening, life is a garden
Harvest, january, plants, fruit, backyard, gardening, produce producing trees, greens, vegetables, greenery, healthy, eat your heart out, fruit, gardening, life is a garden

4. Green peppers: Here’s a bit of a Catch-22. On the one hand, the more you pick, the more produce you’ll get. However, the longer you leave the peppers on the plant, the sweeter they will be and the higher the Vitamin C content – choice is yours!

Harvest, january, plants, fruit, backyard, gardening, produce producing trees, greens, vegetables, greenery, healthy, eat your heart out, fruit, gardening, life is a garden
Harvest, january, plants, fruit, backyard, gardening, produce producing trees, greens, vegetables, greenery, healthy, eat your heart out, fruit, gardening, life is a garden

5. Strawberries: No catch of picking in plenty here! The secret lies in an organic fertiliser that will increase flowering, resulting in more fruit, faster.

Delicious Produce Trees & vines for homegrown abundance

fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,

January’s topic: Eat your heart out healthily
Theme: Delicious produce-producing trees and vines 
Industry expert: Charles Oosthuizen
Grower: Tuberflora Nursery based in Muldersdrift, Gauteng: https://www.tuberflora.co.za/  

Life is a Garden met with expert grower, Tuberflora, to find out about the latest edible hybrids and delicious fruit tree varieties available this summer at your GCA Garden Centre. With serious water restrictions experienced across the country recently, are you equally mulch-serious yet? Come get some professional growing advice and choose the perfect produce-producing tree for gardens and patios of all sizes. 

fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,

1. Your website lists such a juicy, crunchy, and zesty variety of produce-producing trees. Please give us your top 5 summer must-have fruit trees that our gardeners can look out for at their GCA Garden Centre this season. 

  • Pomegranates (King of fruits)
  • Figs (Queen of fruits)
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Citrus
fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,
fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,

2. We love your selection of the more uncommon nut, berry, and fruit tree/plant varieties. For our gardeners looking to grow something special, which trees/plants would you recommend and are there any growing tips to be aware of? 

We are introducing wine grape varieties this year, and although they are small and seeded, they are edible. Grapes are water-wise and thrive in hot, dry weather conditions.

We also sell special heirloom varieties of figs and pomegranates. In fact, Giving Trees grow the biggest selection of figs and pomegranates in the country and their aim is to preserve the huge gene pool of varieties for future generations. Figs and pomegranates are special spiritual plants as they bring good energy to your garden. Figs and pomegranates are tolerant of hot, dry weather conditions as well once they are established. Persimmons are tough, easy to grow and very rewarding.

fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,
fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,

3. We recently experienced water restrictions across the country. Are there any water-wise growing/watering methods and practices you could recommend that allow consumers to sustainably grow food?

WOW your watermelon DIY

Wow your watermelon, recipe, fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,

The exciting thrill of a successful watermelon harvest doesn’t end at picking your prized fruit at just the right time. Have you ever wondered how to hero this bootylicious edible even further? These creative carving ideas and mouth-watering recipes from Life is a Garden are sure to help you get all the WOW’s from your watermelon this summer (with no added sugar and vegan friendliness)! 

Frozen coco-melon lollies 

Ingredients: Fresh watermelon and any other soft ripe fruit of your choice (try berries, kiwi or banana) and a can of coconut milk.

Equipment: A blender and ice lolly moulds for the freezer.

Method: First, blend your second fruit choice, such as blackberries, and fill a quarter of the lolly mould. Pop in the freezer to set. Then, blend your watermelon (remove as many seeds as possible) together with the coconut milk and pour the mix into the mould (on top of your frozen berries) and freeze immediately. Enjoy your double-coloured, homemade lollies! 

 

Try this: Add a handful of fresh garden herbs when blending your bottom fruit mix for a pop of surprise flavour at the end. 

Wow your watermelon, recipe, fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,
Wow your watermelon, recipe, fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,

Fancy-pants punch bowl 

Ingredients: A whole fresh watermelon, a bottle of soda water, lemon/lime slices, crushed ice, and mint leaves.

Equipment: A sharp knife, large spoon, blender, and ladle for serving

Method: Cut your watermelon in half so that you have two halves that can stand on their own. Hollow out the inside flesh and pop all the goodness into the blender, give it a whizz. Then, pour your watermelon blend back into its shell, slowly add the soda water followed by the lemon/lime slices, and then the crushed ice. Give it a gentle stir and add mint leaves to garnish – voila! 

Try this: Add a splash of gin or rum to the punch and a tot of passionfruit cordial as an adult’s only option. 

Hybrid gift giving December perfect plant picks

december gifts, december, life is a garden, fruit, festive, greenery, garden, gardening, plants, flowers, beauty, gardening, indigenous,

Give a living gift this holiday and show off your eco-tribe vibes with a fancy new addition to your loved one’s plant fam. Here is Life is a Garden’s top 5 latest seasonal hybrid plant picks.

1. For bae: The Hannon rose

This new hybrid tea rose has gorgeous deep pink flowers that bloom throughout the season. An added bonus is that they are exceptional cut-flowers, perfect for adding ambience on date night dine-ins. They have a mild perfume as well. 

Planting and perks: Full sun beds or containers, cold and frost hardy + petals used for DIY pot pourri (add essential oils for extra heavenly fragrance). 

december gifts, december, life is a garden, fruit, festive, greenery, garden, gardening, plants, flowers, beauty, gardening, indigenous,

2. For bestie: Hibiscus graff 

Here is the latest hibiscus species that boasts even longer-lasting flowers. Speaking of blooms, hibiscus bushes bear large flowers in bright colours, creating an exotic feel to any space they occupy. Wherever planted – they’ll steal the show. 

Planting and perks: Full sun, plenty of fertiliser, water daily + petals can be brewed to create a simply delish floral tea (good for hair and digestion).

december gifts, december, life is a garden, fruit, festive, greenery, garden, gardening, plants, flowers, beauty, gardening, indigenous,

3. For moms: Hydrangea ‘endless summer’ aka the Christmas rose (but on steroids

Living up to its name, this new hybrid blooms in massive pink or blue mophead flowers on both old and new wood, you guessed it - all summer long.

Planting and perks: Partial shade beds or containers, frost hardy + customisation option by adjusting the soil’s pH to yield different colour blooms (ask Google).

december gifts, december, life is a garden, fruit, festive, greenery, garden, gardening, plants, flowers, beauty, gardening, indigenous,
december gifts, december, life is a garden, fruit, festive, greenery, garden, gardening, plants, flowers, beauty, gardening, indigenous,

4. For rad dads: Pelargonium interspecific ‘rose splash’ 

A real breakthrough in floral genetics, the ‘rose splash’ features large, semi-double flowers with a dark pink centre and lighter pink borders. They reward gardens with outstanding colour throughout summer and are quick growing. 

Planting and perks: Full to partial sun beds or baskets, drought hardy + resilient to a little neglect once established (just avoid frost).

Easy aloes for beds and containers Self-parenting plants

aloe, industry expert, december, greenery, life is a garden, colour, indigenous, hybrid, south africa, self parenting, flowers, plants, red, orange, soil, garden, gardening

If you’re looking for no-fuss plants that will survive without you for a while, aloes are the perfect choice. Life is a Garden sat down with The Aloe Farm to find out which aloes perform the best and what maintenance practices you need to know. Remember to visit your local GCA Garden Centre for all your succulent needs and great advice to help you, help your plants self-parent this holiday.

December’s topic: Self-parenting plants
Theme: Easy aloes for beds and containers  
Industry expert: Andy De Wet 
Garden centre: Aloe Farm based in Hartbeespoort, Gauteng: www.thealoefarm.co.za

1. We would love to hear about your personal plant journey. How did it all start and what about aloes inspired you to make them your main focus at the Aloe Farm?  

I always loved nature and especially animals as a child, but my horticultural inspiration certainly came from my dad who was an avid gardener his whole life. He bought some aloes when I was a botany student in 1972, and I fell in love with them. I began reading aloe books and collecting species. I soon realised that natural hybrids occur in the wild and was curious about what I could create if I hybridised selected parents from different locations. 

I then began making my first (not too exciting) initial combinations in 1973 and over time I saw the commercial possibilities, which is when the real fun started with clear breeding objectives. These goals developed as I gained experience in retail, wholesale and landscaping. 

I believe that if you want a successful business you have to be unique and The Aloe Farm was an obvious opportunity to me as it could become an interesting indigenous destination nursery, built on a unique strength.

aloe, industry expert, december, greenery, life is a garden, colour, indigenous, hybrid, south africa, self parenting, flowers, plants, red, orange, soil, garden, gardening
aloe, industry expert, december, greenery, life is a garden, colour, indigenous, hybrid, south africa, self parenting, flowers, plants, red, orange, soil, garden, gardening

2. Your website is truly an aloe grower’s dream! With so many to choose from, what advice could you offer our beginner gardeners? 

Make your spekkie sparkle DIY

December, spekboom, spekkie, diy, life is a garden, plant, Christmas, garden, greenery, garden, activities for the kids, decorations, decorate
December, spekboom, spekkie, diy, life is a garden, plant, Christmas, garden, greenery, garden, activities for the kids, decorations, decorate

Instead of a faux tree, why not go for an indigenous living lovely this year? Life is a Garden’s sweet and simple DIY will give you some inspiration to bedazzle your spekboom (Portulacaria afra) for that holiday spirit. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, you could always decorate your tree with other fun goodies and use your creations as cheerful table décor. 

Did you know? Spekboom leaves are edible and non-toxic to animals and humans. Add a few leaves to your salad for a juicy citrus flavour (and bragging rights). 

 

You will need

  • A spekboom from your GCA garden centre (or multiple trees if you have many children who would like to each make their own spekkie sparkle)
  • A lovely new pot 
  • Potting soil and compost for transplanting 
  • Decoration goodies (we chose a Christmas theme, but different coloured ribbons and bells would also look fab) 
  • A cohort of kids, or just one
December, spekboom, spekkie, diy, life is a garden, plant, Christmas, garden, greenery, garden, activities for the kids, decorations, decorate
December, spekboom, spekkie, diy, life is a garden, plant, Christmas, garden, greenery, garden, activities for the kids, decorations, decorate

How to 

  1. Transplant your spekboom into its new home. Remember to push from the base up and not grab your plant by the neck. Add your potting soil and compost mix, water well, and allow it to drain. 
  2. With all your décor charms on display, encourage the kids to play and have fun! 
  3. Once your spekkie has undergone the makeover, place it in a sunny spot outdoors, a bright light area on the patio, or indoors near a window. Water your plant well, about once a week (depending on its location) and check out our guide below to ensure your plant thrives till next year. 

Pest patrol: Although not prone to pests, high humidity can sometimes invite mealy bugs or scale. Visit your GCA Garden Centre for appropriate products that will take care of the nasties.

December, spekboom, spekkie, diy, life is a garden, plant, Christmas, garden, greenery, garden, activities for the kids, decorations, decorate
December, spekboom, spekkie, diy, life is a garden, plant, Christmas, garden, greenery, garden, activities for the kids, decorations, decorate
December, spekboom, spekkie, diy, life is a garden, plant, Christmas, garden, greenery, garden, activities for the kids, decorations, decorate

Unhappy spekkie symptoms and diagnoses 

 

  • Scorched yellowing foliage

Problem: Too much direct light or sun.

Self-parenting plants Botanical Boss

botanical boss, aloe, plant parenting, sel watering, greenery, life is a garden, gardening, colours, plants, DIY, watering,upcycling, water, growing, hack
botanical boss, aloe, plant parenting, sel watering, greenery, life is a garden, gardening, colours, plants, DIY, watering,upcycling, water, growing, hack

We know that the struggle is real when planning a trip – who will look after your plant children and will they get enough water? As such, Life is a Garden would like to help all the plant moms and dads with some DIY upcycling watering hacks and drought-hardy plant picks that will help your garden self-parent while you enjoy a much-deserved holiday. 

 

Short trip bottle watering (outdoors - 3 to 4 days)

  • Suitable for: Larger beds (use multiple bottles) or containers in full sun to semi-shade.
  • Equipment needed: Empty wine bottles or any sturdy bottle with a small mouth. 
  • Preparation: Ensure there is space to place the bottle that won’t damage foliage or roots
  • Method: Fill the bottle with water and then, while covering the opening with your thumb, flip it upside-down and quickly shove the bottle near the base of the plant (removing your thumb just before). Push the neck down to make sure the bottle is secure and reinforce with stones if needed. 

Troubleshooting: If you see that the water is not moving or perhaps your soil is very clay-like, glue a mesh screen over the mouth to prevent soil from clogging the bottle opening.

botanical boss, aloe, plant parenting, sel watering, greenery, life is a garden, gardening, colours, plants, DIY, watering,upcycling, water, growing, hack
botanical boss, aloe, plant parenting, sel watering, greenery, life is a garden, gardening, colours, plants, DIY, watering,upcycling, water, growing, hack

Longer trip bottle dripper (outdoors - 4 to 7 days)

  • Suitable for: Larger beds (use multiple bottles) or containers in full sun to semi-shade.
  • Equipment needed: Plastic water/juice bottles (size dependent on your area/container) and a drill with a thin drill bit. 
  • Preparation: Dig a hole near the plant that will be large enough to bury the bottle up to its neck, take care to avoid damaging roots. 
  • Method: Drill three holes at the bottle of the plastic bottle and 3 holes on each side then pop it into the prepared hole (add more holes for large bottles). Gently level the soil around the bottle and fill it with water.

Ethereal air plants   Sassy, soilless gardening

Airplants, tillandsia, trichomes, November, garden, air, soilless, Greenery, life is a garden, decor, hanging, staghorn, butzii, colour, soil
Airplants, tillandsia, trichomes, November, garden, air, soilless, Greenery, life is a garden, decor, hanging, staghorn, butzii, colour, soil

With a motto like 'freedom to create', In2plants is a wonderland of endless imagination. Their exquisite collection of air plants is enough to make any gardener rethink the way they see soilless growing. Their Garden Centre offers exclusivity and a one-on-one shopping experience – you’ll have to make an appointment before visiting. Alternatively, you can shop online via their website and they will deliver your new collector’s item to anywhere in South Africa. Below is everything you need to know about growing ethereal, exotic air plants.

November’s topic: Soilless, sassy gardening
Theme: Ethereal air plants   
Industry Experts: Gerrit and Marinda Snyman 
Garden Centre: In2plants based in Wonderboom, Pretoria https://www.in2plants.co.za/ 

1. Exploring your website is so much fun! Please tell us about your journey with air plants and what drew you to this mysterious Tillandsia genus.   

Our passion for these plants started about 18 years ago. Tradition in our house is that you never buy your spouse flowers; it will be either a rock, piece of wood or a plant. Gerrit travelled a lot locally for work purposes and therefore had ample opportunities to obtain plants. Coming back from holiday, the car would always be overloaded with plants, even on my lap if needed. We started off with orchids and staghorn ferns until we got hooked on Tillandsia. 

Our first Tillandsia came from Nelspruit 18 years ago - Tillandsia seleriana. We beagn with this one as a companion plant for our other plants. This plant did not require any soil or roots, which fascinated us as this was in contradiction to growing many other different plants. Tillandsia air plants are epiphytes and can be mounted on wood or any other suitable material. Perfect! Now we could use all our pieces of beautiful wood collected.  

Using little space and giving lots of opportunities to grow vertically, we suddenly had more space to fill, which was super exciting.

Sassy, soilless gardening Botanical Boss

Hydoponics, hydroponic growing, vertical growing, vertical farming, gardening, life is a garden, greenery, fruits, vegetables, water, soilless, tank
Hydoponics, hydroponic growing, vertical growing, vertical farming, gardening, life is a garden, greenery, fruits, vegetables, water, soilless, tank

Air plants and hydroponic growing haven opened a world of creative gardening potential, full of attitude, expression, and Earth-consciousness. If traditional gardening doesn’t perk up your green fingers, outlandish air plants and woo-girl hydroponics will do it. Life is a Garden’s industry experts have shared valuable insights to help you successfully embark on a soilless adventure this summer.  

Outlandish air plants  

The Tillandsia genus (air plants) are epiphytes, meaning they grow without soil and instead, use other plants (non-parasitically) or suitable objects to grow on (like a gorgeous piece of driftwood). They are a truly fascinating species to add to your patio collection. Try these statement-making, exotic treats:  

  • T. Mali Dofitas: Originally from the Philippines, this perennial evergreen will love a dappled sun to semi-shade location. Their spidery, upright rosettes of thick red-green leaves will stay vibrant even when not in bloom.  

  

  • T. Tectorum, Peru: Native to the Andes mountain of Ecuador and Peru, this large beauty can handle full sun with excellent air circulation. Their striking leaves are covered in gorgeous long, white, velvety trichomes.  

  

  • T. Love Knot: This charming hybrid enjoys good natural light with no direct sun. Their soft-curving leaves show off a dramatic colour scheme of reds, greens, and yellows. Purple flowers are a sensation when in bloom!  

Did you know? Tillandsia use their roots for anchoring and absorb water and nutrients through their trichomes (leaves).  

Airplants, tillandsia, trichomes, November, garden, air, soilless, Greenery, life is a garden, decor, hanging, staghorn, butzii, colour, soil, hydroponics, water, vertical, botanical boss
Airplants, tillandsia, trichomes, November, garden, air, soilless, Greenery, life is a garden, decor, hanging, staghorn, butzii, colour, soil, hydroponics, water, vertical, botanical boss
Airplants, tillandsia, trichomes, November, garden, air, soilless, Greenery, life is a garden, decor, hanging, staghorn, butzii, colour, soil, hydroponics, water, vertical, botanical boss
Airplants, tillandsia, trichomes, November, garden, air, soilless, Greenery, life is a garden, decor, hanging, staghorn, butzii, colour, soil, hydroponics, water, vertical, botanical boss

Tillandsia hits and misses  

A winning recipe for success begins with bright light, good air circulation, and ample nutrients. Once you have these three in check, consider the following top air plant tips.  

  • Sun: Morning filtered sun is your best bet although some varieties can tolerate more sun depending on the species.  
  • Fertilise: Ask your GCA Garden Centre assistant for product advice and fertilise your air plants every second week. 
  • Watering: Use rain or spring water when spraying or submerging plants (check your particular plant’s needs) and avoid tap water that has damaging chemicals.

Air plant spiral DIY

omes, November, garden, air, soilless, Greenery, life is a garden, decor, hanging, staghorn, butzii, colour, soil

Air plants are part of the fascinating Tillandsia genus that grow without soil. There are over 500 enchanting species that really showcase the weird and wonderful creations of Mother Nature. Add a sassy spark to the patio with Life is a Garden’s air plant spiral. 

Fun fact: The closest cousin of the air plant is the pineapple bush! Also, this genus is non-toxic to pets and children.  

Did you know? Air plants are Epiphytes, meaning they grow on other plants and natural objects (non-parasitically). They are found all over the world and often in the oddest, most unlikely places. 

  

To make an air plant spiral you will need: 

  • A stunning air plant (available at a GCA Garden Centre) 
  • A beautiful river stone  
  • Pliers  
  • Galvanised soft wire (not copper as it is toxic to air plants)  
  • A flat surface to work on  
omes, November, garden, air, soilless, Greenery, life is a garden, decor, hanging, staghorn, butzii, colour, soil
omes, November, garden, air, soilless, Greenery, life is a garden, decor, hanging, staghorn, butzii, colour, soil

 How to: 

  • Spray your air plant with purified water and set aside to drip dry  
  • Depending on the size of the plant, estimate how much wire you would need. For our small air plant, we used just over a metre of wire.  
  • Cut the wire using the pliers (big brothers or sisters may need to help out). 
omes, November, garden, air, soilless, Greenery, life is a garden, decor, hanging, staghorn, butzii, colour, soil
omes, November, garden, air, soilless, Greenery, life is a garden, decor, hanging, staghorn, butzii, colour, soil
  • Wrap the wire around the stone and secure with a looped knot.  
  • Next comes the fun part! Spiral the end of your wire so that it will cradle your air plant gently. This may take some re-bending and sizing to get a good fit. Take care not to damage the air plant foliage during the process and this may stress the plant.  
omes, November, garden, air, soilless, Greenery, life is a garden, decor, hanging, staghorn, butzii, colour, soil
omes, November, garden, air, soilless, Greenery, life is a garden, decor, hanging, staghorn, butzii, colour, soil
  • Depending on the age of the green fingers at play, you could get really creative and big with your spirals. We chose a rather simple design to allow our little lady to really do it all herself.   
  • Your DIY living décor is now ready to be enjoyed as inspiring table, wall, or centrepiece décor. 

Hydroponics for the home gardener Sassy, soilless gardening

Hydoponics, hydroponic growing, vertical growing, vertical farming, gardening, life is a garden, greenery, fruits, vegetables, water, soilless, tank
Hydoponics, hydroponic growing, vertical growing, vertical farming, gardening, life is a garden, greenery, fruits, vegetables, water, soilless, tank

Make a statement and make a difference, save space and maximise your harvest – how? Hydroponic farming, baby! Life is a Garden has turned up the sass meter this month with expert insight from Timothy Damons, an equally high-spirited soilless enthusiast with a passion for LIFE. Debunk some hydroponic misconceptions, learn how to set up and maintain a system, and be inspired by the flowers and food you can grow. Let’s dig in, or rather, let’s pump up!  

November’s topic: Soilless, sassy gardening
Theme: Hydroponics for the home gardener  
Industry expert: Timothy Damons based in Saldanha Bay on the West Coast  

1. We love finding new members from the eco-tribe! Please share your story with us: What lead you to hydroponics? How did your journey with this growing method begin?  

I adore nature and have always loved gardening. I love being out in the open, taking in the fresh morning air and witnessing all the weird and wonderful things that planet Earth has to offer. Seeing plants growing into something beautiful and nutritious gives me tremendous joy. When I left the corporate world in 2017, I decided to take a hydroponics course with a well-known hydroponicist named John Sandison. I chose hydroponics because I wanted to understand how to grow good quality fruit and vegetables in an environmentally friendly, sustainable way. I also lived in a big city at the time and generally, space for gardening is limited. I wanted to explore how people can grow edibles in the city without the large-scale footprint that our commercial farming methods have. Vertical farming is truly the answer to this conundrum and that is why I decided to pursue it.  

Hydoponics, hydroponic growing, vertical growing, vertical farming, gardening, life is a garden, greenery, fruits, vegetables, water, soilless, tank
Hydoponics, hydroponic growing, vertical growing, vertical farming, gardening, life is a garden, greenery, fruits, vegetables, water, soilless, tank

2. The system you have built sounds very interesting and easy for a home gardener to set up. Please give us an overview of your vertical recirculation hydroponic growing station.

 

This group of plants called epiphytes, seem to hail from another planet. Using their roots as anchors only, they come in an array of shapes and colours. Needing very little to no soil, Tillandsias and orchids can become great house mates under the right conditions. If these adorable, supernatural plants have piqued your interest, tune into this Masterclass where we look at varieties, how to display them and take care of them.

SANA Green Business Magazine Issue 23

SANA, magazine, life is a garden, publication, gardening, horticulture, greenery, read
SANA, magazine, life is a garden, publication, gardening, horticulture, greenery, read

SANA Green Business Magazine Issue 23

Our SANA online Green Business Magazine, Issue 23 is available!  We have featured loads of interesting articles including a focus article on SANA’s 75 Platinum Jubilee, Business leader profiles, SANA Awards 2022, Member achievements, Reading Retail, Focus on Life is a Garden and much more.

Go to https://tinyurl.com/GBMIssue23 to read the magazine online or download and read at your leisure.

Garden Day

Garden Day is a chance for people across the country to down tools and celebrate their gardens. Everyone can take part, regardless of the size of their gardens – rolling lawns, potted window sills, urban rooftops and patio planters – all are welcome.

What you do on Sunday, 9 October 2022 is completely up to you – the most important thing is to head outdoors, wear a flower crown, and welcome Spring with a garden celebration.

Modern Xeriscaping in South Africa Industry Expert Q&A

October, Life is a garden, xeriscaping, cacti, water wise, rocks, stones, pebbles, plants, greenery, garden, gardening, succulents, backyard, spring, summer, decorative gardening, landscaping
October, Life is a garden, xeriscaping, cacti, water wise, rocks, stones, pebbles, plants, greenery, garden, gardening, succulents, backyard, spring, summer, decorative gardening, landscaping

Are you ready to take your environmentalism, landscaping, and garden art skills to the next level? Industry expert, Marionette from Plant Paradise describes xeriscaping as “the practice of designing landscapes to reduce the need for water, to have minimal maintenance, and to create a clean, stunning look that is sustainable all year round”. If this perks your green fingers, we’ve got loads more insight and inspiration for you below.  

Plant Paradise has won the award for best garden centre in SA 7 times, giving you even more of an incentive to visit them and experience quality-approved customer service, excellent plants, and top-notch products. 

October’s Topic: Rock-on Decorating
Theme: Modern Xeriscaping in South Africa 
Industry Expert: Marionette Hoffman
Garden Centre Supplier: Plant Paradise based in Moreleta Park, Pretoria: www.plantparadise.co.za  

1. How did you first begin your landscaping journey and what have been some of your favourite projects to work on (and where could our readers receive some inspiration from your stunning work)? 

After finishing my studies, I moved to England and worked there as a landscaper and horticulturist for two years. After that, I moved back to SA and started my career at Plant Paradise Garden Centre as a horticulturist and eventually became the landscaper - never looked back since! Landscaping and creating different displays on the garden centre floor is my passion. My favourite projects will always be xeriscaping.  My most favourite project of them all was House Thompson in Silverlakes, Pretoria, and House Leahy in Boardwalk Meander, also in Pretoria. The best place to view my work is at Plant Paradise. Our website is also a fantastic platform to view some of my gardens I’ve done for clients. 

October, Life is a garden, xeriscaping, cacti, water wise, rocks, stones, pebbles, plants, greenery, garden, gardening, succulents, backyard, spring, summer, decorative gardening, landscaping
October, Life is a garden, xeriscaping, cacti, water wise, rocks, stones, pebbles, plants, greenery, garden, gardening, succulents, backyard, spring, summer, decorative gardening, landscaping
October, Life is a garden, xeriscaping, cacti, water wise, rocks, stones, pebbles, plants, greenery, garden, gardening, succulents, backyard, spring, summer, decorative gardening, landscaping
October, Life is a garden, xeriscaping, cacti, water wise, rocks, stones, pebbles, plants, greenery, garden, gardening, succulents, backyard, spring, summer, decorative gardening, landscaping

2. Based on your years of experience, could you please tell our gardeners what exactly xeriscaping in South Africa is and why they should consider implementing these practices in their own garden?

Rock-on Gardening  October Botanical Boss

October, Life is a garden, xeriscaping, cacti, water wise, rocks, stones, pebbles, plants, greenery, garden, gardening, succulents, backyard, spring, summer, decorative gardening, landscaping, botanical boss

Gone are the days when rock gardens mean a cactus and stone desert. Have you heard about xeriscaping? Ever thought about pebbles and semi-precious stones as yard art? Life is a Garden sat down with industry experts to get the best advice, inspiration, and plant picks to help you save time and water while maximising your garden’s aesthetic beauty.  

Rocking around 

Stones and pebbles can become works of art in their own right. With so many different colours and textures, arrangements and complimenting accessories, rock gardens are for anyone looking to make a statement. The key to long-term success and almost no maintenance is good quality weed guard sheeting beneath your stone feature. Here are some rocking yard art ideas:

  • The striking minimalist: Pair pure white pebbles with contrasting black tiles or black painted pavement slabs to give walkways and entrances a sleek look. Alternatively, go for equally bold black pebbles with a few summer-flowering, white button sedge (Kylinga alba) ornamental grasses to set off the contrast. This indigenous sun-loving evergreen produces a clustered white flower head that is carried on an elegant, long slender stem.
October, Life is a garden, xeriscaping, cacti, water wise, rocks, stones, pebbles, plants, greenery, garden, gardening, succulents, backyard, spring, summer, decorative gardening, landscaping, botanical boss
October, Life is a garden, xeriscaping, cacti, water wise, rocks, stones, pebbles, plants, greenery, garden, gardening, succulents, backyard, spring, summer, decorative gardening, landscaping, botanical boss

 

  • Earth child: You can purchase bags of pink rose quartz (pebbles and rough stones) to use as centrepiece stone mandalas or walkable labyrinths. Pair your crystal arrangements with other softer stone shades (river rocks are lovely) and bring in some local steekblaarblinkgras (Melinis nerviglumis) to compliment the pink notes from the rose quartz. This very hardy ornamental grass will thrive in full sun and produces the sweetest plumes of fluffy pink to red seeds that appear all year round and attract seed-eating birds.
October, Life is a garden, xeriscaping, cacti, water wise, rocks, stones, pebbles, plants, greenery, garden, gardening, succulents, backyard, spring, summer, decorative gardening, landscaping, botanical boss
October, Life is a garden, xeriscaping, cacti, water wise, rocks, stones, pebbles, plants, greenery, garden, gardening, succulents, backyard, spring, summer, decorative gardening, landscaping, botanical boss
  • Dare to be different: Ever heard of rock balancing? This is a recreational activity where different-sized stones/pebbles are precisely stacked on top of each other to create a beautiful work of art.