Grow To Eat Festival

Join us at Heckers Garden Centre for our highly anticipated annual Grow to Eat Festival!

This exciting event will take place from September 30th, 2023, to October 8th, 2023.

The festival offers a fantastic opportunity to explore the incredible world of edible gardening from various countries around the world.

We are located at 1 Kirschner road, Westwood, Boksburg.

Admission is absolutely FREE, so bring your friends, family and even pets on leashes along to discover the wonders of gardening and culinary delights.

Get ready to embark on a journey through vibrant displays and interactive workshops that will inspire and educate attendees on the versatility and deliciousness of herbs, vegetables, fruits, and edible flowers.

Throughout the festival, you can expect an array of special offers on herbs and veggies, ensuring that you have the opportunity to take home the very best produce. Learn from expert exhibitors, suppliers, and enthusiasts who will share their knowledge and provide valuable tips on growing, harvesting, and incorporating these international flavours into your cooking.

Immerse yourself in the captivating cultures and cuisines of each country with our captivating displays dedicated to Mexico, Italy, India, South Africa, France, Portugal, and Asia. Explore the unique herbs and veggies that define each culinary tradition and gain inspiration for your own garden and kitchen.

This year’s festival will also be in the same time as the Rugby World Cup so you will definitely see a rugby twist in our South Africa exhibit.

Mark your calendars for the Grow to Eat Festival at Heckers Garden Centre from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily. We look forward to seeing you there! Keep an eye out on our Facebook page for more announcements on exhibitors and workshops.

-Secure Parking
-FREE Entrance – No booking required
-Various exhibitors and displays
-Interactive workshops – Will be announced and booking is essential
-Restaurant onsite
-Loads of edible plants on special
-Sample beverages to quench your thirst
-Wheelchair accessible
-Pet friendly
-Kids planting corner (all year round

Essential oils for beginners Botanical Boss

Natural Medicine, Essential Oils, DIY Essential Oils, Garden Remedies, Gardening For Health, Herbal Medicine, Plant-Based Healing, Garden Therapy, Green Medicine, Holistic Health, Herb Garden, Aromatherapy, DIY Garden Essentials, Healing Herbs, Nature Cures, Self Sufficiency, Herbal Remedies, Wellness From The Garden, Sustainable Health, Garden To Table, Herbology, Life is a garden

If you’re looking to take your homegrown pharmacy to the next level, essential oil making opens a whole new, exciting gardening doorway. Like all new adventures, trial and error is what learning is all about, so don’t be afraid to try something new. Life is a Garden, with help from industry experts at  Amorentia Estate & Nursery have provided an epic beginners guide to essential oil gardening for the whole family to benefit from. 

 

Get started: Choose a carrier oil

When using essential oils, it is important to dilute them with a carrier oil such as jojoba, rosehip, baobab, marula, almond, or coconut oil before applying to the skin. It is also recommended to do a patch test on a small area of skin before using a new essential oil to check for any allergic reactions. Essential oils are used in low doses because they are extremely potent, and safety should also be researched for medical conditions as well as pregnancy and breastfeeding. There are many other applications for essential oils like candle burners, room sprays, steaming, and bathing.Lauren Strever

Natural Medicine, Essential Oils, DIY Essential Oils, Garden Remedies, Gardening For Health, Herbal Medicine, Plant-Based Healing, Garden Therapy, Green Medicine, Holistic Health, Herb Garden, Aromatherapy, DIY Garden Essentials, Healing Herbs, Nature Cures, Self Sufficiency, Herbal Remedies, Wellness From The Garden, Sustainable Health, Garden To Table, Herbology, Life is a garden
Natural Medicine, Essential Oils, DIY Essential Oils, Garden Remedies, Gardening For Health, Herbal Medicine, Plant-Based Healing, Garden Therapy, Green Medicine, Holistic Health, Herb Garden, Aromatherapy, DIY Garden Essentials, Healing Herbs, Nature Cures, Self Sufficiency, Herbal Remedies, Wellness From The Garden, Sustainable Health, Garden To Table, Herbology, Life is a garden

Get growing: Top plant picks

1. Rosemary is one of those mighty medicinal powerhouses! This plant helps to alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, promote hair growth, act as an antifungal, antibacterial, and antispasmodic. When inhaled, rosemary is effective against respiratory infections because of its antiseptic properties.

2. Lavender is well-known for its calming and relaxing properties. These plants have been used for centuries to help to reduce stress and anxiety, promote restful sleep, soothe headaches, and even keep bad vibes away. It is also a great anti-inflammatory, insect-repellent, antifungal, and remedy for a huge variety of skin ailments.

Natural Medicine, Essential Oils, DIY Essential Oils, Garden Remedies, Gardening For Health, Herbal Medicine, Plant-Based Healing, Garden Therapy, Green Medicine, Holistic Health, Herb Garden, Aromatherapy, DIY Garden Essentials, Healing Herbs, Nature Cures, Self Sufficiency, Herbal Remedies, Wellness From The Garden, Sustainable Health, Garden To Table, Herbology, Life is a garden
Natural Medicine, Essential Oils, DIY Essential Oils, Garden Remedies, Gardening For Health, Herbal Medicine, Plant-Based Healing, Garden Therapy, Green Medicine, Holistic Health, Herb Garden, Aromatherapy, DIY Garden Essentials, Healing Herbs, Nature Cures, Self Sufficiency, Herbal Remedies, Wellness From The Garden, Sustainable Health, Garden To Table, Herbology, Life is a garden

3. Cape jasmin (Gardenia augusta) is known in perfumery to be one of the most well-balanced oils and can be used as a top, middle, or base note.

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?

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.

Hydroponics And Beyond Workshop at HomeGrowers Edenvale

Live and on site at HomeGrowers Edenvale
Welcome to another incredible HomeGrowers Hydroponic workshop.
During this workshop you will be exposed to the following:
1. What is Hydroponics?
2. Why hydroponics?
3. What can I grow in Hydroponics?
4. Is Hydroponics for me?
5. What are my options when considering a hydroponic system?
6. How do I manage my hydroponic system?
7. How to manage my nutrients and pH levels.
This workshop is offered FREE OF CHARGE.
We will cover most of the systems available from HomeGrowers so that you’re able to get a real life view of how herbs and vegetables are grown, produced and harvested.
RSVP
Contact: 061 103 7121

Boosting your immune system with Herbs and Vegetables for the winter season

Give your health a kick start this Sunday 10am at HomeGrowers Kensington.
Boosting your immune system for winter using vegetables, herbs and medicinal mushrooms.
Join us this Sunday morning to learn all about how you can bolster your immune system in preparation for the flu season and the other illnesses that appear over the cold seasons. We will be discussing a selection of herbs, fruit, vegetables and fungi that can help keep you and your wallet safe from medical expenses this winter and different methods of using these versatile natural remedies to your benefit.
RSVP
Kim: 0824852472

Taste n Tour Herbs at HomeGrowers Edenvale

Wow. Let HomeGrowers of Edenvale take you on a tour of our magical herbs. Experience scent and taste like no other. Learn how best to use these herbs in your every day life.
We will be offering a FREE taste sample.
This workshop is held FREE of charge.

Get your garden into shape January Checklist

Get your garden into shape and looking snazzy for the new year. There’s a lot to look forward to and a huge selection of flowers and edibles to be planted now. A little maintenance goes a long way in neatening up your garden’s appearance, so be sure to check out our handy hacks.

 

Sow a salad

What better way to get your garden and health back on track then by sowing nutritious leafy greens for those summer salads. The following edibles can be sown now:

  • Lettuce
  • Rocket
  • Spinach and Swiss Chard
  • Beetroot (baby leaves are delish)
  • Kale

 

Top tip: Leafy greens are very easy to grow and will reward gardeners best if you pick the leaves regularly and pinch out flower buds later in the season. Be on the lookout for cutworm, snail and slug damage to plants.

Lettuce
Swiss chard
Beetroot
Kale
Plant a paradise

January is always a good time to plant up areas with colourful annual seedlings. The heat is on so brighten up beds by planting these sun-worshippers.

  • Salvias flower throughout summer and autumn. Their upward-pointing sword-like blooms range from fire engine red to purple, deep blue and other powdery colour variations. They are waterwise and easy to grow in pots too.
  • Snapdragons offer striking colours and multiple blooms that stand to attention and are simply charming. Dwarf varieties are great as pot or hanging basket fillers. Keep plants moist while young and they’ll reward you by continuing to flower into winter.
  • Petunias don’t need special treatment or a lot of water either. Flowering increases as they grow, putting on a spectacular show of colour when mature. Petunias love the mild winter months too and will carry on growing in this time.
Plant Salvias
Plant Snapdragons
Plant Petunias
Plant petunia night sky
Indoor peace parade
  • The peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallesii) can grow in low-light conditions, which effectively means that it can thrive almost anywhere in the home.

The super-fun summer garden December Checklist

It’s holiday season, and a jolly good reason to celebrate! Live life to the fullest surrounded by the ones you love and a gorgeous garden to host them all in. Life is a Garden’s got a fully loaded, super fun summer entertaining and planting guide to get you in the spirit of things this December.

Warm welcomes

Wet vines from the garden can be transformed into gorgeous decorative wreaths, which you can secure onto your front door. Try ivy varieties, grapevine, and big num num (Carissa macrocarpa) with ornamental grass strands that’ll maintain colour for longer too. Add to the friendly vibes by adding a textured welcome mat available from your GCA Garden Centre.

Try this: Once you’ve gotten a solid run from your wreath, tie it onto a tree branch and hang some birdseed feeders from it.

Christmas Wreath
Christmas Wreath
Eternal sunshine

Solar lights are the best-kept fun secrets this summer. Light up your pathways with lanterns, accentuate your trees with spiralled fairy lights, and make the patio pop with spotlights highlighting your gorgeous container beauts. Solar jars are also a sure win, to which you can add glass stones for extra sparkle. Solar jars look super magical when added to fairy gardens and scattered around beds.

Always lit tip: Wrap battery-operated fairy lights around your front door DIY wreath for added evening ambience as guests arrive.

Solar lights
Fairy lights
Inquisitive kids

Keep the kids entertained and educated with a ‘Find that bug’ quest. You can easily create a printable worksheet for your kids and their friends listing the goggas to be discovered in your garden. Alternatively, there are several local apps to be downloaded, which kids can use to identify their discoveries. Why not get them all to give a fun little presentation about the bugs afterwards!

 

Happy house plants

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

Down to Earth Feature Diamond Sponsor - Culterra

Getting to grips with when & where to use what soil…

When it comes to gardening and growing, “down to earth” is not just a compliment - it’s a necessity! We all know that healthy gardens start with healthy soil, but different plants also have different requirements. Do you know which bag of soil to select when faced with the wide range available at your local garden centre? Don’t worry - we have a few simple tips to help you get your “soil’s worth” next time you invest time and money in your garden!

You’re starting from seed …

Use Professional Germination Mix.

This lightly blended, soilless mix is carefully formulated for optimal seed germination. Fill your trays with this delicate mix, sow your seed and watch the space!

 

You’re planting out seedlings …

Use Seedling Mix.

Transplant seedlings from Germination Mix directly into Seedling Mix for cavity trays, flower boxes or window boxes. This will ensure that you grow healthy and resilient transplants with strong root systems.

Germination mix
Seedling Mix
You’re planting lawn …

Use Compost. Dig compost into your existing garden to enrich the earth before laying down instant lawn or sowing your choice of grass seed.

 

You’re feeding an existing lawn …

Use Lawndressing. Usually done in spring, scarify your lawn and apply a layer of organic lawndressing to transform your dull grass into a lush meadow of green!

 

You’re adjusting soil levels …

Use Topsoil. A good quality topsoil is best for filling holes in your lawn or adding height to flower beds. It can also be used in large raised beds, mixed with compost, to create better growing conditions.

You’re planting in a container …

Use Professional Potting Mix

This is the “just right” soil of the gardening world. It’s suitable for most plants so fill your pots and plant directly.

Eco-warrior lacewing

Eco-warrior wall of fame: Lacewings

Dynamite comes in a small package with these extraordinary helpers. They are excellent additions to the garden for pest control and prevention. Adults feed on pollen, nectar, and honeydew, while the larvae are active predators of soft-bodied pests such as aphids, thrips, whitefly, leafhoppers, spider mites and larvae, caterpillars, nymphs, mealybugs and more! After feasting for 2-3 weeks, lacewing larvae spin a cocoon and emerge as adults 10-14 days later. After such a carnivorous upbringing, adults lacewings are converted to veganism, enjoying nectar and helping us by pollinating crops.

Wow-worthy facts

  • Known also as aphid lions or wolves, lacewings can gobble up to 100 nasty aphids in a day.
  • Grey lacewing larvae are super smart oaks! They camouflage by carrying devoured prey carcasses on their backs.
  • Adult lacewings have ears at the base of their wings, allowing them to hear bats’ echolocation signals. They avoid being eaten by closing their wings and appearing smaller.
  • Lacewing larvae kill their prey by injecting lethal digestive juices into their meal, dissolving their insides, and then providing our hero with a nutritious, sappige smoothie – lekker!

 

Welcome lacewings by  
  • Planting indigenous.
  • Offering a variety of pollen and nectar-rich flowers to choose from (suggestions below).
  • Learn how to identify them to avoid accidental harm to these heroes.
  • Providing a safe hibernation home during the winter, such as log piles and dense hedges (check out our Hedge-tech article here for inspiration that’s shearously worth it).
Green Lacewing
Brown Lacewing
Plants for critters that guard the garden

Lacewings, butterflies, birds, bees, and ladybugs will all come to work when adding these sweet additions to the garden now:

  • Wild dagga
  • September bush
  • Pentas lanceolata
  • Star jasmine
  • Flowering hibiscus
  • Nasturtiums are highly recommended to make your garden come alive.
September Bush
Pentas lanceolata
Star Jasmine
Nasturtiums

March in the Garden Checklist Gardening Checklist

March Checklist
March Gardening Checklist

As the last month of summer comes to an end, it’s time to start preparing the garden for autumn and winter growing. March presents ideal conditions for sowing seeds as the day temperatures are still warm enough, while night temperatures begin dropping gradually. This is also a great time for cool-season seed germination varieties, and let’s not forget that much-loved gardening maintenance.

 

Flowers and foliage

The autumn climate is well-suited for planting as new roots get a chance to establish themselves before spring. Try sowing these lovelies now for a brilliant flush of colour and fragrance:

  • African daisy (Dimorphoteca) to beautify beds, borders, and containers.
  • Livingstone daisy, known also as Bokbaai vygie (Mesembryanthemum) are colourful customers.
  • Virginian stocks (Malcolmia maritima) as an enthusiastic and cheerful bloom.
  • Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) to keep pests at bay in the veggie patch.
  • Blue Felicia bush (Felicia amelloides) for fast-growing, striking sky-blue flowers.
African daisy (Dimorphoteca)
Livingstone daisy
Virginian stocks
Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) to keep pests at bay in the veggie patch.
Blue Felicia bush
Sweet peas

Before sowing sweet peas, prepare their new home by digging deep trenches and working in some nutritious compost from your local GCA Garden Centre. Bonemeal (if you don’t have dogs) and super-phosphate are excellent choices to assist in creating your sweet pea sanctuary. Remember to soak the seeds overnight in lukewarm water before sowing directly into the ground.

Roses

Roses are a simply spectacular sight in autumn! To ensure quality blooms into winter, continue with regular preventative treatments/spraying for black spot, beetles and bollworm. As the days get shorter, the roses start to go dormant and withdraw food from their leaves. To compensate for this and to provide enough food for new growth and flowers, fertilise with rose food – your GCA Garden Centre guy can advise you on the best option. Regular watering is very important if there is insufficient rainfall.

There’s a garden on my stoep!

Patio gardening
Patio Gardening

Be bold and go bedless! Perfect your potting skills and never leave your patio without plants again. Here’s how you can easily bring the garden to your stoep with creative containers, vertical planters, colour wheel play, and a few bloomingly beautiful flowers. Life is a Garden, even on your balcony!

Creative containers

Using different sized and shaped containers add height and variety to the space, while also giving you an opportunity to experiment with different styles. Try using cute teapots or gumboots as planters to add a little character and fun to your space. You could even upcycle cans to use as pots and decorate as desired to suit your existing décor.

Top tip

Ensure your planting containers have good drainage to avoid root rot.

Let it all hang out

Utilising hanging baskets is another simple way of adding greenery to areas with limited space. Using woven baskets (instead of plastic) with spikey foliage will bring in some lovely texture. Vines cascading down a pillar is a fresh break in between bricks and concrete. Your local GCA Garden Centre has a variety of hanging baskets waiting for you!

Patio Gardening
Upcycle can planter
Flower pots
Hanging Baskets
Bloomingly good

Add life to your patio paradise by planting gorgeous, blossoming blooms. A couple of flower pots neatly arranged along the lonely stoep wall or outdoor windowsill makes all the difference. Any available space is an opportunity for flowers to flourish. Get this lush look by using the Thriller, Filler, and Spiller (TFS) concept to create the ultimate flower pot.

Fancy TFS

One upright focal point plant as your Thriller, a mounded plant as the Filler around it, and then something to trail over the edge as your splendid Spiller.

Flower pots
Thriller, Filler & Spiller

Who’s lus for strawberries and cream?

Grow your own reminder of the sweeter things in life and play with the colour wheel in your pots.

January in the Garden Checklist January Check List

January in the Garden Life is a Garden
January in the Garden Life is a Garden

The new year is always a great time to start afresh and get back into the garden. Remove any tired or spent annuals and fill the gaps with new babies that will flower into autumn. Planting fresh herbs and veggies will also help you stick to those healthy New Year’s resolutions. Happy 2021, dear green fingers, and please do remember that your Life is A Garden!

What to do in the January garden
  • There is still enough time to sow Eschsholzia, Lobelia, and Phlox for an abundance of summer and autumn colour.
  • Water regularly during dry spells.
  • Put out snail bait after rainfall or after watering in the evening.
  • If yellow patches appear on the lawn, this is an almost sure sign of lawn caterpillar, also known as armyworm.
January Check list
Snail Bait
Lawn Caterpillar Army worm
January checklist

Tip: Use a thick, moist towel placed over a patch at night. If lawn caterpillars are the culprit, they will still be foraging on the lawn in the morning when you lift the towel. Consult your local GCA Garden Centre for a remedy.

  • Colourful Begonias are available in trays to liven up semi-shade and shady areas.
  • Deadhead hydrangeas and use the beautiful blooms in dry arrangements.
  • A light summer pruning of your roses will help to extend quality flowering into late autumn.
  • Gently prune lavender plants that have stopped flowering to encourage an autumn flush.
  • Mulch, mulch, mulch to beat the heat and save water.
January Checklist
January checklist
What to do in the January veggie garden
  • Most veggies need 60 to 90 days to harvest so if we are sowing in January, we need to think about what we will eat fresh from the garden in March and April. Never sow the whole seed packet at once as it literally contains from around 50 to several hundred seeds, so rather sow in 14-day intervals to achieve a continuous harvest.

Pots of flavour in small spaces Container Gardening

You don't need acres of garden to grow fresh salads and veggies. All you need is a balcony, patio or a postage-stamp of a garden, some good-quality terracotta pots, the right growing medium and a watering can, and you're A for away.  Life is a Garden offers these tips to assist you in creating the perfect container garden.

Why terracotta?

Whenever we're asked what containers to use on a patio, we tend to recommend a nice big terracotta pot or a matching set of terracotta pots. Why terracotta and not plastic? Terracotta pots are made of clay, and natural materials like clay tend to work better with plants. Terracotta pots can breathe, allowing air and even moisture to move through the walls, keeping plants healthier and helping to prevent fungal root disease.

Plants don't like sudden changes in temperature, and terracotta pots act as insulation, slowing down variations in temperature.

Weight is also an advantage – terracotta pots are heavier than plastic or wood, which is great when you've got a cat that keeps rubbing itself against your veggie pots and knocking them over!  Finally, terracotta pots get better and better with age, weathering and developing a beautiful patina that cannot be replicated.

What to plant?

Choosing what to plant can be overwhelming when you're starting out. Our first rule of thumb is to plant what you eat! There's not much point in growing coriander if the flavour offends your very being. But if you love cooking with other herbs, start by planting things like rosemary, thyme, mint and origanum.

Another thing we suggest is to mix things up a bit – don't be boring and grow only edibles. Beautiful ornamentals can do well in containers alongside their edible bedfellows, and some have the added benefit of being edible too. Viola flowers can be tossed in a salad, while the flowers of lavender and calendula have a range of uses.

Pots of flavour in small spaces

You don't need acres of garden to grow fresh salads and veggies. All you need is a balcony, patio or a postage-stamp of a garden, some good-quality terracotta pots, the right growing medium and a watering can, and you're A for away.  Life is a Garden offers these tips to assist you in creating the perfect container garden.

Why terracotta?

Whenever we're asked what containers to use on a patio, we tend to recommend a nice big terracotta pot or a matching set of terracotta pots. Why terracotta and not plastic? Terracotta pots are made of clay, and natural materials like clay tend to work better with plants. Terracotta pots can breathe, allowing air and even moisture to move through the walls, keeping plants healthier and helping to prevent fungal root disease.

Plants don't like sudden changes in temperature, and terracotta pots act as insulation, slowing down variations in temperature.

Weight is also an advantage – terracotta pots are heavier than plastic or wood, which is great when you've got a cat that keeps rubbing itself against your veggie pots and knocking them over!  Finally, terracotta pots get better and better with age, weathering and developing a beautiful patina that cannot be replicated.

What to plant?

Choosing what to plant can be overwhelming when you're starting out. Our first rule of thumb is to plant what you eat! There's not much point in growing coriander if the flavour offends your very being. But if you love cooking with other herbs, start by planting things like rosemary, thyme, mint and origanum.

Another thing we suggest is to mix things up a bit – don't be boring and grow only edibles. Beautiful ornamentals can do well in containers alongside their edible bedfellows, and some have the added benefit of being edible too. Viola flowers can be tossed in a salad, while the flowers of lavender and calendula have a range of uses.

Festive escape in your garden An abundance of gifts from your garden

It’s December and gift giving and celebrations are the highlight of the month. This often requires spending time searching for parking spots at busy shopping centres and wandering endlessly through crowded stores in search of the perfect gift to show appreciation to those you love.

This year, why not give a heartfelt and special gift that you’ve spent months growing in your own garden? And while you’re enjoying the outdoors, invite your friends and family over to soak up the sun and enjoy the season in your festive garden.

Gifts from your garden

Our gardens flourish in December, often producing more than we need. This is impeccable timing to give gifts from your garden. These gifts are not only kinder on your wallet, they are also more personal and are greatly appreciated for their thoughtfulness.

Herb jars with herbs grown from seed are an ideal gift for those who love to cook. Herbs are a great addition to any meal, particularly fresh herbs that are bursting with flavour.  If you have someone special in the family who loves to spend time creating delicious dishes, give the gift of fresh herbs.

Use fresh vegetables that you are growing in your vegetable garden to make some fresh pasta sauces, pickled vegetables or relishes. Place in glass bottles with personalised gift labels and include them in a gift hamper. These will be enjoyed for weeks after they’ve been received. Homemade pamper products are a real treat and often suitable for even the most sensitive skin. Make a body scrub from sea salt or raw sugar, mix it with an oil of your choice, add some lavender, mint or rose petals picked from your garden and place into a jar for hours of pampering and grateful, glowing skin.

Flowers are always a welcome gift for every occasion.

Herbs Galore Potted garden

Nothing solves a no space in my garden problem like a potted garden.

If you have limited space, poor soil quality in your garden beds or dogs that like to dig – the solution to all these problems is to have a potted garden. Great herbs to include in your potted garden are:

  • basil
  • sage
  • rocket
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • chives
  • mint and coriander

Container herbs should get at least five hours of sun per day. The more sun they get, the better their flavour, health and resistance to pests and disease. Potted herbs should be watered more frequently than garden herbs because containers can lose moisture quickly, especially in the summer heat.

Herbs grow incredibly well in pots and having fresh herbs on hand, especially when entertaining is always a win. Imagine how handy it would be when you are serving homemade pizzas, whipping up a salad or offering a refreshing gin to your guests – to be able to wonder over to your potted herb garden and have all the fresh ingredients right there.

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