Posts Tagged ‘ indigenous ’

What to do once your aloes have bloomed

Posted on: September 30th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

The sensational aloe show is over, what now? Here’s what do once your beloved aloes have bloomed to ensure they’re prepped and ready for their next vibrant parade.Once your precious aloes have finished flowering, it is recommended to cut off the flower stalks. Plants will put a lot of energy and reserves into producing  seeds, which is why trimming is needed to redirect that energy for new growth instead.

 

Growing aloes from seed can be a fun and a most rewarding hobby, however, if you plant seeds from aloe hybrids, they will not be true to type. This means that the seedlings will not be genetically identical to the parent and won’t look and perform the same. If you wish to grow species from seed, be sure to purchase your seeds from a reliable source to ensure that you do in fact get the pure aloe species you want, and not miscellaneous hybrids as these plants hybridise very easily.

Bloomed Aloe
Bloomed Aloe

Although one might not see signs of growth above ground in winter, the aloes are getting ready for summer by growing gorgeous new roots. If you dug up an aloe in July, you would see bright yellow new roots being formed. Start feeding your aloes again from late July/August. with a nutritious fertiliser (available at your GCA Garden Centre) every 3 months to ensure a spectacular flower display next winter.

Throughout the year, carefully monitor your aloes for common pests and diseases like Snout beetle, mealy bug, aloe cancer, and aloe rust. Treat your plants as soon as possible with organic pesticides available at garden centres.

A little succulent maintenance will go a long way, all the way to next winter to be precise. Take care of your gems and enjoy the booming rewards to follow.

 

Indigenous South Africa

Posted on: July 27th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments
Our local lovelies are bred for SA’s climate and attract a glorious variety of wildlife.

August in the Garden Checklist An extraordinary, rewarding August

Posted on: July 13th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

With the great winds of change upon us, dare we say the smell of spring approaches! All your hard work this winter will soon pay off as August comes to reward the garden with extraordinary blooms in gorgeous hues for every mood. There’s one more month of cool-season stunners to enjoy with daisy bushes leading the pack. Make sure to tick off your maintenance checklist and begin prepping the lawn for September. Edibles are exciting in August too and there’s much to sow and munch on. Hold onto your hats and let’s glide right in!

 

Fulfilling flowers
Strikingly crazy for daisies

Colour blast your way through the wind and immerse outdoor beds in bold and brave daisy bushes. The vivid variety of daisy blooms will pop off brilliantly against the winter landscape and are simply stand out additions to the  garden. Daisies flourish in containers, beds, and borders that receive full sun. Bushes can be sown and/or planted in autumn for a vibrant August gust of colour. Here are seven striking inspirations:

  1. Cape daisy (Osteospermum): Indigenous and water-wise in deep shades of many magical colours to choose from, flowering from spring to autumn.
  2. Marguerite daisy (Argyranthemum): Blooms attract butterflies, available in pretty coloured hues for every mood that flower from spring to autumn. Single and double flowers available.
  3. English daisy (Bellis perennis): A fast grower and spreader with uniquely rounded red, white, and pink flowers, blooming in masses from winter to spring.
  • Golden daisy bush (Euryops chrysanthemoides): Compact and evergreen with bright golden-yellow blooms peaking from autumn to spring.
  • Livingstone daisy (Mesembryanthemum): Dark centres blend into radiant shades of pinks, purples, orange, yellow, and crimson. Flowering begins in August, peaking in September.
  • Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum): Cheerful and quick-spreading with robust all-white petals and a yellow centre. These lovelies bloom from late spring to autumn.
  • Kingfisher daisy (Felicia amelloides): Local and lively with masses of sky-blue petals and yellow centres.  They attract butterflies and flower from spring to autumn.

 

Daisy do’s: Although performing best during colder climates, daisy bushes will flower repeatedly throughout the year. If you maintain them well with regular watering, feeding, and deadheading, your garden will be rewarded with near-constant colour and frequent surprises popping up.

 

Top tip: Fly over to your GCA Garden Centre and see which crazy daisies are in-store and in bloom now. Don’t forget your compost and organic fertiliser while you're there.

More mad blooms to sow now: It’s wakey-wakey to winter beds with marigolds, cosmos, lobularia, cleomes, godetias, lavateras, phlox, sunflowers, impatiens, and begonia.

Blushing August bulbs to plant now: These summer-flowering bulbs are ready for some rich soil, sun, and water: gladiolus, calla lilies, cannas, spider lilies, George lilies, tuberoses, galtonias, schizostylis, crocosmias, storm lilies, arum lilies, and dahlias.

Top tip: Don’t be tempted to cut off the leaves of your spring bulbs just yet. Although they have finished flowering, they need these leaves to make food for the developing bulb.

A rosy reminder: Ensure all roses have been pruned and increase watering. Spray bare stems to kill insect eggs and fungus spores. Relocation and transplanting should also be done now, followed by a good feeding. Visit your GCA Garden Centre for rose care essentials.

Marigold
In the grow zone

Edibles for sowing from seed packets

  • In frost-free areas, sow these summer crops now: runner beans, dwarf beans, maize, sweet corn, pumpkins, and squashes.
  • Herbs heralding the spring sunshine: sweet basil, coriander, and rocket.

* Remember to harvest your root veggies: parsnips, turnips, beetroot, carrot, and radish.

 

Edibles for growing from seedlings

  • Plant out rhubarb, shallots, garlic, globe artichokes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.

*Also remember to top-dress perennial crops such as asparagus.

Motivated maintenance

Lawn loving

  • Begin prepping the lawn for spring with lawn dressing, fertiliser, and compost.
  • Your pre-spring treatment includes low mowing, firm raking, leveling out, and covering with lawn dressing.
  • Sow seeds for shade lawn now.

 

Wind whirling

  • The windy month has arrived. Stake all newly planted trees to prevent toppling and breakages.
  • Ensure all creepers are securely supported on trellises and tie-down branches where needed.
  • Mulch around your edibles to prevent wind erosion and help retain warmth.

 

Slug repelling

  • Slugs and snails are eager to feast on soft spring plantings. Go to battle by planting barrier plants around new greens.
  • Barrier plants include mint, garlic, chives, geraniums, and fennel.
  • Goggas are deterred by the pungent smell and taste of these natural pest-repelling plants.

 

Ladybugs to the rescue: Our eco-hero of the month is the sweet little ladybug. She may be pretty, but mealybugs, aphids, scale, caterpillars, and thrips beware of her deadly munching crunch! These pesky critters are her favourite meals and she’ll make quick work of them too.

Some cold caution: In very cold regions, leave pruning of frost-damaged plants until next month as the affected foliage protects the plant in case of another frostbite attack.

Your GCA Garden Centre is ready to receive your August enthusiasm, so head on over to see what grabs you and sparks your inspiration. Have an extraordinarily rewarding last month of winter and well done for keeping your crops and flowers flourishing. Daisies are your best colourful cover-up for gardens that took a little beating in the cool season. Plant some now and blow away the haters! Life is a Garden, just grow with it.

Cutting-HEDGE Technology

Posted on: July 13th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

A good hedge goes a long way, especially in terms of privacy, decoration, and formal landscaping. There is a dazzling variety of handy and handsome hedges that will help to highlight, conceal, and even protect your garden. The secret to a flourishing hedge is simple – fertiliser, mulch, and consistent pruning. If you’re still a little nervous about the world of hedging, here is Life is a Garden’s heroic hedge guide to the rescue. Plant fearlessly and level up your gardening game this August.

 

The handiness of hedge-tech  
  • Medium and tall-growing hedges create eco-friendly, peaceful privacy.
  • Low-growing hedges create boundaries around beds and help to highlight areas.
  • All hedges can be used to separate design elements and bring depth to the garden.
  • Hedging also helps to protect the garden from the elements, such as wind and hail.
  • Thorny hedges pack a painful punch and can easily be utilised as a security feature.
  • Maintained hedges are sophistically decorative, blending nature with architecture.
Low-growing hedges

Plant these small hedges to edge your beds, direct visitors along a walkway, create landscaping patterns and designs, box-in feature plants, and accentuate focal points or art pieces in the garden.

 

  1. Lavender varieties – try Dentata
  2. Natal plum (Carisa macrocarpa)
  3. Spekboom (Portulacaria afra)
  4. Iceberg roses
  5. Buxus (Buxus sempervirens)
  6. Dwarf bamboo (Nandina pygmaea)
  7. Abelia varieties – try lemon & lime
  8. Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’
Medium height hedges

Plants can be added to increase privacy, corner off sections of the garden, bring in bold decorative elements, add greenery to barren spaces, and assist in reducing outside noise.

 

  1. Abelia varieties – try Schumannii
  2. Buxus Microphylla ‘Faulkner’
  3. Blousyselbos (Plumbago auriculata)
  4. Blue honey-bell (Freylinia tropica)
  5. Star jasmine
  6. Syzygium
  7. Natal plum (Carissa macrocarpa)
  8. Saltbush(Rhagodia spinescent)

 

Tall and large hedges

Rethink fencing with these living walls that will create privacy, structural intrigue, texture, neat landscaping features, increase garden security, and filter noise pollution in urban areas.

 

  1. Budlejavarieties (false olives)
  2. Sweet viburnum
  3. Viburnum sinensis hedge
  4. Dodonaea
  5. Pittosporum hedge
  6. Yellowwood tree
  7. Bamboo – aggressive
  8. Olive trees
Perfecting the art of pruning

The overall success and appearance of your hedge is largely dependant on how and when you prune it. Prune new hedges along the sides to encourage faster and fuller re-growth. After that, keep pruning to achieve the height and shape you desire. Flowering hedges should only be pruned back after flowering as premature pruning could lead to no flowers at all, and that would be very sad indeed. Do not prune hedges during winter as soft new shoots may get damaged by the cold. A good pair of pruning shears is your best friend in the hedging world and they really aren’t that scary. Many gardeners actually experience hedge pruning as a therapeutic and meditative practice, give it a try!

 

Top tips for a handsome hedge 
  • Plant new hedges with plenty of compost, bone meal, or superphosphate to encourage strong and fast root development (all available from your GCA Garden Centre).
  • Avoid planting hedges up against walls or fences and rather leave a 1m space between the plants and any form of existing barrier. Smaller hedges, however, can even be planted on top of walls for added height and décor.
  • The distance needed between hedges will depend on what type of plant you choose. Rather give them enough space to prevent overcrowding and root competition. Your GCA Garden Centre assistant will be able to give you some advice on the space needed for your hedge.
  • Trim your hedges as they begin growing to ensure a nice bushy density at the base.
  • Mulch your new babies regularly to save on water and prevent weeds.
  • Feed hedges with a tasty organic fertiliser (available at your CGA Garden Centre) to keep them growing at a steady pace. Remember to enquire about feeding intervals.
  • Remember to be patient. Hedges do need some time to form in all their glory but they are defiantly worth the time and effort.

Head on over to your favourite nursery and hunt down the hedge of your dreams! Come springtime, your new plants will be ready for a fresh haircut and you will soon begin to reap the rewards of having nurtured them so well throughout the winter. Make sure to get a good pair of pruning shears and enjoy levelling up your green fingers with this new, cutting-hedge technology.

July Checklist Gardening Checklist

Posted on: June 9th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

July is all about colourful comforts in the garden and enjoying the hearty harvest winter has to offer. Keep your beds looking lush with a sensational selection of flowers available from your GCA Garden Centre. Don’t forget your July maintenance to help your garden stay in top shape and ready for the last cold stretch. Enjoy the journey with your landscape and take some time to appreciate the remarkable changes of Mother Nature.

 

Beat the winter blues
  • Surround yourself with colourful comforts available at nurseries now: primose, alyssum/lobularia, violas, pansies, verbena, Primula malacoides, Primula obconica, Primula acaulis, and ornamental kale.
  • Robust succulents: Aloe Hedgehog, aloe Ferrox, and aloe Speciosa.
  • Gems: Krantz aloe, Basuto kraal aloe, nandina, viburnum, camellia, holly and Elaeagnus.
  • Indoor babies: Move indoor plants to warmer parts of the house if needed. Also check that your plants are getting enough light.

A flying reminder: Help the birds out and ensure your birdbath and bird feeder is well-stocked. Food is scarce for the flyers during the winter months.

Everything edible
  • Garden centre treasures: Fig, olive, grape, cherry, peach, plum, and apple trees are available at GCA Garden Centres from July.
  • Harvest now: Horseradish, asparagus, celeriac, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and waterblommetjies.
  • Split & divide: Divide your asparagus and rhubarb now for a larger yield and remember to mulch well after transplanting.
  • Support: Stake broad beans and Brussels sprouts to give them more support and increase growth.
  • Feed: Remember to feed your winter veg seedlings with nutritious fertilisers and compost. Also, feed your spring bulbs and clivias now.
  • Mulch up: Much beds well to retain warmth and moisture.
  • Water down: Be careful of overwatering during winter every 3rd day should be sufficient.

Top tip: Use bird netting or frost cover sheets to deter birds while also allowing light and air into the veggie garden.

Perfect pruning & maintenance

A little off the top: Deciduous shrubs, golden shower, barleria, ribbon bush, wild dagga, westringia, and hydrangeas. Also cut back bougainvilleas that have finished flowering.

Hard pruning: Fruit trees should be pruned substantially to adjust their structure and to remove any sick or diseased branches. At least 40% of the tree should be pruned out, especially low growing rootstock suckers and water sprouts. Also, remove any grey, non-fruiting shoots but leave the reddish 1-year-old shoots.

Cut away: All dead wood, diseased branches and leaves, large trees casting unwanted shade. Remember to add all this organic matter to the compost heap.

Check your tools: Sharpen your garden blades, lawnmower blades, and replace any old pruning shears. Remember to get your lawnmower and edge cutters serviced too, spring is going to be busy!

Rose care: Start pruning roses at the end of the month and spray with Kumulus afterwards. Feed them with a rose fertiliser and apply a new layer of mulch around the bushes. Also transplant roses that need to be moved now. Seal pruning wounds and spray with fungicide as wasps like to lay eggs in newly pruned, soft areas.

Fertilise your rose bush roots after pruning with bonemeal, compost, or phosphate. Most rose fertilisers have a low middle number that is ideal for root feeding.

Top tip: Visit your GCA Garden Centre for advice on products to help seal pruning wounds as well as which sprays and fertilisers to use after fruit tree and rose pruning.

There’s much on the maintenance to-do list this month, for which you will be well rewarded! Make sure your beds are ready to brave the cold and bring in some colour with balmy blooms. A little pruning maintenance and mulch goes a long way in helping your bushes and trees through harsh winter climate changes. Head over to your GCA Garden Centre and see what other inspirations await you.

Say ALOE to your little friends

Posted on: June 9th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

Aloe is part of the succulent family with a long history of medicinal use, dating all the way back to Ancient Egypt. Today, this miracle plant is grown worldwide and is still used to treat all sorts of skin ailments, viruses, and bacterial infections. In addition, aloes are a superb choice for bright landscaping and bringing texture to the garden with attractive foliage and large blooms grabbing attention where ever they are planted. Check out Life is a Garden’s super aloe short-list for plants available now at GCA Garden Centres, nationwide.

 

Aloe ‘Peri-Peri’

This aloe is ideal for smaller gardens and pots, specifically for colder regions. It flowers in early autumn with a profusion of pinky-red flowers. When planted as a mass border in drier, sunny gardens, Aloe Peri-peri adds a tremendous splash of colour. They grow easily and are immune to aloe cancer and most other slow diseases; however, they can get black spot in high alkaline gardens. This stunner attracts birds, butterflies, and many insect species to the garden. It has medicinal anti-bacterial properties that support external wound healing.

 

Did you know? The University of Pretoria is well-known for its autumn Peri-peri aloe show and this plant is also one of the base plants in the Jason Sampsons layout.

 

Aloe ‘Hedgehog’

This low growing, clump-forming aloe has become a real winner in the South African horticultural industry. The Hedgehog is suited for small gardens and mass planting, as well as container gardening. They are fast-growing with ever-expanding rosettes of foliage and orange-red flowers. Under unfavourable conditions, they may be susceptible to aloe cancer.

Cultivation: Sun/semi-shade, rich drained soil, medium watering

Size: Multi-stemmed 200mm x 200mm

Flowering time: June - August (Gauteng)

Cold tolerance: Up to -5°C

Released: 2006

 

Did you know? The Hedgehog aloe is the first aloe to be developed and released in South Africa, specifically for the landscaping industry, and has officially become the best-selling aloe hybrid in S.A.

Aloe ‘Charles’

The Charles is certainly one of the most spectacular large aloes available. Their abundant racemes are strong red to white and are simply breath-taking. They grow easily, generally becoming single-stemmed with several dichotomous branches. Their peak flowering time is from early July to early August. Aloe Charles is the perfect statement-maker and will grow well in masses with plenty of sun and rich soil. They are highly resistant to most aloe diseases too.

 

Did you know? This aloe was named in loving memory of Charles Andrew de Wet Snr. - an inspiration and role model to his son, an avid aloe grower.

Aloe top tip: They flourish in full sun and will produce more blooms and have better disease resistance. They do not like wet feet and will perform best in rich soil.

Aloe ‘Bushwhacker’

The Bushwhacker produces an abundance of pink to creamy-white flowers from late May to June. This beautifully showy, medium-sized aloe grows relatively fast and looks good on its own, but even better when planted in masses or in a pot. Bushwhackers have a high resistance to most aloe diseases. Sap from the leaves can be used externally to help treat acne, minor cuts and burns.

Cultivation: Full sun, moderate watering, rich soil

Size: Short stem with side shoots, 700mm high x 600mm wide

Flowering time: May – June

Cold tolerance: -4°C

Released: 2012

 

Fun fact: Greeks believed aloe cured baldness and ancient writings say that even Cleopatra used it.

Aloe ‘Goldfish’ var. ANDgol PBR PT7147

The Goldfish is an attractive re-blooming aloe that flowers throughout the year. It is a wonderfully small, suckering aloe that is well suited for containers or rocky areas. Plants have speckled foliage with red leaf margins and yellow to light orange flowers. They are hardy, water-wise, and a charming addition to smaller gardens and patios.

 

Cultivation: Full sun/light shade, rich well-drained soil, moderate watering

Size: Approx. 35cm high x 40cm wide

Flowering time: Early winter and sporadic re-blooming throughout the year (Gauteng)

Cold tolerance: -2°C (not for prolonged periods)

Released: 2016

 

Aloe ‘Medallion’

Developed as a distinct improvement on aloe Vanbalenii, the Medallion offers a profusion of brighter yellow flowers that grow faster, compared to the more dull yellow of the Vanbalenii. They are strong and stemless, discolouring to red during winter if given less water. The Medallion is a real gem in all sized gardens and landscapes with good resistance to aloe cancer.

 

Cultivation: Full sun/light shade, rich well-drained soil, moderate watering

Size: Approx. 60cm high x 100cm wide

Flowering time: Early June to early August (Gauteng)

Cold tolerance: -4°C (not for prolonged periods)

Released: 2018

Fun fact: Aloes consist of 99% water and can even be found on islands in the Indian Ocean.

 

Aloe ‘White Rhino’

Here is a tall, single-stemmed aloe with dichotomous branches and attractive grey foliage. The White Rhino boasts an abundance of stunning white flowers, growing effortlessly from a base of succulent rosette leaves. These plants grow much faster than the white form of aloe Ferox, giving it an advantage in the garden, both as a bedding plant and in containers. The sap from these leaves contain strong antibacterial properties to assist with skin abrasions and minor insect bites.

 

Cultivation: Full sun/light shade, rich well-drained soil, moderate watering

Size: Approx. 1.8m high x 1.m wide

Flowering time: Early June to late July (Gauteng)

Cold tolerance: -5°C (not for prolonged periods)

Released: 2018

Aloe top tip: Prepare aloe beds with copious amounts of organic material, such as compost or well-rotted manure and bonemeal for super root health.

All of these super succulents are available now at GCA Garden Centres, nationwide. Call ahead and see which aloes your centre has in stock, or use our handy store locator to find the next centre closest to you: GCA Garden Centres. While you’re there, remember to grab some soil and compost. Your GCA Garden Centre advisor will be able to recommend which products to use. You can also do further research on your new aloe and learn more about its medicinal properties and how you can go about using them.

 

ALOE-lujah for Africa’s Medicine!

Posted on: June 9th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

For thousands of years, Aloe has been revered for its many profound medicinal uses. From the Ancient Egyptians to present-day Western civilisation, the long history and wide-spread use of this miracle plant has withstood the test of time, and will good reason! Aloe features as the main ingredient in so many skin, beauty, and health products around the world. Check out Life is a Garden’s indigenous super succulent short-list that’ll get you singing ALOE-lujah in no time!

 

Krantz aloe (Aloe arborescens)
  • Appearance: A multi-headed shrub with large sunset-hued flowers and striking leaves.
  • Get growing: Easy to grow in full sun with sandy/loamy soil, flowers in autumn/winter.
  • BFF Benefits: Attracts birds, drought-resistant, good as a hedge/screen.
  • Magical powers: Used as an anti-bacterial, anti-ulcer, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, hypoglycaemic, and to treat open wounds.

 

Bitter aloe (Aloe ferox Mill.)
  • Appearance: Reaches a height of 2-3 metres with huge flowers and rosette leaves.
  • Get growing: skill in full sun with sandy/loamy soil, flowers in autumn/winter.
  • BFF Benefits: Good for pots, attracts birds, and is drought resistant.
  • Magical powers: The secret ingredient in Schwedenbitters, also used for its laxative properties, arthritis treatment, skin disorders, and wound healing.

 

Fun fact: Aloes consist of 99% water and can even be found on islands in the Indian Ocean.

Fence aloe (Aloiampelos tenuior)
  • Appearance: Slender scrambler with masses of delicate orange-red flowerheads.
  • Get growing: Easy to grow in full sun with sandy/loamy soil, flowers from early summer.
  • BFF Benefits: Feeds honeybees, good for pots, attracts birds, drought-resistant.
  • Magical powers: In traditional medicine, the roots and leaves are used as a purgative and tapeworm remedy.
Soap aloe (Aloe maculata)
  • Appearance: Heads of bright sunset flowers with sword-shaped, spotted leaf rosettes.
  • Get growing: skill in full/partial sun with sandy/loamy soil, flowers year-round.
  • BFF Benefits: Attracts a variety of flyers, good for beds and borders, tolerates salt.
  • Magical powers: The sap from the leaves can be used as a soap alternative (or used in homemade soap) owing to the strong anti-bacterial qualities.

 

Fun fact: Greeks believed aloe cured baldness and ancient writings say that even Cleopatra used it.

Cooper's aloe (Aloe cooperi Bak.)
  • Appearance: Grows like funky tall grass, alone or in small groups, with spiked flowers.
  • Get growing: Easy to grow in full/semi sun with sandy soil, flowers from late summer.
  • BFF Benefits: Good in pots and as screens, attracts birds, edible flowers and leaves.
  • Magical powers: Young shoots, flowers, and leaves are loaded with minerals. Harvest them to cook in a stew as a nutritious vegetable.

 

Quiver tree (Aloidendron dichotomum)
  • Appearance: A hardy tree with smooth branches, blue-green leaves and yellow flowers.
  • Get growing: Challenging to grow (but worth it) in full sun, flowers in winter.
  • BFF Benefits:  Good potted tree, attracts and homes flyers like sugar birds and weavers.
  • Magical powers: Young flower buds can be eaten (tastes similar to asparagus), roots are used in traditional medicine to treat asthmaand

Top aloe tip: Ensure your beds or pots have good drainage as aloes hate having wet feet. Keep an eye out for fungus and root rot.

Plan ahead or plant now, but whatever you do, grow aloe! Visit your local GCA Garden Centre to see which indigenous and exotic aloes they have in store, as well as soil mixes and food for your new super succulent. Read up about your wonder plant and familiarise yourself with its medicinal properties and how you can go about using them. Enjoy growing your own muthi and say aloe to your new best friends. Life is a Garden – how will you heal yours?

Back to Basics with Creepers and Crawlers

Posted on: May 10th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

Climbing plants and ground covers are the easiest way to level up your gardening game. Bring walls to life, add privacy with hedges, decorate arches dripping with roses, cover-up baren spaces, create curtains of greenery for the patio, get your windowsills bustling with bees and butterflies, attract more birds, smell the sweet essence of flowers every morning, bring in colour, AND – need we even say more! Here’s some inspiration to get you going.

 

Climbing, quick spreaders
Indigenous splendours:
  • Pink trumpet vine (Podranea ricasoliana) is a full sun beauty, boasting an abundance of fragrant lilac-pink flowers. Vigorous, rambling, and great for beginners.
  • Starry wild jasmine (Jasminium multipartitum) rewards gardens with a delicious sweet scent emitted by star-shaped blooms. They like morning/afternoon sun.
  • Flame creeper (Combretum microphyllum) is a truly spectacular specimen with flaming crimson flowers for the larger garden with ample sun.
  • Cape honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis) flourish in full sun where tubular blooms in red, orange, yellow, and salmon can climb up to 3m high.
Worldly charms:
  • Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) is a highly fragrant climber and ground cover. Blooms perform best in full sun, but they also do well in semi-shade.
  • For climbing roses, try the Stamina Rose. This pink-purple babe parades over arches and windowsills. She’s also hardy and disease-resistant, bonus!
  • Flowering Ivy (Senecio macroglossus) is a bright little explorer with yellow daisy-like flowers between dark green foliage. They enjoy full sun to semi-shaded areas.
  • Potato vine (Solanum jasminoides) has clusters of fragrant, dainty light-blue or white blooms that’ll make quick work of full sun, trellised walls and arches.
Ground covering crawlers
Ornamental grass
  • Ophiopogon japonicus 'Kyoto' is an exceptional tuft-forming no-mow grass that’s ideal as a plant filler in full sun to semi-shade. They’re cold and frost-hardy too!
  • Zoisia tenuifolia grows low to the ground and often has a wavey appearance, making it a top architectural plant that’ll cover any space with full sun to semi-shade.
  • Dymondia margaretae is a special, sun-loving, carpet-forming cover that’s hardy, fast-growing, good against wind erosion, and perfect as a filler between pavers.
  • White carpet (Falkia repens) grows low to the ground, bearing small pink flowers that create a wonderful indigenous 'daisy lawn' in full sun or semi-shaded areas.
Flowering thrills
  • Lamium, or dead nettle, is a shade-lover with variegated leaves and sweet blooms of white, pink, and purple. Great for beginners and not prone to pests or disease.
  • Spanish daisy (Erigeron karvinskianus) will transform your garden into an exquisite fairy landscape with masses of pink and white blooms. They like sun and semi-shade.
  • Sedum is a sun-loving, hardy, perky perennial with fleshy leaves and clusters of star-shaped blooms that spread out and have a most pretty party in the garden.
  • Bacopa (Sutera cordata) is a South African stunner that’s easy and versatile. Plants are covered in tiny white/lavender/pink flowers that enjoy the sun or semi-shade.

Be sure to visit your GCA Garden Centre to check out which of these lovelies are available to plant now. To help your climbers along, don’t forget to install trellis support for them to play on. Garden centres are stocked with goodies for creepers and nutritious compost and soil to help establish your new ground covers.

May in the Garden Checklist Gardening Checklist

Posted on: April 12th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

Be a winter-winner, get your May maintenance in check, sow cool-season seeds, and grow with the flow as we enter our last month of autumn. We’re celebrating our adaptable green fingers by also highlighting Africa Month and all our glorious indigenous glory. The party doesn’t stop there – say hello to Phlebodium, the perfect indoor plant baby to gift to the woman you adore this Mother’s day!

 

Crispy blooms to plant

Bulb up: Honour our African heritage with a jive of colour from Sparaxis (Harlequin Flower), ixia, and Tritonia. Try also these perennial bulbous plants: Sweet garlic (Tulbaghia fragrans), Weeping anthericum (Chlorophytum saundersiae), Red-hot poker (Kniphofia praecox).

Bush out: Pork bush (Portulacaria afra) is a lekker local hero hedge. Good as a barrier plant, tolerates frequent pruning, extremely drought-resistant, and fast-growing.

Succ in: Aloes are in full swing, oh yeah Try Peri-Peri, Sea Urchin, and Porcupine.

The 4 P’s: Get down to your local GCA Garden Centre and start planting with the 4 P’s - poppies, pansies, petunias and primulas.

Rose bed revival: Long-stemmed roses can be picked now. If the plants are in full leaf, continue with your spraying programme but reduce watering. Plant winter-flowering annuals like pansies, poppies, or compact snapdragons, around rose bed edges to give them a revived burst of colour (and hide bare branches).

Split & divide: If the following perennials have stopped flowering, they’re ready for the operating table: Japanese Anemones (Anemone japonica) and Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana).

Be wise, fertilise: Annual stocks and larkspurs benefit from extra nitrogen to promote good growth and flowering throughout winter. Consult your GCA Garden Centre expert for advice on liquid fertilisers and other plant food.

 

Eat like a winter-winner 

Eye candy: Add rows of ornamental (and inedible) kale between other winter vegetables. Companion plants include beetroot, violas and pansies (both have edible flowers), onions, nasturtiums, and spinach. Ornamental kale makes an unusual but stunning winter option for colour.

Mixed masala: Interplant leafy winter veggies and root crops with herbs like lavender, thyme, oregano, parsley, yarrow, and comfrey.

Cuppa’ your own Joe: The coffee plant (Coffea arabica), which is actually a TREE, will earn you kudos from coffee snobs if you can manage to grow it successfully in a high-light indoor area. Imagine grinding home-grown beans? Count us in!

Un-gogga your cabbage: Pull up old sweet basil plants, chop them up, and then use them as a natural insect repellent mulch around your cabbages – fancy, na?

If it’s yellow, it ain’t mellow: Prevent disease by removing all yellow leaves from brassicas such as Brussel sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, and broccoli.

Fruitful advice: Feed avocado trees with 3:1:5 and mulch ‘em up. Plant litchis and citrus, while also keeping mango trees dry before their flowering starts. In coastal and lowveld areas, feed granadillas with a nitrogen and potassium combination fertiliser. Seek advice from your local GCA Garden Centre.

 

Beetroot
Tricks of the cool-season trade

Prevent pests: Prevention is better than cure! Remember that good soil + good drainage + mulch + fertilising/feeding = a healthy plant with more flowers, more fruits, and more veg!

Spray away: Keep spraying those conifers with insecticide.

Rake it, baby: Rake fallen leaves off the lawn to prevent them from blocking out sunlight, and then pop them on the compost heap. Coastal gardeners can still apply one more dose of fertiliser before winter sets in.

Freeze alert: Make sure that you don't water too early or too late – wet plants will freeze, haai shame!

 

 

No-Mow Lawn Alternatives Find out more here!

Posted on: March 24th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

Plant low-growing grass, increase indigenous bed sizes, add stepping stones or bark shards – here are some ideas for a no-mow lawn.

Life is a Garden was launched by the South African Nursery Association to promote gardening as the ultimate leisure time hobby in Southern Africa and brings relevant industry-endorsed information, at the right time of the year, to interested gardeners across Southern Africa.

Visit lifeisagarden.co.za for more!