Essential oils for beginners Botanical Boss

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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.

All-the-feels landscaping Industry Expert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2. The Malanseuns brand is certainly a renowned one.

Eat your heart out healthily Become a Botanical Boss this January

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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

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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
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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

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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.

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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. 
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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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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. 

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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
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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.

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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?

Hybrid gift giving December perfect plant picks

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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). 

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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).

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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).

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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

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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.

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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

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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
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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

Indigenous fairy tale trees Industry Expert Q&A

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September’s Topic: The local magic spring brings
Theme: Indigenous fairy tale trees  

Industry Expert: Brett Hughes
Garden Centre: Tree Factor in Limpopo  

 

Calling all tree-loving landscapers and gardeners – are you ready for a gust of sensational wind through your branches? Our industry expert, Brett Hughes from Tree Factor, has treated us to a simply divine spread of wisdom and passion with an equally magnificent tree selection! Spring is 100% bringing that local magic.  

1. Your stunning variety of trees and “greening the way” for SA approach is truly inspiring and awesome! Please tell us more about your philosophy and why trees are so important/beneficial?

As a horticulturist for the past 35 years, I have seen the deforestation in our own country today, despite the world’s plight on the current carbon footprint and efforts to plant up highways and urban areas. There are particular points that I would like to make in this regard – not purposefully highlighting the destruction, but in an effort to showcase the undesirability thereof.

 

Firstly, we have organisations like SANRAL – stripping trees on the side of our roads and highways by the kilometre, sometimes only marula trees being kept but destroying all the other hardwoods, which is not desirable. And then we get Eskom who eliminates every single tree within 20-30m of every powerline – that’s millions of trees being taken out annually. There’s also the mining industry, who are not under pressure anymore to rehabilitate like they used to. I think the councils are trying to put their efforts into planting trees, but again, I don’t think government is giving them enough budget to plant trees and to support our industry enough. There is definitely some effort needed to help and put pressure on government to get the local councils involved in tree planting again.

The local magic spring brings September Botanical Boss

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life is a garden, tree factor, birds, biodiversity, unique, colour, greenery, bark, leaves, fruit, flowers, vibrant, indigenous, Botanical boss

The season of renewal is upon us, bringing in hope and fresh positivity. Spring is Mother Nature’s reminder that even after periods of hardship, the storm will always pass when we embrace and trust in the great cycle of life. Turn to your garden for some uplifting enchantment as we explore the stunning local magic spring brings this September. Life is a Garden, with help from our industry experts - Random Harvest Nursery and Tree Factor, have complied a list of SA’s most unique and unusual plants and trees.  

Indigenous fairy tale trees

 

 Sweet and special - The Snuffbox tree (Oncoba spinosa) 
  • Appropriately named after its local use for snuff making by crushing the edible hard-shelled fruit. The fruit is round and shiny red-brown in colour.  
  • They grow to a height of 3 to 4 metres, have a non-invasive root system, and will flourish in full sun with sandy, loam soil. 
  • Trees are valued for their dramatic white flowers that have a special melon-like scent, making them a perfect choice as a fragrant ornamental too.  
Odd and extraordinary - The Sausage tree (Kigelia Africana) 
  • After treating us to a blood-red/maroon flower show that hangs off branches in long panicles, sausage-shaped fruit are an equally amazing sight. 
  • The smelly flowers, which bloom all night, attract pest-controlling bats that pollinate them. The sausage fruit is actually a huge berry and can grow up to 5m and weigh an astonishing 6.5kg’s! Beware – these sausage berries are not for humans human consumption but many garden visitors will feast on them.  
  • Grow these trees in full sun with composted soil that is slightly acidic to neutral.  

 

“Ultimately, I believe if we don’t start planting trees in urban zones we’ll never catch up. If everyone plants at least one or two trees in their lifespan, it will make a huge difference” – Brett Hughes, Tree Factor.

What to do once your aloes have bloomed

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

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

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.

Cutting-HEDGE Technology

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.

July Checklist Gardening Checklist

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.

Say ALOE to your little friends

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.