Posts Tagged ‘ life is a garden ’

DIY Father’s Day Pallet Tool Hanger A gift for father's day

Posted on: May 11th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

This month we’re celebrating all dads and father figures in our lives. Get the family involved with this practical, thoughtful, and fun DIY project. Give dad a hand and let’s get those tools sorted, in true gardener style. Who knows, this DIY may as well give poppa that little boost he needs to get his handy-man on and complete those outstanding projects! #Weloveyoudad

You will need:
  • A pallet
  • Paint or wood varnish and brush
  • A drill
  • Wood hooks (to hang pots)
  • Bucket-style pots with handles (make sure that your wood hooks are large enough to support the pots and fit the pot handle size)
  • Pot plants (choose non-creeping/climbing plants and go for an upright beauty instead)
  • Potting soil from your GCA Garden Centre
  • U-type double hook tool hangers and matching screws. Choose hooks that are coated with plastic/rubber to protect dad’s tools from scratches (available at hardware stores).

Top tip: Your GCA Garden Centre has a variety of bucket-style pots and baskets to choose from, and of course, a glorious selection of pot-perfect plants. Take the kids along for a fun family outing!

Plant picks: If you have a sunny spot in mind, choose Succulents and cacti as no-fuss greenery that will thrive off a little neglect (they look super rugged too!). Visit your GCA Garden Centre to discover what other semi-shade and full shade plants are available now.

 

Go-go MacGyver:
  1. Give your pallet a coat of paint or wood varnish in the colour of your choice. Encourage kids to paint some pictures for dad or little messages on the panels.
  2. Decide where you would like to hang your pots and look at what kind of tools dad uses the most. We recommend a line of 4 hanging pots along the second panel, leaving space for larger tools to hang below.
  3. Drill 4 holes, evenly spaced, across your panel. Choose a drill bit that is slightly smaller in diameter than the wood hooks so that you can twist your hooks into the drilled holes by hand.
  4. Twist the wood hooks into the ready-drilled holes.
  5. Half-fill your pots with nutritious potting soil. Transplant your new babies into the pots and give them a good watering. Let them drain completely.
  6. Hang your plants on the hooks by the handle-end of the pot.
  7. Now it’s time to gather dad’s most used tools and pop ‘em on the panels. Drill holes for the fancy U-type double hook tool hangers and fasten them using screws. Placement of the hooks will depend on the size of the tools you are planning to hang. Give it some thought and arrange the hooks to best suit dad’s handy-man essentials.

Top tip: Use the open compartments of the panels for dad to store other hardware accessories and perhaps a couple of beers too. You may even want to line the insides of the panels with a plastic material for easy cleaning and grab-and-go convenience.

This DIY is perfect as a heartfelt gift to any person in your life that’s your go-to MacGyver. Enjoy helping dad out this Father’s Day and show him that you support all of his hard work around the house. Thanks for all the lightbulb changes, picture hanging, shelf-assembling, and those much-loved dad-jokes!

June in the Garden Checklist for the outdoor artist Gardening Checklist

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

Consider the June garden as an inviting blank canvas, welcoming you to paint with a rainbow of winter blooms. For your cool-season muse, Life is a Garden has gathered a few vibrant beauts to plant-paint with, as well as some artsy edibles to inspire your soups. Learn how to defend your plant babies against black frost and enjoy our handy maintenance tips. Embrace the cold and plant on!

 

Chilled thrills in the Western Cape
  • Have faith in your fynbos and head over to your GCA Garden Centre to checkout new protea hybrids and visit some old faves too. Leucospermums (pincushions) and leucadendrons are stunning choices you can go bos with in the garden. Remember, proteas grow in pots too!
  • Aunt Gale’s wind is always around the corner so make sure all ties and stakes supporting young trees and roses are super secure. You may also want to check your garden furniture and make sure that nothing will end up in your neighbour’s yard.
  • Avoiding flooding at home by clearing drains and gutters of old plant material.
  • Begin winter pruning on vines, peach, plum, and apricot trees. Visit your GCA Garden Centre for products to spray on dormant trees after pruning.
Sow flowers from Wonderland
  • Pansies and Violas: These annuals are perfect to plant as borders and edgings, in window boxes and containers. Position them where they receive full sun in winter but partial shade in spring and early summer, to give them a longer lifespan. They like fertile, composted soil with good drainage and regular watering.
  • Snapdragons: These short-lived, yet super-cute perennials are ideal in mixed border gardens, flower boxes, and as potted patio décor. Bright snapdragon flowers will bloom profusely all winter long in full sun to partial shade. Begin germinating seeds indoors and when they’re ready, pop them into nutrient-rich soil that drains well.

Blooming muses to plant: Primula, primrose, calendula, stocks, gazania, poppy, bellis, alyssum, conifers, hellebores, narcissi, Camellia, Erica, pincushion, and ornamental grasses.

Triumphant cold troupers to plant: Abelias, Elaeagnus pungens ‘Variegata’, Pittosporum tobira, P. tenuifolium, rosemary, confetti bushes, Melaleuca bracteata ‘Johannesburg Gold’, and holly.

Artsy-potsy plant pick: Lewisia is one tough babe and will handle pretty much everything winter has to throw at her. She likes sun or partial shade, good drainage, but not the richest of soil. Water her moderately and deadhead spent blooms. She’ll reward you with gorgeous rosettes, slender stalks, and pastel-pink flowers for patio pots and just about everywhere else really!

 

Pruning particulars
  • If you live in a frost-free area you can begin pruning roses in June.
  • Very chilly and frost-prone areas should wait until the 2nd week of July.
  • Everyone can prune and cut back deciduous trees, conifers, vines, peach, plum, and apricot trees now.

Black Frost se voet

  • What is it: Black frost happens when humidity is too low for frost to form, but the temperature drops so low that plant tissues freeze and die, becoming blackened.
  • Where it affects: The leaves of plants are the most affected. Avoid pruning the burnt leaves as they will continue to protect the plant in case of another freeze invasion.
  • How to protect: You can protect plants even more by using raised beds, mulching up (a lot), covering growing trees at night, and changing to mid-morning watering to allow all water to evaporate before evening temperatures drop.
  • What to do: Once a plant has succumbed to the black frost horseman, do not prune or feed it, simply send it love – this too shall pass. Once the temperature increases, some plants will shed dead leaves on their own, while others that have died back will begin to regrow.

Inspirational edibles to plant: Rocket, cabbage (red and baby), horseradish, asparagus, global artichokes and rhubarb, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, beetroot, turnips, Brussel sprouts, oriental vegetables, celery, parsley, peas, and leeks. Pop into your fave GCA Garden Centre and see which seedlings are available.

Homegrown’s to harvest: Citrus and avocados (finally), leeks, Brussel sprouts (from the bottom upwards), carrots, parsnips, and cabbages.

Mulch-up your canvas: Mulch the entire garden with lovely autumn leaves to protect plants from the cold and assist in water retention in dry areas. Cape gardeners, get on top of those rain-loving winter weeds with max mulch power.

How to perfect the art of indoor gardening 101 Indoor Gardening

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

Indoor plants promote good mental health, super Zen vibes, texture, air purification, and something beautiful to appreciate as you go about your day. Life is a Garden, indoors too, and there’s a plant just waiting to bring that side table, desk, and bookshelf to life. Good old potting soil, fertiliser, and a watering routine makes all the difference in maintaining an indoor haven.

 

Checkout these 5 top tips to perfect the art of indoor gardening:
  1. Choose the right plant and place: Start off with an easy plant from our BF (beginner-friendly) suggestions below. Checkout your space and see where’s the gap to be filled. Choose a plant that likes the light conditions of your chosen area.
  2. Choose the right pot: Choose a suitable sized pot with good drainage holes and don’t forget the saucer that catches excess water (we’ve all been there, #rookieerror).
  3. Get good potting soil: A bag of delicious potting soil goes a long way! Visit your GCA Garden Centre and grab a bag to get you going. Add a couple of small stones to your pot before adding compost. This will help with drainage and root rot prevention.
  4. Get to know your new friend: Understand the light, watering, and soil requirements of your plant. Observe how plants react in the space and change their position if needed. Poke your finger into the pot and feel the soil, this will tell you if your plant is ready to be watered.
  5. Feed your new friend: Generally speaking, every 6 weeks is a good time to fertilise. The new plant baby depends on you now to maintain the nutrient integrity inside the pot. Your GCA Garden Centre guy can advise you on the best soil and fertiliser for your plant.

Try this: To help you choose the best plant for a room, you can now download an app that measures light intensity – how efficient is that! #nomoreexcuses

Here are our top 10 plant picks that’ll bring in colour and freshness to your space.

Look out for the *BF (beginner-friendly) options for novice gardeners. 

 

1. Button fern (Pellaea rotundifolia)

Light likes: Pellaea enjoy humidity with no direct sun, high to medium light will do.

Soil & water: Let the top layer of soil dry between watering, he doesn’t do soggy.

On the weekends: He can be found chilling in a humid bathroom on the windowsill or in a hanging basket. His dark-green, evergreen, button-like leaves like to explore.

 

2. Blue star fern (Phlebodium aureum) *BF

Light likes: Medium to high light with no or partial direct sun, she’s very adaptable.

Soil & water: Enjoys moist over dry, water well when she’s thirsty.

On the weekends: Her forest-like foliage, with curious wavy blue-green fronds, can be seen fluffing about and grabbing attention everywhere she goes.

 

3. Bird's nest fern (Asplenium nidus)

Light likes: Medium to bright, no direct sun. She likes warmth, humidity, and moisture.

Soil & water: Moist, rich, and loamy does it.

On the weekends: She’s always cheerful with tropical light green fronds, resembling banana leaves. She’s good at limbo, but don’t touch her new fronds while she’s growing.

4. Kumquat tree *BF if you follow the rules

Light likes: Super bright light, even direct sunlight if possible. She enjoys the patio too.

Soil & water: Regular watering with excellent drainage.

On the weekends: This happy-go-lucky babe can be seen showing off dozens of bright little orange fruits. She’s good at inspiring new jam and preserves recipes!

 

5. Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) *BF+

Light likes: Medium to bright, no direct sun, but they like warm corners.

Soil & water: Good drainage with weekly watering.

On the weekends: You may find them looking for things to climb on with their flamboyant, large and in-charge leaves. Beware, this beaut bites and is toxic to pets.

 

6. Triostar Stromanthe (Stromanthe sanguinea)

Light likes: Near a window with plenty of natural light, no sun. Rotate your pot weekly.

Soil & water: Well-drained, fertile soil that is kept moist but not soggy.

On the weekends: She’s the pretty, popular chick with impressive, vibrant pink foliage that’ll make you blush. Triostar’s gonna’ make you work for her though, be prepared.

 

7. Dragon tree (Dracaena marginata) *BF+

Light likes: The brighter the better, but he’s adaptable.

Soil & water: Good drainage and regular watering.

On the weekends: He’s a rugged, attractive guy with striking green, sword-like, red-edged leaves that stand at attention. Your friends may be jealous of his good looks.

8. Flaming sword (Vriesea splendens)

Light likes: They enjoy some morning sun with high light throughout the day.

Soil & water: Add some orchid mix to your soil, infrequent watering but not all the way dry.

On the weekends: They can be seen proudly parading their yellow-orange blooms that look like fun swords. Sadly, they do decline after blooming but they’ll leave you with offsets first.

 

9. Cymbidium orchid (Cymbidium spp.)

Light likes: Partial gentle sun and good light is her kind of vibe.

Soil & water: Loamy, moist, well-drained soil.

On the weekends: Her stunning sprays of large blooms are a sight to behold! Appreciate her while you can, it’ll be a while before you see her flowers again.

 

10. Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) *BF

Light likes: They enjoy sunlight and warmth.

Soil & water: Avoid soggy soil but water them moderately.

On the weekends: These often golden-trunked, bamboo-looking darlings can be seen growing tall at their own pace, taking time to extend all their friendly fronds.

To help keep your indoor plants looking their best and breathing well, use a damp cloth to clean their leaves from any dust. Remember to checkout which lovelies are ready to plant now, or plan ahead for the right season and home your dream indoor gem. A spray bottle is also super handy to have around for quick watering touch-ups. See what’s potting at your GCA Garden Centre and have fun perfecting the art of indoor gardening!

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.

The Garden Centre Association: Quality guaranteed Garden Centre Association Press release

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

If you see a green and yellow sign outside your local garden centre, you know that you are visiting one of the best garden centres in the country. That little sign tells you that the garden centre is a part of the Garden Centre Association (GCA), and is a standard of excellence.

The GCA is part of the South African Nursery Association (SANA). Where SANA has a broader scope and plays a bigger role in South Africa’s gardening industry, the GCA is aimed at maintaining the quality of the garden centre customer experience.

To spread the word and the knowledge of both the GCA and SANA, Life is a Garden (LIAG) was established. While it is essentially a marketing division, its scope has grown organically until the website has become a one-stop guide to gardening in South Africa, where readers can find their closest GCA-approved garden centre, gain knowledge on plants and gardening, as well as discover fun projects for the garden and learn how to garden responsibly.

The monthly newsletter has become eagerly anticipated by gardeners around the country, full as it is with helpful tips and hints, news on new releases and ideas on how to get the best out of your garden, no matter the season.

The key objectives of the GCA are to ensure that each and every member garden centre constantly strives to improve nursery standards and is guided in this goal by the National Association.

While the business of a nursery is selling plants, the yellow and green sign is more than just a commitment to selling healthy, good-quality stock. It is also a promise to look after the environment, both in terms of not selling alien invasive plants, and in terms of environmentally friendly initiatives such as recycling projects. It is also a pledge to impart knowledge to staff members and the gardening public, because a knowledgeable gardener is a successful gardener, and successful gardeners will keep on gardening. The GCA’s job doesn’t end after handing out its respected green and yellow sign, though. To hold onto that sign and everything it stands for, all GCA centres need to achieve certain levels and prove this when they are regularly evaluated. This ensures that the GCA signs outside the garden centre door are accurate, up-to-date, relevant and continue to stand for excellence in the industry.

As part an international gardening community, the GCA is also an active member of the International Garden Centre Association, which allows South Africa’s nursery industry to learn from the best in the business, and to share our own expertise with the rest of the world.

This international gardening community meets annually for a week-long congress held in a different host country every year. Here business is discussed and contacts made, but more importantly, garden centres are visited so that each member country is aware of best practices and the high standards that are achieved globally. By sharing knowledge, standards are improved in every member country.

The result of all of this is that garden centres of the GCA are amongst the best in the world, continually improving and offering world-class service to every member of the public who walks through their doors.

 

LIAG Press Clippings – April 2021

Posted on: April 29th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

Life is a Garden received press coverage to the amount of R724,655.84 in the month of April. The below spreadsheet shows the total press coverage that Life is a Garden received in the month of April 2021.

To view the Life is a Garden – April “Redbook” actual press clippings, please click here: https://bit.ly/3dYuIa2

 

Press Report of April

 

Marketing Snapshot

 

 

Garden Glossary Find out more here!

Posted on: April 21st, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

Unearth some of the most used garden jargon and stay on top of your game.

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.

Time to Make a Macramé Hanger Find out more here!

Posted on: April 21st, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

Make your own macramé plant hangers in a few easy steps. Check out this DIY video with inspiration and instructions to get you going.

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.

LIAG Press Clippings – March 2021

Posted on: April 19th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

Life is a Garden received press coverage to the amount of R1,311,083.00 in the month of March. The below spreadsheet shows the total press coverage that Life is a Garden received in the month of March 2021.

To view the Life is a Garden – March “Redbook” actual press clippings, please click here: https://bit.ly/3mEIOQA

 

Press Report of March

Marketing Snapshot

 

 

DIY African Mamma Planter A gift for mothers day

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

Here's the perfect gift for the eco-mom this Mother's Day! Give like a gardener with this stunning DIY planter made from an empty bottle, some South African flavour, a cute creeper, and a splash of creativity. Whether the mom in your life is an auntie, sister, cousin, or guardian – this home-made act of gratitude is sure to show them just how much you adore their presence in your life.

You will need:
  • A clean, empty 2l milk/juice carton (remove any labels and glue, keep the lid).
  • Waterproof paint.
  • A permanent marker.
  • Knife or scissors.
  • An African-inspired cloth for the kopdoek/headband (larger piece) and neck (small piece).
  • Rope for hanging.
  • Potting soil (available at your GCA Garden Centre).
  • A cute creeper (as hair) from your GCA Garden Centre. Go for a fun outing and check out which creepers are in season now.

Plant picks: Pilea glauca bowl, String of beads, Philodendron selloum and other Philodendron varieties, Guzmania varieties, Spider plant, and Pathos.

Making your Mamma
  • Turn your carton upside down and conceptualise: the opening serves as the neck of your character, the handle becomes the nose, and the bottom end becomes the top of her head where the plant will go.
  • Cut off the “head” quarter of the carton (not the lid end).
  • Cut a few drainage holes/slits in the lid cap of your carton (her neck). Cut holes for the rope from which to hang your planter and then thread it through.
  • Paint or draw on her lips above the neck, create her eyebrows just above the ending of the nose, and then her eyes, either opened or closed with luscious lashes, of course! You can play with the facial features of your mamma – perhaps add a nose ring or earnings, a little blush or eyeshadow. You could even make an African pappa or a few kids to accompany her.
  • Carefully fill your container halfway with nutritious potting soil. Make sure the lid is on!
  • Pop in your cute creeper as the hair for your mamma. Add more potting soil and tuck your new baby in.
  • With your gorgeous larger cloth in hand, consult tannie Google on how to wrap a traditional kopdoek. Alternatively, you could go for a bandanna or headband style too. Arrange the leaves of your creeper as desired to give her that wild and untamed look.
  • Using the smaller cloth, cover her neck and the lid.
  • Water her up!
  • You can either hang your creation with rope, or use her as table décor, allowing her hair to hang off an end.
  • Remember to check what light conditions your creeper needs to choose the best spot for her to flourish.

Enjoy warming your mom's heart this Mother's Day with a daily reminder of your appreciation. Put your gardening passion and upcycling creativity to work!

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.

 

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!

 

 

Shothole Borer Beetle – an Ecological Tragedy Gogga of the Month Shot Hole Borer Beetle

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

Life is a Garden has some essential information to share this month. The shot hole borer beetle, known also as Euwallacea fornicates, is a huge threat to South African biodiversity and our gardens are certainly no exception. From the 80 species of trees under attack, 20 of these are reproductive hosts for this most gagga gogga, and with so many trees in SA and in private gardens, the threat is closer to home than we may think. Here’s some must-know info to help save our trees!

 

How the shot hole borer operates

This invasive bugger from Asia is black in colour and smaller than a sesame seed (about 2mm long). Shot hole beetles dig tunnels in the trunks and branches of host trees where they then lay their eggs. The female beetle carries a fungus (Fusarium euwallaceae), which she spreads through these tunnels, which then becomes food for both larvae and adults.

 

What happens to our trees

The fungus spread inside tunnels completely disrupts the flow of water and nutrients of trees. Simply put, infected trees begin to die from the inside as the larvae hatch, digging through what’s left of the tree, and spreading more deadly fungus that causes trees to basically die from malnutrition. These beetles move a kilometre per week, rapidly infesting and reproducing.

 

Identifying an infected tree

Look out for signs of possible infestations by inspecting the trunks and branches of your trees and those in the surrounding area. Symptoms may vary across tree species, but here are the tell-tale indicators to take note of:

  • Multiple round 1mm wide entry-holes, similar to paper punch holes.
  • Dark, wet staining, oozing, and thick gumming around suspicious holes.
  • Streaks of white powder, sugar volcanoes, or fine sawdust coming from trunk/branch holes.
  • Wilting trees and dead branches.
Best course of action

Sadly, there is no known insecticide that is effective against the Shot Hole as they drill so deeply into the wood. We can only be proactive by preventing the spread of the beetle and removing the environment that allows them to reproduce. In other words,

  • Start a watering and fertilising regime for your trees to make them as healthy as possible to withstand an attack. If a tree is strong enough, it can flood borer tunnels with gum or sap.
  • Call in an arborist to advise if the tree is a valuable investment tree on your property.
  • Any dead wood infested with shot hole borer beatles should be covered with thick plastic before moving. The moving of infested firewood is one of the biggest pathways to spreading this invasive species. Chip and solarise infected wood on site.
  • Notify your neighbours and create awareness so that everyone is on board and informed.
  • Report infected trees here: clinic@fabi.up.ac.za

 

Did you know?
  • 300+ Trees have had to be removed in JHB North.
  • Shot hole borers love certain trees more and will always head to their favourite six species. This means that the most affected tree species are: London plane, Boxelder, Japanese and Chinese maple, English oak, and Liquidambar. Monitor these species closely in your garden and remove them as soon as branches begin to die.
  • These six trees are regarded as target species for the shot hole borer. Once the beetles have colonised these trees with thousands of offspring - and the trees begin dying - the shot hole borers spread to nearby trees which are then infested.
  • Country-wide surveys found that several fruit trees (including peach, olive, grapevine, guava, and fig) have been infested in urban areas.
  • Indigenous tree species such as coral trees, wild olives, yellowwoods, and Natal figs, are the most threatened.
  • Judging by the destruction in Knysna, as well as the rise of beetles in Sandton (one of the world’s largest urban forests with over 10 million trees), the shot hole could well be one of South Africa’s largest ecological tragedies of all time.
  • The shot hole is currently infesting over 200 tree species from 28 plant families.
  • These beetles are transported by humans through moving infested firewood – so burn or chip the wood and place it under plastic for six weeks in full sun (known as solarisation).   Never move infested wood unless it is under a thick plastic tarpaulin. Otherwise, beetles fly off the back of a bakkie and infest all properties along the route to a garden dump.

 

Our country is one of the world’s largest biodiversity capitals and host to 299+ species of mammals and 858+ species of birds. These animals depend on our trees as a source of food and shelter. Check if you have any of the six targeted tree species in your garden and keep monitoring them closely.

Japanese Garden!

Posted on: March 26th, 2021 by Cassidy

“Nihon teien” otherwise known as Japanese Gardens
are traditional gardens! They are garden designs accompanied by Japanese aesthetics and philosophical ideas, avoiding artificial ornamentation and highlighting the natural landscape.
Join us FREE over Zoom, this Friday 26th March 2021 at 11am sharp, for an informative online workshop on Japanese Gardens! Please use the following login details:
Meeting ID: 870 5822 7680 | Passcode: 912956
or direct link https://bit.ly/3f3ch4Y
We will also be announcing the winner of last week’s competition, giving you the opportunity to win a Bonsai Starter Kit sponsored by Ferox Nursery. If you haven’t entered yet, it’s not too late – Name one of the SIX traditional styles in which you can shape a Bonsai and enter, send your answer to sueb@gardenshop.co.za.
This week’s workshop will also be challenging you to another trivia giving you the opportunity to win an Acer Japanese Maple sponsored by Bristlecone Nursery.

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!

LIAG Press Clippings – February 2021

Posted on: March 10th, 2021 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

Life is a Garden received press coverage to the amount of R1,238,972.34 in the month of February. The below spreadsheet shows the total press coverage that Life is a Garden received in the month of February 2021.

To view the Life is a Garden – February “Redbook” actual press clippings, please click here: https://www.redbook.co.za/share/book/0a1884a8a9d778d3052fe7781f58bfee

 

Press Report of February
 
Marketing Snapshot

 

Throwing shade at the sun Shade gardening

Posted on: March 10th, 2021 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments
Wild iris (Dietes grandiflora).

Gone are the days when shady means barren! This month, Life is a Garden is shedding light on darker spaces with a little shade-spiration to bring all areas of the garden to life. There are many flower varieties, shrubs, creepers, and even veggies that will flourish in every type of shade. Let’s begin by understanding the different degrees of shade and how these conditions affect the surrounding soil and plants that can grow there.

 

Full shade

An area that receives no direct sunlight at all is called full shade, known also as deep shade. Underneath a canopy of large evergreen trees or next to tall buildings or high walls is where you’ll typically find full shade and often barren spaces. The soil in such areas can be classified into these two groups below:

 

  • Full shade with wet soil

In these deep shade areas, moisture drainage is poor and the soil appears constantly soggy, boggy, and swampy. Try adding coarse compost mixed with gritty river sand to improve the drainage and quality of the soil in these areas.

Plant picks: Hen and chickens (Chlorophytum comosum), holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum), and forest bell bush(Mackaya bella).

 

  • Full shade with dry soil

Some areas with full shade have dry soil owing to the growth of the trees that once allowed some sunlight in, but have now grown to completely block out direct sunlight. Enrich these areas by loosening the soil, adding nutritious compost, and covering with mulch to assist in retaining moisture.

Plant picks: Bush lily (Clivia miniata), agapanthus, and wild iris (Dietes grandiflora).

Hen and chickens (Chlorophytum comosum)
Forest bell bush (Mackaya bella).
Bush lily (Clivia miniata)
Dappled shade

Also known as filtered shade, this happens as sunlight filters through openings in tree branches throughout the day, shifting the pattern of sunlight trickling in. In these areas, it’s best to plant in accordance with the trees natural growth and shedding phases. In other words, choose plants that flower during the leafless stages of surrounding trees.

Plant picks: Spring flowering bulbs like daffodils (Narcissus), Lachenalia bulbifera, and freesias.

 

*Seasonal tip: Visit your local GCA Garden Centre to discover gorgeous shady babies for cool-season planting and sowing. Checkout what seed trays are available to jumpstart your growing adventure. Keep some new arrivals in their pots to assess how they fair in your chosen area before transplanting.

 

Semi-shade

This refers to an area that receives some sun and some shade throughout the day, as shadows are cast on different parts of the garden. Semi-shade plants tend to do better with morning sun, rather than harsh midday or afternoon sun that may scorch leaves. Keep these areas healthy with good compost and generous mulching to retain soil moisture.

Plant picks: Fuchsia, evergreen azalea (Rhododendron indicum), rhubarb, chives, celery, and even carrots.

Daffodils (Narcissus)
Lachenalia bulbifera
evergreen azalea (Rhododendron indicum)
Rhubarb

There is a plant for every shady part of the garden and even some veggies and herbs that can tolerate semi-shade. Remember to visit your GCA Garden Centre to inquire about different shrubs, ferns, and flowers to best suit the area you would like to see flourish. Garden Centre experts are also able to advise which edibles will work well in your desired space. Life is a Garden, even in the shade, so let’s get every bed and pot shining in the absence of sunlight. A gardener maak ‘n plan, or something like that!

How leaves change colour – an experiment for kids

Posted on: March 10th, 2021 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments
How leaves change colour- an experiment for kids

Autumn is a colourful time for trees and a curious invitation to all young gardeners. Do your children also enjoy rummaging around in leaves, collecting them, and admiring their unique hues? Well then, here’s a DIY kids experiment that investigates the science of chlorophyll and answers the question of how and why leaves change colour. Are you ready for some fun in the garden? Let’s go!

 

What’s so cool about leaves anyway?

For starters, leaves are part of Mother Nature’s highly intelligent network of oxygen (O2) providers, making them an essential service to life on Earth. Through photosynthesis, leaves turn light energy into food for plants to grow. Using their pores, or stomata, leaves absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) and then release clean, crisp O2 for us to breath – thanks guys!

 

Chloro- me, chloro- you, chloro- phyll?  

Owing to changes in daylight and temperature during Autumn, the process of photosynthesis and the amount of chlorophyll in leaves is altered. Chlorophyll is the chemical that makes leaves green, so with less sunlight for photosynthesis, it’s only natural that some changes in colour are expected. The absence of chlorophyll is what results in the gorgeous display of sunset-hued leaves this time of year.

 

An experiment awaits!

You will need:

  • A few glass jars
  • A few coffee filters
  • Various colours of autumn leaves
  • Surgical spirits (available at pharmacies)
  • A spoon for mixing
  • A notebook to observe changes

 

Leaves at the ready:

  1. Unleash your kids upon the garden or park in search of as many different autumn-coloured leaves they can find. Equip them with a container to carry their findings.
  2. Group their leaf treasures by colour. Once sorted, smash/crumple/tear each group of leaves into pieces and then place each pile into a separate jar.
  3. Pour the rubbing alcohol into each jar until the leaf pieces are completely covered.
  4. Use a spoon and continue mixing the leaves inside your jar until the surgical spirits changes colour.
  5. Using a coffee filter, make a cone and then place the pointed tip down into the smooshed leaf/surgical spirits mixture. Make sure the tip of the cone rests inside the mixture.
  6. Let the jars chill for about a day, checking up to see magical Mother Nature and science at work!
  7. Children will see, with their very own eyes, in real life mom and dad, how the colours of the leaves begin to separate and travel up the coffee filter. Observe the absence of chlorophyll in all its glorious hues!

Enjoy this investigative, hands-on experiment with your young ones. Let’s continue our quest to inspire and educate the new generation of gardeners. After all, our Life is a Garden, and we want our kids to have one too! Don’t forget to visit your GCA Garden Centre for new autumn babies to plant and sow, for pots, beds, and baskets.

Giving life to 2021’s trends Trends Article

Posted on: March 10th, 2021 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

When life gives us manure, gardeners make compost! As such, Life is a Garden would like to invite all green fingers to welcome 2021 as The Great Reset – a time to reconnect with our home space, a chance to grow food and deepen our connection with nature, an opportunity to shape remote working environments, and the ideal excuse to expand outdoor entertainment areas. Here are the top trends for the year to inspire you and help support adjusted lifestyles at home. Let Mother Nature work her magic to lift those spirits and make every space a place for life to shine!

Trendy colours that celebrate life

The Pantone colour of the year is grey and yellow: grey representing fortitude and yellow symbolising happiness. Together, these colours send a message of positivity, supported by a solid foundation (grey) upon which to build joy (yellow). Cultivate resilience and hope by planting these beauties below:

Sun in your pocket

  • Yellow canna lily: full sun in beds or containers, bold and bright, frost-sensitive.
  • Alstromeria (Inca lily): full sun or semi-shade, good cut-flowers, needs winter munching.
  • Anigozanthos bush bonanza: full sun or semi-shade with bright, golden-yellow flowers.
  • Marigolds: full sun or semi-shade, drought-tolerant, attracts butterflies, repels pests.
  • Sundial yellow portulaca: full sun annual, fine-textured foliage, low ground-hugger.
  • Yellow capsicum: a full sun veggie, sprout seeds indoors in spring.
  • Cape honeysuckle: full sun or semi-shade, attractive ornamental shrub, good for hedges.
  • Snapdragons: full sun for beds or containers, gorgeous horizontally-growing blooms.
Yellow canna lily
Anigozanthos
Sundial yellow portulaca
Cape Honeysuckle

Grey for greatness

  • Senecio cineraria, or silver dust: create contrast with this fine, low-growing sub-shrub.
  • Senecio Angel Wings: robust in size with an angelic silver/grey sheen, an absolute stunner!
  • Dichondra silverfalls: drought, frost, and salt-hardy for full sun spots in beds and pots.
  • Lamium: grow best in partial/full shade to avoid scorching the leaves of these pretties.
  • Lavender varieties with grey foliage, Petunias with silver flowers, as well as succulents from the Echeveria family with interesting thick-leaved rosettes.
  • Salvia lanceolata: hardy and water-wise, this grey-green aromatic shrub is for full sun spots.

 

*Pantone planting tip: We’ve given gardeners some of the top yellow and grey plant picks for the year. Take our suggestions with you the next time you visit your GCA Garden Centre and inquire about seasonal planting and sowing. Your GCA expert will be able to recommend which beauties can be planted now and help you plan ahead for your Pantone paradise.

Senecio cineraria
Dichondra silverfalls
Lamium
Uplifting utopias in small spaces

Balcony, patio, and container gardening allows everyone to become part of the eco-tribe, regardless of space limitations. You can always go vertical or experiment with hanging baskets too. Include these lovelies to your small-space haven for a gorgeous breath of fresh air and tranquil vibes:

Easy indoor elegance

  • Peperomia: a favourite ornamental foliage with intriguing, fleshy leaves, easy to care for.
  • Philodendron: available in vining and non-climbing varieties with large, glossy foliage.
  • Spider plant: produce a rosette of long, thin, arched foliage, good for baskets and texture.
  • Fiddle-leaf fig: has a tropical feel with eye-catching, large-veined, violin-shaped leaves.

 

Ideal outdoor delights

  • Zinnia marylandica: a drought-tolerant, full sun hybrid for beds, borders, or containers.
  • Impatiens: for shady areas, a brightly-bloomed annual available in many colour varieties.
  • Pansies & Violas: super cool-season contenders for colour in semi-shade or full sun areas.
  • Begonias: stunning foliage and lovely blooms for pots, baskets, and beds with gentle sun/semi-shade.

 

The collector’s dream

  • Senecio Angel Wings: salt and drought-tolerant with incredible silver/grey foliage.
  • Novelty Petunias: decorate with Circus Sky, Amore Heart, Hippy Chick, and more!
  • Carnivorous plants: Sundew, Venus flytrap, the American trumpet pitcher, and the Tropical pitcher plant are simply fascinating plants to collect and admire.
Peperomia
Plant-tertaining for precious pollinators

Welcoming nature’s handy helpers is simple and magnificently rewarding! Get your veggies pumping, your flowers flourishing, seeds spreading, and most importantly, help sustain the precious eco-system in your garden.  Attract bees, butterflies, dragonflies, birds, and eco-barometers like frogs and lizards by planting these:

·       Salvia

·       Borage

·       Lavender

·       Sunflowers

 

·       Pentas

·       Echinacea

·       Marigold

·       Antirrhinum (Snapdragons)

 

*Pollinator tip: Remember to provide a fresh water source for your all your visitors with a way in and out to avoid any casualties. Consult your handy GCA Garden Centre advisor to see which plants can be sown and planted according to season.

 

Have your permaculture and eat it

Homegrown goodness is all the rage and with deliciously good reason too! South Africans are rediscovering the pleasure of growing food and harvesting the fruits (and veg, and herbs) of their labour. Any open space is an opportunity to unleash your inner permaculturist and start a #victorygarden, which benefits not only your own family but also the community around you. Sharing your harvest with a hungry tummy is awesome!

Cool-season crispy crops

Spinach and leafy greens, thyme, spring onions, garlic, peas, cauliflower, cabbage, and microgreens.

Scrumptious summer harvest

Tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, watermelon, cucumber, peppers, berries, squash, basil, and sage.

*Grower’s reminder: Make sure to plant and sow according to your province and season. Your GCA Garden Centre is loaded with seed packets, seedling trays, fruit trees, herbs, compost, and more!

 

Tiny plants for desk delights
  • Tiny plants are the sweetest little solutions to green-up your workspace and help soothe the working mind. They are fast-growing and will still look lovely as they get bigger. Baby greens are also a great choice for beginner gardeners who are still learning the tricks of the green trade. Keep your babies in small pots to limit their growth or replant them outdoors later.
  • The polka dot plant(Hypoestes phyllostachya): brightly spotted leaves in shades of pink, purple, white, red, and other hybrid colours.
  • Calandiva, or flowering kalanchoe: profuse long-flowering blooms available in many colours.
  • Fittonia: perfect for indoor décor with striking contrasting veins running through the leaves.
  • Succulents from the Sempervivum family are fab no-fuss plants, and they produce offsets.
  • Microgreens: super cute seedlings of edible plants and you can snack on them too!
  • Mini tomatoes and pot peppers are must-haves to add to your tiny edible collection.

 

There you have it – your top trends for the year and a ton of inspiration to keep you going during The Great Reset! Keep your hearts green, teeming with life, and your green fingers ever on a mission to let Mother Nature shine. Our Life is a Garden, always, so pick a trend, plant away, and harvest that happiness for you and your loved ones to enjoy.

 

 

April in the Garden Checklist Gardening Checklist

Posted on: March 9th, 2021 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

Like the calm before the cool, winter preparations are smooth sailing this month with Life is a Garden’s crisp April checklist. Gardening during the cooler months definitely has its own challenges, but also so many exciting flowers and veggies to look forward to. Did someone say spring bulbs already? Head over to your GCA Garden Centre and let’s plant right in!

 

Chillax with flowers
  • Bulba-licious beauties: You can plant all spring-flowering bulbs now, hooray! Bulbs with fingers or claws, like ranunculi, should be planted with their fingers pointing downwards. Try plating small bulbs like anemone, leucojum, muscari, lachenalia, tritonia, and ranunculus, or larger bulbs such as hyacinth, freesia, and Dutch iris.
  • Pretty and pleasing: April is the perfect time to buy and plant out pretty primula, poppy, pansy, and gazania seedlings.
  • Indoor inspiration: Spathiphyllum, known also as Peace lily, is an easy-care, low-light houseplant with majestic, long-lasting white blooms.
Leucojum
Ranunculus
Dutch Iris
Primula
Spathiphyllum Peace lily
  • Colourful corners: Try planting a corner of ericas, restios, leucadendrons, and Proteas – they provide stunning autumn and winter colour.
  • Balmy blooms: Plant cool-season annuals at the base of bare-stemmed bushes. Choose sun lovers like alyssum, calendulas, dwarf snapdragons, lobelias, Namaqualand daisies, phlox, and pansies.
  • Bedding babe: Available in many bright hues, Cineraria enjoy moist soil in semi-shade beds.
  • Pot of purple: Lavender is waiting to perk up your patio pots with an easy-going purple flush.
leucadendrons
Lobelias
Cineraria
Lavender
Feeding and frost
  • Feed aloes and flowering succulents for a glorious winter show.
  • If you’re living in a frost-prone area, be sure to purchase some frost protection from your GCA Garden Centre before winter arrives in full force.
  • Continue feeding your evergreen cool-season lawn to ensure it remains lush during winter.

 

In the grow-zone
  • Grow garlic bulbs, which you can purchase from your GCA Garden Centre. Pick a sunny spot with well-drained soil and plant the cloves about 15cm apart in drills of about 7cm deep.
  • Plant a lemon tree now to enjoy summer lemonade on the rocks!
  • Veggies to be sown now include: peas, parsnips, carrots, onion ‘Texas Grano’ (short-day varieties), beetroot ‘Bulls Blood’ (the leaves provide extra vitamins for winter), broad beans, winter cauliflower, and good old broccoli.

 

Green steam ahead
  • Start sowing herb seeds in windowsill containers. Avoid leaving your babies near glass overnight as the cold chill may affect their growth.
  • Revitalise your veggie beds to boost winter crops and give roots added nutrients. Mix in a hearty dose of compost to your soil with a handful of organic bone meal.
  • Prune back old canes of raspberries and blackberries that have finished fruiting.
  • Feed citrus trees with a general fertiliser and a handful of Epsom salts.
Garlic bulbs
Lemon tree
Sow herb seeds
Prune rasberries

Enjoy your time chilling out and ticking off your April checklist. Ride the wave of cool-season thrills and all that’s up for grabs in the garden. Whether you’re maintaining, sowing, planting, or pruning, there’s always something to do in the backyard. Life is a Garden – welcome the refreshing autumn breeze into yours.

LIAG Press Clippings – January 2021

Posted on: February 24th, 2021 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

Life is a Garden received press coverage to the amount of R129,967.61 in the month of January. The below spreadsheet shows the total press coverage that Life is a Garden received in the month of January 2021.

To view the Life is a Garden – January “Redbook” actual press clippings, please click here: https://www.redbook.co.za/share/book/0a1884a8a9d778d3052fe7781f58bfee

 

Press Report of January

 

Marketing Snapshot