Garden Day is a chance for people across the country to down tools and celebrate their gardens. Everyone can take part, regardless of the size of their gardens – rolling lawns, potted window sills, urban rooftops and patio planters – all are welcome.
What you do on Sunday, 9 October 2022 is completely up to you – the most important thing is to head outdoors, wear a flower crown, and welcome Spring with a garden celebration.
Are you ready to take your environmentalism, landscaping, and garden art skills to the next level? Industry expert, Marionette from Plant Paradise describes xeriscaping as “the practice of designing landscapes to reduce the need for water, to have minimal maintenance, and to create a clean, stunning look that is sustainable all year round”. If this perks your green fingers, we’ve got loads more insight and inspiration for you below.
Plant Paradise has won the award for best garden centre in SA 7 times, giving you even more of an incentive to visit them and experience quality-approved customer service, excellent plants, and top-notch products.
October’s Topic: Rock-on Decorating
Theme: Modern Xeriscaping in South Africa
Industry Expert: Marionette Hoffman
Garden Centre Supplier: Plant Paradise based in Moreleta Park, Pretoria: www.plantparadise.co.za
1. How did you first begin your landscaping journey and what have been some of your favourite projects to work on (and where could our readers receive some inspiration from your stunning work)?
After finishing my studies, I moved to England and worked there as a landscaper and horticulturist for two years. After that, I moved back to SA and started my career at Plant Paradise Garden Centre as a horticulturist and eventually became the landscaper - never looked back since! Landscaping and creating different displays on the garden centre floor is my passion. My favourite projects will always be xeriscaping. My most favourite project of them all was House Thompson in Silverlakes, Pretoria, and House Leahy in Boardwalk Meander, also in Pretoria. The best place to view my work is at Plant Paradise. Our website is also a fantastic platform to view some of my gardens I’ve done for clients.
2. Based on your years of experience, could you please tell our gardeners what exactly xeriscaping in South Africa is and why they should consider implementing these practices in their own garden?
Gone are the days when rock gardens mean a cactus and stone desert. Have you heard about xeriscaping? Ever thought about pebbles and semi-precious stones as yard art? Life is a Garden sat down with industry experts to get the best advice, inspiration, and plant picks to help you save time and water while maximising your garden’s aesthetic beauty.
Stones and pebbles can become works of art in their own right. With so many different colours and textures, arrangements and complimenting accessories, rock gardens are for anyone looking to make a statement. The key to long-term success and almost no maintenance is good quality weed guard sheeting beneath your stone feature. Here are some rocking yard art ideas:
The striking minimalist: Pair pure white pebbles with contrasting black tiles or black painted pavement slabs to give walkways and entrances a sleek look. Alternatively, go for equally bold black pebbles with a few summer-flowering, white button sedge (Kylinga alba) ornamental grasses to set off the contrast. This indigenous sun-loving evergreen produces a clustered white flower head that is carried on an elegant, long slender stem.
Earth child: You can purchase bags of pink rose quartz (pebbles and rough stones) to use as centrepiece stone mandalas or walkable labyrinths. Pair your crystal arrangements with other softer stone shades (river rocks are lovely) and bring in some local steekblaarblinkgras (Melinis nerviglumis) to compliment the pink notes from the rose quartz. This very hardy ornamental grass will thrive in full sun and produces the sweetest plumes of fluffy pink to red seeds that appear all year round and attract seed-eating birds.
Dare to be different: Ever heard of rock balancing? This is a recreational activity where different-sized stones/pebbles are precisely stacked on top of each other to create a beautiful work of art.
The sun’s out – let’s decorate the yard! This outdoor paint project will add a homely touch to your rock garden and bring out the child-friendliness of your space. Edge your beds in bright works of art, add some critters to the fairy garden, or make some sweet signs for your veggies with this painting pebbles DIY from Life is a Garden.
What you need
A variety of different sized, lighter shaded pebbles
Weather-resistant paints and brushes
Super glue and googly eyes (optional)
Seasonal veggie and herb seedling trays and
A bag of compost/potting soil from your GCA Garden Centre
Painting ideas and inspiration
Ladybugs and bees (2 colour designs for smaller kids)
For these critters, the trick lies in the bright contrast of your paint and sufficient drying time between layers (to not mix colours).
To create a ladybug pebble, simply paint two red wings on either side of the stone, leaving a margin in between. Then, paint the rest of the stone black and add smaller black dots to the wings.
For a bee design, paint yellow and black stripes across the stone – voila.
Try this: Using superglue, sick googly eyes onto your pebble critters for extra character!
Rock frogs and rainbows (noughts and crosses game for bigger kids)
For this game, you’ll need to draw the traditional game grid somewhere. Try painting a stepping slab, wood block, or use chalk to draw the lines.
Paint 4 of your stones in a nice bright green. Add black lines to define the frog’s features and friendly face.
Paint 4 more pebbles in a rainbow design (remember to let the layers dry) and enjoy playing the game on the prepared noughts and crosses grid.
Try this: With all the colourful spring flowers in bloom, make it even brighter by edging your beds with a row of rainbow-painted pebbles.
Marry your senses to the spring stoep and fall in love with these indigenous catches that smell as sensational as they look. Container gardening brings your horticulturist skills and landscaping passion right to your doorstep, balcony, patio, and even roof!
Full sun stunners
Orange Hermannia (Hermannia pinnata) is a hardy, evergreen, water-wise groundcover that’s ideal for baskets. Flowers are apricot-coloured and smell simply wonderful.
Wild Rosemary (Eriocephalus africanus) grows rapidly and boasts strong, aromatic leaves. In winter, they show off their white, daisy-like flowers with purple centres.
Honeybells (Freylinia lanceolata) are appreciated for their creamy-yellow, tubular flowers that emit an alluring honey fragrance, attracting birds and butterflies.
Starry Wild Jasmine (Jasminum multipartitum) is an all-time fave owing to their hardiness, fast growth, and sweet-smelling, star-shaped white flowers.
Small-leaved Plane (Ochna serrulata) produce bright-yellow scented blooms, followed by striking black fruit that attract many local bird species to the garden.
Rose-scented Pelargonium (Pelargonium graveolent) is an evergreen shrub with velvet leaves emitting a lovely rose perfume. They produce showy, pinkish-white blooms.
*Maintaining moisture, good drainage, regular feeding, and location are all vital components to a flourishing basket and pot.
For the ultimate bulging basket look, go for containers with wire on the outside and fibre lining on the inside. By cutting through the material, trailing beauts can be planted all around the outside of your basket. Pair this with a fab focal bush in the centre and voila!
A lot a’ terracotta
Before planting, soak your terracotta pot overnight to saturate the clay and prevent it from stealing moisture from new plants. Place a paper coffee filter inside to avoid losing soil during watering. Heavier pots with thicker walls will last longer and handle frost better too.
Life is a Garden received press coverage to the amount of R 997 669.50 in the month of October. The below spreadsheet shows the total press coverage that Life is a Garden received in the month of October 2021.
To view the Life is a Garden – October “Redbook” actual press clippings, please click here: https://bit.ly/october_redbook
Press Report of October
Experience October bliss to the fullest with the best edibles, plants, and lawn maintenance.
Read more here: https://bit.ly/3lXbe8u
Rev up and rejoice – it’s time to motor in October! Garden Day is on Sunday the 15th, giving you the perfect reason to host a little outdoor eco-celebration - #gardenyay. Welcome spring in full swing and give your garden, potted windowsills, and patio planters some much-deserved admiration from loved ones. Also, it’s rose month! GCA’s are stocked with some serious stunners, waiting just for you. There’s much to plant, grow, and sow too, as well some easy-peasy maintenance to take care of. With compost and spades in hand, let’s get to work!
Raging for roses
Your top 5 babes available at GCA’s now are:
Double Delight: Pointed, cream colour buds unfolding delicately into shades of scarlet.
Just Joey: A hybrid apricot/orange blend tea rose with a seductively sweet scent.
My Granny: A spreading shrub with full rosette blooms in shades of soft pink and white.
South Africa: SA’s top performer with huge clusters of large, golden-yellow double blooms.
Zulu Royal: Large, symmetrical blooms in deep mauve with a silver-lilac dust.
Rosey tips: Avoid wetting rose leaves in the late afternoon as this may encourage black spot and powdery mildew. Plant living mulch between your roses such as erigeron, verbena or lobularia. Remember to feed with special rose fertiliser every 4 weeks for max bloom power.
Rushing flower power
Plant and sow now
For instant colour, go for calibrachoas with masses of miniature petunia-like flowers.
Sun-loving annuals in seedling trays include: petunias, lobularias (allysum), gazanias, penstemons, Chrysanthemum paludosum and C. multicaule, Sunpatiens and celosias.
Shade-seeking seedling trays include: New Guinea impatiens, begonias, impatiens (Busy Lizzie) hypoestes and coleus.
Go-getter perennials for all regions are: agapanthus, gauras, nemesias, osteospermums and geraniums of all kinds. Also go for gypsophila and masses of pretty but tough angelonias.
This month, Life is a Garden is taking part in the important global conversation about the need for urgent bee conservation. Like you, we are gardeners on a mission! And this month our mission is to #PolliNationSA and gather all the green fingers we can to join us in creating nation-wide, bee-friendly backyards. Here’s how you can help our crop crusaders by planting their faves, making small adjustments to your current garden, and even building homes for these hard workers.
Let’s speak bee
We are inviting gardeners to awaken their inner eco-warrior and consider the bee as an essential service to mankind! The balance of Mother Nature and Her creatures are in a delicate little dance with humanity, with the bees playing an ever-important role in sustaining the following:
In South Africa alone, over 50 different food crops are dependent on bee pollination.
The honey bee not only pollinates our fruit and vegetables, but they also improve the weight and quality of them.
Bees sustain our wild flora, which in turn supports the growth and preservation of almost all biodiversity and ecosystems in South Africa.
These guys are THE most important group of pollinators visiting over 90% of the leading 107 crop types worldwide.
Bees also contribute to job creation and employment on a beekeeping and farming level.
Honey offers many medicinal benefits such as anti-bacterial and diabetic properties.
Planting for bees
Welcoming honey-makers into your garden is easier than you may think. Once you know how to cater for bees, planning your next flower pot or gardening project becomes super easy. Similarly, a few simple additions to your current garden could make all the difference. Here’s what you can plant for bees:
Herbs such as sage, fennel, lavender, thyme, and rosemary
Flowers such as sunflowers, coneflowers (Enchinacea purpurea), Cape Daisy (Osteospermum ecklonis), dahlias, roses, Cape Forget-me-not (Anchusa capensis), and cosmos
Shrubs such as Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), Aloes (Aloe spp), proteas, September Bush (Polygala myrtifolia), and porkbush (Portulacaria afra)
Fruits and veggies such as watermelons, cucumbers and pumpkin are a bee-fave!