Vygies (Mesembryanthemums) are a South African favourite and one of our boldest, brightest, and most versatile species of flowers. With more than 1800 varieties to suit your colour and style preference, there is a vygie for every garden and container in need of some sparkling colour.
Grow guide: Plant them in a sunny spot with well-drained soil. Vygies are super forgiving and not high maintenance at all. They will flourish in almost all soil conditions, but if you want to boost their growth, add a handful of compost and fertiliser when transplanting them from seedling trays.
Claim to fame: Vygies are water-wise and well-adapted so our SA climate. Beginner gardeners should have no problem growing a successful carpet of colour or vibrant hanging basket. In addition, vygies can also be planted during any time of the year.
In the garden: Wish so many stunning forms of this plant, go for Drosanthemum, Delosperma and Lampranthus species that are small, shrub-like and ground covering plants. You could also try mat-forming varieties that grow well in Cape gardens such as the white and pink coastal vygie (Delosperma litorale), the yellow carpet vygie (Jordaaniella dubia), and the magenta coastal ruschia (Ruschia macowanii).
Pest patrol: Vygies are not prone to disease but be on the lookout for your usual succulent-munching insects and scale in particular. Both biological and chemical pest control solutions are available at your garden centre.
Fun fact: The word vygie is Afrikaans for small fig.
Winter winners: The Bokbaai vygie (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis) and yellow-bloomed vetkousie (Carpanthea pomeridiana ‘Golda’) will be in full bloom from August.
Try these: Lampranthus spp. and ice plants (Drosanthemum spp.) are densely flowered, highly colourful vygies. Delosperma spp. live much longer but don’t flower as profusely.
Fynbos is a specific group of vegetation that is known as Proteaceae. Fynbos has expertly adapted over millions of years and has thus become the world’s most diverse plant habitat, even more than a tropical rainforest.
King Pink is our national flower and a dramatic addition to the garden. They enjoy full sun in beds and containers, are drought and frost-hardy, and make for stunning cut flowers. Enjoy their bold blooms from July to October every year.
Fairy Confetti is a sweetheart shrub with masses of tiny pink flowers that add happiness to the garden. Their pretty blooms can be expected from spring, along with the many indigenous wildlife visitors they attract. Plant then in full sun in beds or pots.
The Scarlet Ribbon is a vigorous grower with no shortage of blooms. Their intricate flower heads will bring any bed or container to life with striking red, orange, and yellow details. Grow then in full sun and enjoy their flowering time from September.
Inca Gold is a decorative foliage plant with bright green, lime/yellow leaves that contrast perfectly with their pink edges. Grow them in full sun beds where you can look forward to a unique flower show from November to September.
Top tip: Fynbos love organic, rich dirt and thrive in sandstone derived, acidic soil with good drainage and no manure.
Top tip: Mulch your plants with acid compost once a year and remember to prune your fynbos after flowering or before spring for nice full growth.
Hanging basket bulker: Plant begonia ‘Dragon Wings’ in shades of light pink and reds for added hanging basket cuteness in full to semi-sun areas.
In the garden
Give your grass the pre-spring treatment by low mowing, spiking, feeding, and firm raking (scarifying). Apply a generous layer of lawn dressing and fertiliser, available at your garden centre, and cover the area so that just the tips of the blades are visible.
If you’re looking to change up your current garden style to a sleek and trendy look, minimalism may be a perfect fit for you. The minimalistic garden reduces maintenance time, water usage, and clutter. Moreover, sleek lines and open spaces help bring calm vibes to the busy city mind. Here is all you need to know to get you started.
“Current trends in architecture and interior décor are uncluttered simplicity, with clean lines, open spaces and natural, contrasting and complimenting materials. The minimalist approach to gardening will support and enhance what has been started by the architect and interior decorator.” - Hingham Nursery
What is minimalism and how can you achieve this look?
The minimalistic concept is all about simplicity and highlighting strong features with a defined purpose in the space. The goal is to have less, which then creates a feeling of increased spaciousness and order. The minimalistic garden tells the story of a space with a well-thought-out theme that is extended and complemented by colour accents, textures, shapes, and lines throughout the garden.
- Less is more: rather go for one big pot than multiple smaller ones. Use understated design elements and a neutral colour pallet. Limit the materials used in the space and keep the area neat, tidy, and almost at the bare minimum.
- Contrast adds interest: look for contrasts in texture and colour, whether it be shades of green or just green with a hint of a second colour here and there. Bold leaves contrasted against finely-textured plants are a perfect combo. In addition, including a body of water or water feature creates movement and brings even more calm to the overall landscape.
- Size matters: instead of many small pavers and stepping stones, go for large elements in strong shapes. Big square pavers will fill up a space nicely while creating bold lines and the feeling of spaciousness.
July’s Topic: Sleek minimalism
Theme: Less is more
Industry Expert: Julie Scragg
Garden Centre: Hingham Nursery based in Durban North www.hinghamnursery.co.za
Hingham Nursery is stocked with all your minimalistic gardening needs – from stylish plants to sleek décor accessories and planters. If you’re in the Durban North area, be sure to pay them a visit. You can access our nationwide GCA Garden Centre locator here to find your next award-winning shopping experience: https://www.lifeisagarden.co.za/category/garden-centres/
1. Please tell us how Hingham Nursery came to be and what inspired your personal gardening journey?
Gardening and creativity is in our blood - from the rose that my great-great-grandmother brought here from England on board a ship in 1863, to my mother who started Higham Nursery from scratch, propagating all her own plants and laying out the nursery with inspiring landscape features.
2. For our gardeners who are totally new to this style of gardening, please tell us what modern minimalistic landscaping/gardening is AND what makes it different/special to other styles of gardening?
Here are some key points to consider:
- Simplicity is key
- Less is more
- Small plant palette with a lot of repetition
- Geometric shapes
- Clean lines
- Open spaces and large swathes of planting with dramatic accents.
Current trends in architecture and interior décor are uncluttered simplicity, with clean lines, open spaces and natural, contrasting and complimenting materials. The minimalist approach to gardening will support and enhance what has been started by the architect and interior decorator.
In a fast-paced world, minimalism calms the mind and works well for busy people who prefer not to have to make any more decisions than they have to.
3. Please give us your top minimalistic gardening go-to practices. What’s your secret recipe for easily achieving this look?
- Less is more so rather one big pot than 3 small ones.