Posts Tagged ‘ spring ’

Garden Day 11 October 2020

Posted on: October 11th, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt

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Garden Day returns for a virtual celebration of our beloved green spaces

Inspirational flower crown ambassadors, a packed calendar of virtual events, and DIY tips for a garden celebration are set to connect plant lovers across South Africa as Garden Day marks the beginning of Spring for the most meaningful Garden Day yet.

On Sunday 11 October, South Africans across the country will celebrate their unique green spaces and gardens in every shape and size. Created by gardening app Candide, Garden Day is a growing movement uniting people in their love for plants and flowers since 2016. From keepers of rolling lawns, community gardens, and vegetable patches to potted window sills, patio planters, and urban rooftops, the annual celebration is calling on plant lovers to put on a flower crown, down tools, and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

This year, Garden Day is especially poignant. Over the past few months, South Africans have turned to their green spaces to find solace and balance. Gardening has been proven to boost both mental and physical well-being and create a sense of belonging and connection. With spring in the air, it offers a chance to pause, reflect, and celebrate a season of new beginnings. From enjoying an outdoor picnic with your family to sharing your green haven with friends online, Garden Day is about taking a moment to celebrate the greenery that brings you joy.

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The Happiness Effect of Gardens
According to a recent survey by Candide, 96% of people said they felt happier when spending downtime in their gardens. The findings revealed the most popular garden activities are spending time in a favourite spot admiring plants, listening to birdsong and watching the wildlife, breathing in the fresh air and garden scents, enjoying a cuppa and a chat, taking me time with a quiet bite to eat, playing with the children, reading a book, or lazing on the grass.

“It’s been proven that if you surround yourself with plants and flowers, you’re likely to be happier. I can attest to that,” says Wolseley-based flower farmer Adene Nieuwoudt. “My flowers keep me energised and enthusiastic. Garden Day is the ideal celebration to express this sentiment.”

“There’s an unhurried creativity that comes with gardening,” adds award-winning interior designer Donald Nxumalo. “Typically, I’m racing against the clock, but on my balcony I can let the process evolve slowly. This balances and invigorates me. It inspires my design work.”

Nieuwoudt and Nxumalo are among the 2020 Garden Day ambassadors that will put on a flower crown and lead this year’s celebrations. They are joined by some of South Africa’s favourite flower and plant enthusiasts including landscape designer Joy Phala, Babylonstoren’s floral designer Constance Stuurman and master gardener Gundula Deutschlander, Chef Nti actor, writer and producer Donnalee Roberts, opera singer and television presenter Lynelle Kenned, and visual artist Alice Toich.

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Join the movement
To inspire South Africans to celebrate all things green, Garden Day will host a number of virtual events in the run up to Sunday 11 October including flower crown making workshops, so that you can make your own flower crown, the ultimate Garden Day accessory. On the day the movement will host its first Virtual Garden Day Gathering with a host of events, including yoga sessions, garden-inspired gourmet cooking and more via Zoom and Facebook Live. The final programme and details will be released on Gardenday.co.za/Events at the start of October.

Visit Gardenday.co.za/GetInvolved for a handy toolkit to help you plan the perfect virtual celebration, including recipe ideas, downloadable invitations for your virtual celebration and things to do and make with children in the garden. .
Catch news, updates, and inspiration at @GardenDaySA on Candide, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. Tag your posts with @GardenDaySA and #GardenDaySA to share your green celebration with friends, family, and fellow plant lovers online.

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A Bee-Friendly Backyard

Posted on: September 23rd, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments
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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.
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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
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  • 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!
  • When thinking of what to plant next, try picking plants with long blooming cycles, which will keep your yellow friends returning to the garden.

Buzzing advice: Bees love most flowers but they are especially fond of blue and purple buds. Read more about bringing blue hues into your garden here: http://bit.ly/2TUs1N4

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The bee’s knees

If your garden is all planted up, not to worry, you can still be the bee’s knees by boasting your pro-pollination garden. Become a bee-warrior, make your mark, and do your bit for the bees by including the following into your garden:

  • Group the same plants together to form one square metre of beelicious food.
  • Let your plants flower for longer allowing honeybees to come back for seconds.
  • Provide a freshwater source such as a birdbath, water feature, or even freshly watered pot plants will thirst quenching droplets.
  • Avoid all pesticides and other chemicals as the majority are toxic to bees.
  • Flowering weeds are actually a very important food source for bees. Try leaving a weed-friendly section in your garden to show your support for the greater good of life on Earth.

Buzzing advice: Your local GCA Garden Centre has a full range of products for all your bee gardening needs – from spades and rakes to soil and seeds!

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Roses are a bee’s best friend

Roses, specifically those with more open blooms, are available in almost every colour imaginable! Roses invite bees with a great variation of scents, flowering for most of the year, and ranging from miniature, bushes and shrub roses, to enormous gorgeous climbers.

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How to home bees

Out of all the bee species, the solitary bee is probably the most family-friendly as they pollinate flowers and they don’t sting. These guys are different from honeybees although they look very similar. You can home the solitary bee by building your very own bee hotel. Now that’s a sure win for team-bee! We’ve got step by step instructions for you here: https://www.lifeisagarden.co.za/family-fun-in-the-garden-make-a-bee-hotel/

You may also wish to home some honeybees in an organic hollowed out tree stump. We love this idea as the wood is close to home for the little guys. There are several ways you can go about setting up a natural beehive at home, as well as many DIY ways you could build one. Google is your friend, dear gardeners, and your local GCA will help you bring your idea to life!

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Join us, gardeners of all sorts, and lets #PolliNationSA loaded with green thumbs and hearts that beat and buzz for the bees. Let’s get planting, building, and using our resources to make every day a bee-conscious occasion and every backyard a bee-friendly safe-haven. WE can make a difference, and the difference lies in what we can make together. Life is a Garden, how will you sustain yours?

October in the Garden Celebrating Gardening

Posted on: October 1st, 2019 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

With the 20th of October being ‘Garden Day’ and October being ‘Rose month’ – what an opportune month to celebrate gardening!

Rose month

Your roses should be producing their first flush of perfect blooms and the sun is still not too scorching – allowing the blooms to last longer. Spring is also the ideal time to select and plant new rose bushes in your garden. These are some of our favourites:

  • Ingrid Bergman POULman unfading red
  • Memoire KORfuri   unspoilt white, fragrant
  • Zulu Royal DORient mauve, fragrant
  • King David TANmarsal bronze
  • South Africa KORberbeni golden

Pop in to your nearest GCA Garden Centre for more inspiration and supplies.

 

What to Sow

As soon as the soil warms up in mid spring, you can start to sow all your summer veggies, including beans, sweetcorn and tomatoes. Two of your main “must haves” for your summer salads are cucumber and celery.

  • Cucumber seeds should be sown in composed enriched soil in a sunny site. When flowers start forming, feed with potassium-rich organic fertiliser. Support plants well so they can climb upwards, even when the cucumbers get large. This also protects the cucumbers from slugs. Harvest /cut the cucumbers off the plant when they are still quite young, avoiding the skin becoming hard. Regular harvesting encourages a more continuous production of
  • Celery needs rich, moisture-retentive soil which is achieved by digging in plenty of compost. Sow in shade or semi-shade. Feed weekly liquid feed in mid to late summer. Plants should be spaced 20cm apart and kept moist. You can cut stems frequently as required.
What to Plant

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) - one of the easiest and most rewarding bulbs to grow, amaryllis produce showy, trumpet-shaped blooms that add a flamboyant touch to your garden or home. Often referred to as the Christmas flower because they typically bloom around five weeks after being planted (during the warmer months). For this reason, amaryllis make a wonderful gift at Christmas time and can also make gorgeous centre-pieces for the Christmas dinner table.

Amaryllis do well in most soil types, provided they get sufficient drainage. Plant in a sunny or semi-shade position and for the best results, give your amaryllis some bulb food every two weeks. These beauties are perfect for pots, and can be planted in groups in your garden.

As they retreat into dormancy at the end of the warmer months, you can decrease watering and leave them in the soil throughout the various seasons. Do not stop water them until all of their foliage has receded.

Star Flower or Egyptian star cluster (Pentas lanceolata) - a fast-growing, small to medium-sized herbaceous shrub with light green foliage. Pentas comes in a variety of colours, including pink, red, mauve and white. The beautiful flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds and make great cut flowers. The shrub grows quickly in full sun or semi-shade and vary in height but the modern hybrids are lovely compact bushes, growing +-100cm tall and +-30cm wide.  Plant them into rich, well-drained soil. Cut off the dead flowers regularly to encourage re-flowering or continuous blooms.

What to Spray

There are many types of broadleaf weeds that can get their roots into your lawn. Clear out and control weeds in lawns, by using a selective broadleaf weed killer that is safe for use on established lawns.

  • Aphids are rife on new growth, they feed on the sap of most garden plants and are usually found in large colonies on the new growth tips, flower buds or on succulent foliage. They are particularly prevalent during early spring and into the summer season, sucking the sap from plants and causing malformed flowers and foliage. They can be controlled with one of the numerous different insecticides registered for use on these pests.

Chat to a specialist at your nearest GCA Garden Centre for advice on the various products available and what would work best for your needs.

What to pick

Growing your own veggie garden is both fun and rewarding. Ready for harvest in October are: asparagus, broad beans, broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, lettuces, rocket, spinach (Swiss chard) and spring onions. The perfect ingredients for some very tasty and creative summer salads and veggie dishes. If you don’t have your own edible garden established yet – it is never too late to start.

Rose Care

It’s not hard to see why October is “Rose month” as you enjoy your roses in all their glory.

Water deeply at least once a week - for roses to flourish it’s best to water them twice weekly giving them 15mm of water each time.  Roses that were fertilised in mid-September should be fertilised again in mid-October or early in October if September was skipped. This encourages root activity and new leaves and flowering stems to sprout. Only use the recommended amount of granular rose fertiliser.

To prevent aphids, bollworm, thrips, powdery mildew and black spot, spray fortnightly with the correct organic spray.

For quality blooms, disbud hybrid teas by removing side buds out of the leaf axles beneath the terminal bud. Remove spent blooms; not only will your rose bed look tidier; this also encourages the production of new quality stems. If you’d like long stemmed blooms for the house, don’t cut more than half of them on a bush.

Visit your local GCA for advice on the best products to use to meet your needs.

Garden Day

On Sunday, 20 October 2019 we will celebrate Garden Day. Instead of working in your gardens – this is a day to put down your garden tools, invite family and friends around, relax and celebrate your garden with them. Flower crowns are a beautiful way to celebrate your garden.  Making and wearing the fun and colourful accessory is a great way to show off your garden blooms. Pick a few flowers from the garden and make your own flower crown.

Inland Gardening

(Gauteng, Free State, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo)

  • Before you know it, December will be here – start preparing your garden now for all your holiday and festive season needs.
  • Clean out water fountains and ponds and ensure you unclog the impeller on your water feature pumps.
  • Check that your irrigation system is working effectively. Unclog nozzles and filterers, and replace any pipes or heads that need replacing. You don’t want to be rushing around last minute before you go away in December to ensure your watering system is working!
  • Plant additional veggies (like beans, sweetcorn, tomatoes, celery and cucumber) so that you have a good selection and enough to feed your family and any visitors over December. Sow more parsley, chives, basil and coriander seeds in your herb garden.
  • Look out for insects such as aphids, mealy bugs and whitefly on soft new growth and control with the correct insecticide.
  • Tidy up garden containers by pruning shrubs and specimen plants to maintain a round shape. Plant some bright red bedding begonias around the stems and these will give you a great splash of festive colour in December
Coastal Gardening

(Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal)

  • Snails and slugs are more than likely sneaking out of their hiding places at night and eating seedlings and young shoots in your gardens. There are a number of ways, including traps to keep these guys from destroying your plants. Chat to the experts at your local GCA Garden Centre to find a solution that best meets your needs.
  • Inspect all members of the lily family such as agapanthus, crinum, clivia, nerine, amaryllis and haemanthus for lily borer. They are most active at night and can be treated with insecticides.
  • Clean up container plants and top dress with mulch, crushed peach or apricot pips or pebbles to keep the soil moist between watering.
  • Plant tropical fruits such as lychees, mangos and bananas.

Celebrate your garden this summer. For more gardening tips and information, visit Gardening trends or join the conversation on our Facebook page.