Everlasting and easy plants INDUSTRY EXPERT Q&A

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April’s topic: Glam-up gran’s garden
Theme: Everlasting and easy plants 
Industry expert: Wayne Stewart
Garden Centre: Eckards based in Bedfordview, Gauteng: https://eckards.co.za/ 

If you’re in Gauteng, a visit to this multiple award-winning Garden Centre may well be the Saturday outing you’re looking for. We sat down with Wayne from Eckards to get the best advice on how you can glam up gran’s garden this winter. Come gain some elderly-aimed maintenance tips and easy plant picks to help ouma get more wow for less work.

1. We loved exploring your website, especially the awards section. Eckards certainly has an excellent record of achievements. Could you tell us about some of your favourite accomplishments and how you maintain your multiple award-winning standard? 

 

Our Eckards recipe for success is simple: great customer experience + quality plants + a passionate team = an award-winning standard. Eckards has maintained our top ten rating in the GCA competition for over 18 years, which is something we are very proud of. Winning awards is not everything but it is a great way for the team to see the fruits of their effort benchmarked against the best in the industry.

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garndams garden, life is a garden, greenery, begonias, clivias, daisies, tomatoes, geraniums,camellias, gaura, flowers, plnts, gca,beauty, LIAG

2. Having spent decades in the industry, we’re sure you’ve seen many hybrids come and go as well as which plants seem to have withstood the test of time as SA’s favourites. Please tell us which plants and trees are your all-time best sellers. 

 

Gaura in all colours has been popular since it was re-launched when the pink varieties were added to the range. As a plant for pollinators, it has withstood the test of time as a must-have filler in any garden.

After the impatiens disease hit in 2007 we saw a big change in colour for shade. Consumers mixed it up, instead of just falling back on common impatiens.

The Autumn Harvest

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It’s Autumn, and probably the last opportunity to soak up a lovely warm-ish day in South Africa before the winter chill sets in. Why not arrange some outdoor time on your patio with friends and family and surprise them by preparing some dishes, almost exclusively from your garden? Get your preserve recipes ready and let’s fill some bags with produce to share with those in need. 

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Pick me

A tasty host of herbs to be picked now include thyme, parsley, marjoram, and mint. Veggies like squash, zucchini, eggplants, peppers, chillies and, beetroot are also ready for the lunch buffet. Juicy fruit such as melon and tomato will be coming to an end now as well. 

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Harvesting tips

  • Prolong your lettuce harvest by only picking the larger, outer leaves each time, allowing the inner leaves to keep growing.
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fresh produce, harvest, autumn harvest, greens, life is a garden, farming, fruits, vegetables, harvest, autumn, march, food, share, backyard farm, greenery
  • Tomatoes are ready to be picked when they’re uniformly red – just before they soften. Spray preventatively against various fungal diseases.
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  • Lemons, depending on variety and care should be available to harvest pretty much all year round. Keep your tree well-watered, prune when necessary and protect it from pests to keep your bounty flowing.
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fresh produce, harvest, autumn harvest, greens, life is a garden, farming, fruits, vegetables, harvest, autumn, march, food, share, backyard farm, greenery
  • Peppers are a Catch-22 harvest. If you want volume you should pick them frequently and before they mature since they’ll keep trying to produce viable seed but if it is flavour you’re after you need to let them reach maturity before harvesting knowing you’ll have less but tastier fruit.
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fresh produce, harvest, autumn harvest, greens, life is a garden, farming, fruits, vegetables, harvest, autumn, march, food, share, backyard farm, greenery

Preserve your bounty

Fresh produce has a limited shelf life but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your harvest for longer. Fill jars with homemade pasta sauces, relishes, and pickles that can be enjoyed for months after you’ve harvested your vegetables. There are some stunning preserve recopies out there, not to mention fire ciders and other health conics you can create.

Green-ovate your bathroom Bathroom Plants and Garden Checklist

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Green-ovate your bathroom with these moisture-loving, humidity-seeking plants.

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Indoor bathroom beauties

Landscaping indoors is a great way to both extend and create a theme. In addition, the bathroom doubles as a sweet little greenhouse for all your favourite indoor lovelies. Consider the style of the plant to inspire your container shape and colour choice. 

Tropical vibes:

Croton plants (Codiaeum variegatum) come in a large variety of foliage shapes and sizes as well as different colour variations. In general, the more variegated and colourful the croton plant, the more light it will need. They do not like the cold and will likely go through a shock period once brought home or moved. A tad fussy, but so worth it!

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Greenovate, Bathroom, greenery, plants, vegetables, harvest, checklist, pests, apricots, apples, bamboo, beetroot, staghorn fern, croton plants, guzmania flower, thyme, rosemary, life is a garden, february

For good feng shui:

Sculptural and intriguing, the lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) is a good choice for beginners. They enjoy filtered sunlight and a drop of liquid fertilizer once a month. You can even grow this plant in a vase of pebbles and water, just be sure to refresh the water every week. In addition, stalks can be trained to grow in special twists and turns. 

Striking and strange:

Guzmania flower bracts will captivate you all year round. As they tend to be top-heavy, place a stone at the bottom of containers. Plants prefer bright light, no direct sun, and an orchid mix soil base that is kept moist. Place them at eye level where you can enjoy their evergreen foliage and most unusual flowers.

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Greenovate, Bathroom, greenery, plants, vegetables, harvest, checklist, pests, apricots, apples, bamboo, beetroot, staghorn fern, croton plants, guzmania flower, thyme, rosemary, life is a garden, february

Top tip: Remember to rotate your plants every two weeks for even, straight growth. 

Top tip: Avoid fungal disease and ensure fresh air circulation by always airing out the bathroom after showering/bathing. 

Try this:

Mount the staghorn fern (Platycerium bifurcatum) against a stunning piece of driftwood on a windowsill with indirect sun. As part of the epiphyte family, these Tillandsia (air plants) thrive by absorbing moisture through their leaves. 

Incredible carnivores with roots Predator plant month

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February’s topic: Predator plant month
Theme: Incredible carnivores with roots!  
Industry expert: Renee Mendelow
Garden centre: Jozi Carnivores based in Midrand, Gauteng: www.jozicarnivores.co.za  

If you have yet to explore the extraordinary world of predator plants, Jozi Carnivores has your next epic gardening adventure sorted! Located on a beautiful farm with horses and trees, this specialised Garden Centre is well worth the outing and offers fascination for the whole family to engage in. With thousands of exotic carnivorous beauties to choose from, our industry expert, Renee, has provided some invaluable information and advice on how to become the ultimate predator plant parent. Come dig in, if you dare!

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1. Please tell us how your carnivore plant journey began and what made you fall in love with this most unusual species?  

I discovered carnivorous plants at a time when I had three children in primary school. We were going to so many children’s birthday parties and spending so much money on gifts that were mostly about packaging and plastic. It made me feel sad. Around that time, I spotted a little Venus flytrap in a nursery and bought it for my daughter who shared my love of nature. She adored her Venus flytrap but a day or two later she emerged looking sad and worried. “It’s my Venus flytrap” she declared, “It’s bored and lonely and just sits around all day waiting for something to happen”. We clearly had a problem on our hands, so we decided to find a friend for the lonely plant. 

We trawled the nurseries but found none. We then searched the internet and found a carnivorous grower in Cape Town. I was then exposed to the incredible world of carnivorous plants and discovered the fascinating variety available. I realised quickly that predator plants serve as an excellent educational, organic gift for children that also taught positive values such as caring for a living thing.

Zebra plant We love succulents

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Haworthiopsis attenuata ‘Zebra plant’ is a local hero, indigenous to the Eastern Cape. They are from the same subfamily as aloe and are equally eye-catching in appearance with pointy leaves and zebra-like white stripes. Grown both indoors and out, this succulent is next on your summer adoption list!

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Getting to know your Zebra plant

Grow guide: With a high tolerance for different light conditions, you can grow them pretty much anywhere. Outdoors, they prefer morning sun and need to be acclimatised to full sun areas. Indoors, they can handle low light but need to be moved to bright light locations every few weeks to keep them healthy. 

Claim to fame: Zebra plants are hassle-free, non-toxic, and can tolerate mild frost for short periods. Locals also use this plant to ward off evil and protect homes. Zebras produce aloe, which can be applied to minor cuts and skin irritations. Plants are highly decorative with a lovely ridged texture on the white stripes.

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In the garden: This succulent will liven up any container and rock garden, reaching a sweet height of 15 cm. Pair them with other low-growing plants in well-draining soil (they do not like wet feet). Water once the soil has dried out completely and fertilise once a month during spring and summer. 

Pest patrol: Plants are generally pest and disease hardy but be aware of the usual suspects such as mealybugs and spider mites. Keep plants healthy and you will be rewarded with a friend for a decade! 

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zebra plant,succulent, zebra, aloe, pot plant, life is a garden, pot, stripes, january gardening, green, greenery

Did you know? This plant is used in a variety of cosmetics – from shampoo to lotions, and homoeopathy medicine and beauty products. 

 Top tip: Your Zebra plant will produce pups and offsets. Separate new arrivals by removing them from mom and transplanting into moist, prepared soil. Wait until new growth appears before watering again.

Delicious Produce Trees & vines for homegrown abundance

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January’s topic: Eat your heart out healthily
Theme: Delicious produce-producing trees and vines 
Industry expert: Charles Oosthuizen
Grower: Tuberflora Nursery based in Muldersdrift, Gauteng: https://www.tuberflora.co.za/  

Life is a Garden met with expert grower, Tuberflora, to find out about the latest edible hybrids and delicious fruit tree varieties available this summer at your GCA Garden Centre. With serious water restrictions experienced across the country recently, are you equally mulch-serious yet? Come get some professional growing advice and choose the perfect produce-producing tree for gardens and patios of all sizes. 

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1. Your website lists such a juicy, crunchy, and zesty variety of produce-producing trees. Please give us your top 5 summer must-have fruit trees that our gardeners can look out for at their GCA Garden Centre this season. 

  • Pomegranates (King of fruits)
  • Figs (Queen of fruits)
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Citrus
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2. We love your selection of the more uncommon nut, berry, and fruit tree/plant varieties. For our gardeners looking to grow something special, which trees/plants would you recommend and are there any growing tips to be aware of? 

We are introducing wine grape varieties this year, and although they are small and seeded, they are edible. Grapes are water-wise and thrive in hot, dry weather conditions.

We also sell special heirloom varieties of figs and pomegranates. In fact, Giving Trees grow the biggest selection of figs and pomegranates in the country and their aim is to preserve the huge gene pool of varieties for future generations. Figs and pomegranates are special spiritual plants as they bring good energy to your garden. Figs and pomegranates are tolerant of hot, dry weather conditions as well once they are established. Persimmons are tough, easy to grow and very rewarding.

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3. We recently experienced water restrictions across the country. Are there any water-wise growing/watering methods and practices you could recommend that allow consumers to sustainably grow food?

WOW your watermelon DIY

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The exciting thrill of a successful watermelon harvest doesn’t end at picking your prized fruit at just the right time. Have you ever wondered how to hero this bootylicious edible even further? These creative carving ideas and mouth-watering recipes from Life is a Garden are sure to help you get all the WOW’s from your watermelon this summer (with no added sugar and vegan friendliness)! 

Frozen coco-melon lollies 

Ingredients: Fresh watermelon and any other soft ripe fruit of your choice (try berries, kiwi or banana) and a can of coconut milk.

Equipment: A blender and ice lolly moulds for the freezer.

Method: First, blend your second fruit choice, such as blackberries, and fill a quarter of the lolly mould. Pop in the freezer to set. Then, blend your watermelon (remove as many seeds as possible) together with the coconut milk and pour the mix into the mould (on top of your frozen berries) and freeze immediately. Enjoy your double-coloured, homemade lollies! 

 

Try this: Add a handful of fresh garden herbs when blending your bottom fruit mix for a pop of surprise flavour at the end. 

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Wow your watermelon, recipe, fruits, summer, wow, waermelon, blueberries, Kids, fun, tasty, tasty summer, heat, chop, blend, lollies, colour, cool, cold spring, greenery, life is a garden,

Fancy-pants punch bowl 

Ingredients: A whole fresh watermelon, a bottle of soda water, lemon/lime slices, crushed ice, and mint leaves.

Equipment: A sharp knife, large spoon, blender, and ladle for serving

Method: Cut your watermelon in half so that you have two halves that can stand on their own. Hollow out the inside flesh and pop all the goodness into the blender, give it a whizz. Then, pour your watermelon blend back into its shell, slowly add the soda water followed by the lemon/lime slices, and then the crushed ice. Give it a gentle stir and add mint leaves to garnish – voila! 

Try this: Add a splash of gin or rum to the punch and a tot of passionfruit cordial as an adult’s only option. 

Garden Day

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.

Avondale Open Gardens

 

Enjoy the tranquility of the Avondale Gardens. Features include a meadow of wild flowers, large rose garden, orchid glasshouse, natural swimming pool and much more. Bring a picnic blanket and enjoy our freshly baked scones with tea or coffee available at the tea room. (Regret no picnic baskets allowed)

Please Note Entrance for adults is R50.

Children under 12 enter for free.

Marktfees Botanics

Marktfees is hosting a BOTANICS market aimed at the home gardener, the avid plant collector, and everyone who shares a desire for botanical inspiration in all its dynamic facets. From botanical décor, houseplants, specimen plants, gins, teas and beer to name a few, join us for the first of its kind market for Port Elizabeth.

Get your garden into shape January Checklist

Get your garden into shape and looking snazzy for the new year. There’s a lot to look forward to and a huge selection of flowers and edibles to be planted now. A little maintenance goes a long way in neatening up your garden’s appearance, so be sure to check out our handy hacks.

 

Sow a salad

What better way to get your garden and health back on track then by sowing nutritious leafy greens for those summer salads. The following edibles can be sown now:

  • Lettuce
  • Rocket
  • Spinach and Swiss Chard
  • Beetroot (baby leaves are delish)
  • Kale

 

Top tip: Leafy greens are very easy to grow and will reward gardeners best if you pick the leaves regularly and pinch out flower buds later in the season. Be on the lookout for cutworm, snail and slug damage to plants.

Lettuce
Swiss chard
Beetroot
Kale
Plant a paradise

January is always a good time to plant up areas with colourful annual seedlings. The heat is on so brighten up beds by planting these sun-worshippers.

  • Salvias flower throughout summer and autumn. Their upward-pointing sword-like blooms range from fire engine red to purple, deep blue and other powdery colour variations. They are waterwise and easy to grow in pots too.
  • Snapdragons offer striking colours and multiple blooms that stand to attention and are simply charming. Dwarf varieties are great as pot or hanging basket fillers. Keep plants moist while young and they’ll reward you by continuing to flower into winter.
  • Petunias don’t need special treatment or a lot of water either. Flowering increases as they grow, putting on a spectacular show of colour when mature. Petunias love the mild winter months too and will carry on growing in this time.
Plant Salvias
Plant Snapdragons
Plant Petunias
Plant petunia night sky
Indoor peace parade
  • The peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallesii) can grow in low-light conditions, which effectively means that it can thrive almost anywhere in the home.

Making Paint from Flowers DIY

Can you sing with all the voices of the mountain? Can you paint with all the colours of the wind? The stage is set for your first DIY of the new year, and gardeners – it’s blooming! We’re sure both you and the kids are eager to get back to school, so let’s make sure we send them off with some positive flower power. Here is Life is a Garden’s top activity to end off the holidays.

 

Pocahontas’s secrets

Did you know? The lotus flower was first used to represent the sun in Ancient Egyptian art and has since become a popular symbol of peace in yogic/health practices. During the Medieval and Renaissance period, painters and sculptures used flowers as an important motif to convey a certain meaning to audiences. The oldest archaeological evidence of paint making was found in the Blombos Cave in South Africa and was dated at 100,000 years old! Paint made from plant oils was also an essential part of Native American storytelling, on cave walls and on the body. Our girl Pocahontas is well known for illustrating the deep connection these ancient tribes had with Mother Nature.

Collecting your colours

The first ingredient you need is some flowers, of course! Gather a colourful collection from the garden or pop down to your GCA Garden Centre to choose from the huge selection of summer bloomers. Try to get a variety of different flowers as some are more pigment-rich than others, resulting in a brighter or more pastel colour. Try these colour-popping picks: Daisies, Fuchsia, Hibiscus , Roses and  Salvias.


Terrific gift tip: We know that January can be a tough month, on the budget and also for all those with birthday’s this month. Purchase plain white craft paper, fold it as a card, and get the kids to use their amazing flower paint to decorate it with.

Growing and caring for clivias Garden Mastery

Clivias are one of South Africa’s indigenous super stunners and have become quite the collector’s dream. Luckily, you don’t have to be a horticulturist to grow these distinguished plants, just some garden mastery know-how from Life is a Garden. Learn how to correctly harvest clivia seeds, how to grow them, and how to provide long term care for your elite lovelies.

 

The clivia craze

What’s so special about these plants anyway? For starters, they produce simply exquisite trumpet-like, fragrant flowers with dramatic blooms in sunset shades, both as solid colours and as delightful bi-colour varieties. Owing to their lengthy germinating time (one year from seed to pot) they’ve rightfully earned their place in the professional landscapers garden. Up for the challenge? These beauts can be grown as hero houseplants in a well-lit area, in shaded beds, or in pots on the patio with no direct sunlight. They thrive in rich potting mix with good drainage. Clivias are most active from autumn to spring, but they’ll retain their dainty evergreen foliage all year round.

 

Top tip: Garden centres are stocked with a truly splendid variety of potted clivias to choose from. Ask the friendly nursery attendants for guidance on what soil mixes to use in beds and pots. They’ll also be able to give you recommendations on fertilisers to give your prized clivias that extra boost.

Growing clivias from seed

There are two ways to get your green fingers on some clivia seeds:

  1. Pop down to your GCA Garden Centre and purchase a seed packet.
  2. Wait for established clivias to produce berries, which contain seeds.

When clivia flowers are pollinated they produce large red berries. Pick your berries as they begin colouring then pop them onto the operating table and follow these steps:

  • Use your thumbs to break open the berries and then remove the insides.

Your nutritious, sweet summer grow guide

The garden is a trove of juicy treasures this time of year with an abundance of deliciousness to be grown. There’s something for even the fussiest of eaters and plenty of brag-worthy produce to harvest. Dash down to your local nursery for seed packets and seedlings trays and begin your nutritious, sweet summer gardening adventure today with Life is a Garden!

 

Starting off on the right root

Remember to use prepared compost and potting soil from your nursery as these products have been treated for bugs and weeds. A wide range of fertilisers for edibles is also available to help your produce grow strong roots and yield more yummies. Always check the back of seed packets for sowing information and the labels on seedling trays and pots for planting instructions.

 

Fruit to fall in love with

Nurseries are stocked with a selection of fruit trees, seedlings, and seed packets for you to sow and plant now. Stay hydrated this summer by growing these water-rich, nutrient-dense fruits:

  • Tomatoes – 94% water and high in lycopene, which helps protect cells from damage.
  • Watermelon – 92% water and soaked with nutrients, antioxidants, and amino acids.
  • Strawberry – 92% water, sodium and cholesterol-free, packed with fibre and low on calories.
  • Cantaloupe melon (spanspek) – 90% water and 100% of the recommended daily vitamin C.
  • Papaya – 88% water, aids digestion, helps with weight loss, and is loaded with vitamin A.
Tomatoes
Cantaloupe Melon
Strawberry smoothie
Super-charged veggies to chomp

Sow from seed or grow from seedling! These health-boosting, hunger-busting veggies are ready to go into the ground now:

  • Beetroot - rich in folate (vitamin B9), which helps cells grow and function well.
  • Capsicum - loads of vitamin C that’s important for the absorption of iron in the body.
  • Leeks - low in calories and high in nutrients such as magnesium and vitamins A, C, and K.

Vertical Gardening

Attention all small-space, bedless green fingers! Here’s your chance to grow vegetables, herbs, flowers, and foliage without a garden. Take your passion to the walls and grow your heart out with these nifty vertical gardening ideas. Bring your patio to life, suspend your edibles, dare to go soil-less, and have some fun with hanging baskets.

 

Geometric Greenery

A bare patio or balcony wall is prime location to begin your first vertical gardening project. You’ll need a drill and screws to secure pots against the wall in your desired shape/layout. Try an elegant symmetrical grid style, leaving a pot-width space between each container (4 pots across by 4 pots down is a good start). You can also experiment with circle pot arrangements, horizontal lines, or a diagonal pattern with cascading creepers in the top pots.

Plant picks: 'Compact Royal Jewels' Lobelia for a flowering spiller, English Ivy for dramatic trails of leaves, and 'Versa Green Halo' Coleus for an exotic-looking mound.

Vertical Garden Coleus
Soil-less Hydroponics

Dare to be different with an intriguing water-based, soil-less garden. Hydroponic planting gives you complete control of the environment, minimises pests, boosts plant growth, saves water, eliminates weeds, AND gives you eye-catching, living décor. There are a variety of hydroponic growing kits available, not only for vertical growing. Consult your garden centre advisor for different installation options and nutrient formulas.

Plant picks: Almost all herbs, leafy veggies such as celery and lettuce, fruits such as Key limes and avocados, and indoor ornamentals such as Philodendron, Peace Lily, Chinese Evergreen, and Spider Plant.

 

Hanging Around

Hanging baskets are ideal space-savers that add texture and life to baren corners, on the patio or indoors. Use a chain to hang containers from the roof (climbing plants will play up the chain and spill over the edges), or try half baskets attached to the wall with an added trellis behind them for trailing plants.

The super-fun summer garden December Checklist

It’s holiday season, and a jolly good reason to celebrate! Live life to the fullest surrounded by the ones you love and a gorgeous garden to host them all in. Life is a Garden’s got a fully loaded, super fun summer entertaining and planting guide to get you in the spirit of things this December.

Warm welcomes

Wet vines from the garden can be transformed into gorgeous decorative wreaths, which you can secure onto your front door. Try ivy varieties, grapevine, and big num num (Carissa macrocarpa) with ornamental grass strands that’ll maintain colour for longer too. Add to the friendly vibes by adding a textured welcome mat available from your GCA Garden Centre.

Try this: Once you’ve gotten a solid run from your wreath, tie it onto a tree branch and hang some birdseed feeders from it.

Christmas Wreath
Christmas Wreath
Eternal sunshine

Solar lights are the best-kept fun secrets this summer. Light up your pathways with lanterns, accentuate your trees with spiralled fairy lights, and make the patio pop with spotlights highlighting your gorgeous container beauts. Solar jars are also a sure win, to which you can add glass stones for extra sparkle. Solar jars look super magical when added to fairy gardens and scattered around beds.

Always lit tip: Wrap battery-operated fairy lights around your front door DIY wreath for added evening ambience as guests arrive.

Solar lights
Fairy lights
Inquisitive kids

Keep the kids entertained and educated with a ‘Find that bug’ quest. You can easily create a printable worksheet for your kids and their friends listing the goggas to be discovered in your garden. Alternatively, there are several local apps to be downloaded, which kids can use to identify their discoveries. Why not get them all to give a fun little presentation about the bugs afterwards!

 

Happy house plants

Consider playing with poinsettia (Christmas star) and amaryllis (Christmas flower) as part of your festive décor prep.

Poolside Gardens Back to Basics

When you’re a gardener, pool parties are all about the plants! Transform your backyard into a palm beach or rolling grassland, and how about a tropical paradise or trendy minimalistic look? Whatever your vibe is, Life is a Garden has got the perfect poolside gardening inspiration for your summer entertaining. Choose your theme, pick your plants, and head over to your GCA Garden Centre. Remember to check growing instructions and grab a bag of compost and fertiliser.

 

Poolside planting – the do’s and don’ts

The last thing you want is to be stressed out by maintenance or constantly needing to replace pool filters because of rotting leaves. Therefore, here are some plants to avoid and factors to consider when creating your poolside paradise.

  • Don’t: Plant annuals that shed during autumn, littering the pool and surrounding area.
    • Do: Plant evergreens that are always jolly and low maintenance.

 

  • Don’t: Grow soft fruit trees like plums and apricots that’ll drop and rot around the space.
    • Do: Go for hard-shelled, non-shedding edible trees such as lemons or lychee.

 

  • Don’t: Plant flowers too close to the pool as petals can become a nuisance.
    • Do: Choose evergreen ferns and ornamental grasses that don’t shed.

 

  • Don’t: Grow herbs or lavender that attract bees (if this is a concern for your family).
    • Do: Include a few rocks around for harmless and helpful dragonflies to bask on.

 

  • Don’t: Plant trees with large invasive root systems that may damage pool infrastructure.
    • Do: Rather plant trees in containers to ensure your paving and pool is safe.
Swimmingly elegant themes

Design your ideal backyard and display your expert landscaping skills with one of these gorgeous themes to flow through your space. Planting palms is one of the easiest ways to create a lush, island getaway feel, especially when paired with a boma, some beach sand, and wooden deck chairs.

How to plant a plant Back to Basics

How to plant a plant

Out the pot and into the ground, simple as that, right? If you would like your plants to thrive there are in fact several important aspects to consider in perfecting the art of transplanting. New additions to the garden can cost a couple of pennies too, so let’s make sure you get all the bloom for your buck. Here is Life is a Garden’s guide on how to properly plant a new plant.

 

Reading planting instructions  

The information provided on every pot or label at the nursery contains essential information that helps you make an informed decision on what to choose and where to plant. Each container and seed packet indicates:

  • Sowing/growing season (when to plant it)
  • Position (amount of sun/shade needed)
  • Spacing (how far apart they need to be from the next plant)
  • Watering guide (how often to water)
  • Germination and flowering (how long seeds take to germinate and when they plant flowers)

 

*Top tip: GCA Garden Centre attendants are both knowledgeable and friendly. They are available to help you choose the best plants for your environment. Ask them for help and they’ll show you which new lovelies are best suited to your needs.

How to plant a plant
How to plant a plant
Planting in pots

If you have chosen to grow in a container, here are some simple ways to give your new plant the best head start in life. Remember to ask your garden centre advisor to assist you in choosing the correct potting mix and fertiliser for your plant.

  1. Wash your homing pot before transplanting with a gentle disinfecting soap.
  2. Ensure there are sufficient drainage holes.
  3. Line your planter to keep it clean and help protect plants against mineral deposits and disease. Ask your garden centre advisor about which lining material would be best for your container and plant. Remember to also make drainage holes in the lining.

Eco-warrior lacewing

Eco-warrior wall of fame: Lacewings

Dynamite comes in a small package with these extraordinary helpers. They are excellent additions to the garden for pest control and prevention. Adults feed on pollen, nectar, and honeydew, while the larvae are active predators of soft-bodied pests such as aphids, thrips, whitefly, leafhoppers, spider mites and larvae, caterpillars, nymphs, mealybugs and more! After feasting for 2-3 weeks, lacewing larvae spin a cocoon and emerge as adults 10-14 days later. After such a carnivorous upbringing, adults lacewings are converted to veganism, enjoying nectar and helping us by pollinating crops.

Wow-worthy facts

  • Known also as aphid lions or wolves, lacewings can gobble up to 100 nasty aphids in a day.
  • Grey lacewing larvae are super smart oaks! They camouflage by carrying devoured prey carcasses on their backs.
  • Adult lacewings have ears at the base of their wings, allowing them to hear bats’ echolocation signals. They avoid being eaten by closing their wings and appearing smaller.
  • Lacewing larvae kill their prey by injecting lethal digestive juices into their meal, dissolving their insides, and then providing our hero with a nutritious, sappige smoothie – lekker!

 

Welcome lacewings by  
  • Planting indigenous.
  • Offering a variety of pollen and nectar-rich flowers to choose from (suggestions below).
  • Learn how to identify them to avoid accidental harm to these heroes.
  • Providing a safe hibernation home during the winter, such as log piles and dense hedges (check out our Hedge-tech article here for inspiration that’s shearously worth it).
Green Lacewing
Brown Lacewing
Plants for critters that guard the garden

Lacewings, butterflies, birds, bees, and ladybugs will all come to work when adding these sweet additions to the garden now:

  • Wild dagga
  • September bush
  • Pentas lanceolata
  • Star jasmine
  • Flowering hibiscus
  • Nasturtiums are highly recommended to make your garden come alive.
September Bush
Pentas lanceolata
Star Jasmine
Nasturtiums