Posts Tagged ‘ Water ’

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!

March in the Garden Checklist Gardening Checklist

Posted on: February 16th, 2021 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments
March Gardening Checklist

As the last month of summer comes to an end, it’s time to start preparing the garden for autumn and winter growing. March presents ideal conditions for sowing seeds as the day temperatures are still warm enough, while night temperatures begin dropping gradually. This is also a great time for cool-season seed germination varieties, and let’s not forget that much-loved gardening maintenance.

 

Flowers and foliage

The autumn climate is well-suited for planting as new roots get a chance to establish themselves before spring. Try sowing these lovelies now for a brilliant flush of colour and fragrance:

  • African daisy (Dimorphoteca) to beautify beds, borders, and containers.
  • Livingstone daisy, known also as Bokbaai vygie (Mesembryanthemum) are colourful customers.
  • Virginian stocks (Malcolmia maritima) as an enthusiastic and cheerful bloom.
  • Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) to keep pests at bay in the veggie patch.
  • Blue Felicia bush (Felicia amelloides) for fast-growing, striking sky-blue flowers.
African daisy (Dimorphoteca)
Livingstone daisy
Virginian stocks
Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) to keep pests at bay in the veggie patch.
Blue Felicia bush
Sweet peas

Before sowing sweet peas, prepare their new home by digging deep trenches and working in some nutritious compost from your local GCA Garden Centre. Bonemeal (if you don’t have dogs) and super-phosphate are excellent choices to assist in creating your sweet pea sanctuary. Remember to soak the seeds overnight in lukewarm water before sowing directly into the ground.

Roses

Roses are a simply spectacular sight in autumn! To ensure quality blooms into winter, continue with regular preventative treatments/spraying for black spot, beetles and bollworm. As the days get shorter, the roses start to go dormant and withdraw food from their leaves. To compensate for this and to provide enough food for new growth and flowers, fertilise with rose food – your GCA Garden Centre guy can advise you on the best option. Regular watering is very important if there is insufficient rainfall.

Sweet pea
Rose care

Tree tip: Plant new fruit trees from mid-March onwards in temperate regions to ensure a good spring and summer harvest. Your GCA Garden Centre has a tasty selection of fruits to grow, go check it out.

Veggies and herbs

Winter veggies are ready to be planted for delicious soups and stews to enjoy during the chilly nights. Remember that your GCA Garden Centre supplies both vegetable seeds and seedlings to get you started. Sow/plant these cool-season sensations now for an autumn/winter harvest:

  • Cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower
  • Broad beans, Brussel sprouts, and onions
  • Spinach, leeks, celery, and peas
  • Gooseberries, beetroot, and garlic
  • Oriental veggie varieties available at your GCA garden centre

Bedding bestie tip: Do companion planting with wild garlic, yarrow, comfrey, and Marigolds to assist with soil nutrition and natural pest control.

Cabbage
Brussel sprouts
Leeks
Gooseberries
Herb preservation

For an on-demand homegrown supply of fresh herbs during winter, start harvesting and preserving your greens now. Chop mint, parsley, basil and lemon balm, place them in an ice tray, fill with water, and pop them in the freezer. Aromatic herbs such as oregano, marjoram, thyme, sage, bay leaf, and rosemary, are better air-dried. Continue to feed herbs monthly with a half-strength liquid fertiliser and water regularly.

Must love maintenance

March is a month of maintenance, for which you’ll be gloriously rewarded as we move into winter. Give the garden a little extra TLC in preparation of the changing season. A little goes a long way in terms of the overall appearance and fertility of your beds, plants, and harvest.  Start these maintenance jobs now:

  • Work in about 30cm of compost into beds with a handful of bonemeal or super-phosphate to ensure plants have all the nutrition they need for winter.
  • Trim ground covers like sutera (bacopa) that may have taken strain during the hot summer months. They’ll produce fresh new growth and will thicken up nicely.
  • Give fynbos plants like confetti bush, a light trim to shape them up before their winter flowering.
  • Protect grapes this time of year and prune back excessive leaves to allow more sunlight into the crop.
  • Once nectarines, peaches and plums have finished fruiting, prune to shape and remove any dead or diseased branches.
  • Remember to reduce the amount of water given to houseplants.
Sutera bocopa
Confetti bush
Grapes
Nectarines

Although summer has loved and left us, autumn has come with its own wonderful variety of sowing opportunities. There’s always a flower, fruit, and veggie in need of a home, roses looking for a pruning, and a little maintenance to make all the difference. Enjoy March in the garden and tick off your to-do checklist with the help of tools, accessories, and seeds available at your GCA Garden Centre.

Growing a Veggie Garden for Beginners Fundamentals of Gardening - Back to Basics

Posted on: January 11th, 2021 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments
Growing a veggie garden for beginners

Welcome, novice farmers! We are delighted to see your green fingers in bloom, exploring the world of homegrown goodness. Experience for yourself what all the hype is about by starting your own little veggie garden or edible pot. There is something truly special about fresh greens from the Earth – their incredible flavour loaded with nutrients, the direct connection with Mother Nature, and the unbeatable sense of pride from harvesting the fruits of your labour. Find out how to start your own edible journey below.

Humble beginnings

For your first growing quest, we recommend starting small. Think about whether you would like to use containers, plant straight into the ground, or if you would like to make raised beds. Consider your space and available time to guide your growing style. Sowing a couple of seeds in an empty space in your flower bed is as good a beginning as any.

Top tip: Be careful not to overpopulate your space. Your veggies will increase in size and need room to grow and climb. Planting too close together will also cause veggies to shade one another. Refer to your seed packet or handy GCA Garden Centre guy for advice.
Planting in containers
Planting in the ground
Planting in raised beds
Bean growth
Location, location, location

With the idea of starting small in mind, where you choose to grow is an equally important factor to consider. Veggies love the sun and will flourish in open areas that receive as much sunlight as possible with no big trees throwing shade on your new babies. Examine your space through eco-eyes: take note of the sun’s movement, surrounding foliage, and expansion space needed as your greens grow.

Top tip: Location is also important in terms of watering. Make sure your veggies are in reach of the hosepipe or irrigation system, and remain uncovered to receive as much rainfall as possible. If you’re planning to grow on the stoep, make sure your containers have good drainage and expect to have some water flowing out from under the pots, which is something to consider when placing them.

 

Choosing the best veg 

Your first go-to is Google where you can access all the LIAG articles on what to sow and when. Seasonal veggies (meaning the ones to plant for that season) are your best bets for success as these greens are naturally adapted to the climate of the given time. Also, consider how the plant grows – some grow like ground covers (pumpkin) and need plenty of space, while others like to climb (beans) requiring support structures, some veggies also need deeper soil (potatoes) and appear more bush-like on the top.

Did you know? Your GCA Garden Centre is fully loaded with seeds and seedlings for herbs, fruit, and veg.Enjoy a day trip out with the family and find your perfect edible with the help of friendly garden centre staff.
Ground covers - pumpkin
Climbers - beans
Soil growers - potatoes
Feb/March sowing suggestions:
  • Gauteng: spinach, lettuce, beetroot, and carrots.
  • Kwa-Zulu Natal: cabbage, broad beans, turnips, and radish.
  • Eastern Cape: spinach, beans, beetroot, and carrots.
  • Western Cape: cauliflower, celery, peas, and onions.

 

Top tip: Remember that compost maketh the crop! Visit your GCA Garden Centre for a variety of nutritious and organic fertilisers to keep your veggies growing for gold.

 

There’s always time and space, even for a single vegetable to be sown. Pick your favourite and plant it, it’s that simple, and the reward is marvellous! Gain a deeper appreciation for the food you eat by watching it grow and observing all the different phases of the life of a veggie – now that’s nature’s magic at its best!

Carrots
Radish
Beetroot

January in the Garden Checklist January Check List

Posted on: December 21st, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments
January in the Garden Life is a Garden

The new year is always a great time to start afresh and get back into the garden. Remove any tired or spent annuals and fill the gaps with new babies that will flower into autumn. Planting fresh herbs and veggies will also help you stick to those healthy New Year’s resolutions. Happy 2021, dear green fingers, and please do remember that your Life is A Garden!

What to do in the January garden
  • There is still enough time to sow Eschsholzia, Lobelia, and Phlox for an abundance of summer and autumn colour.
  • Water regularly during dry spells.
  • Put out snail bait after rainfall or after watering in the evening.
  • If yellow patches appear on the lawn, this is an almost sure sign of lawn caterpillar, also known as armyworm.
January Check list
Snail Bait
Lawn Caterpillar Army worm
January checklist

Tip: Use a thick, moist towel placed over a patch at night. If lawn caterpillars are the culprit, they will still be foraging on the lawn in the morning when you lift the towel. Consult your local GCA Garden Centre for a remedy.

  • Colourful Begonias are available in trays to liven up semi-shade and shady areas.
  • Deadhead hydrangeas and use the beautiful blooms in dry arrangements.
  • A light summer pruning of your roses will help to extend quality flowering into late autumn.
  • Gently prune lavender plants that have stopped flowering to encourage an autumn flush.
  • Mulch, mulch, mulch to beat the heat and save water.
January Checklist
January checklist
What to do in the January veggie garden
  • Most veggies need 60 to 90 days to harvest so if we are sowing in January, we need to think about what we will eat fresh from the garden in March and April. Never sow the whole seed packet at once as it literally contains from around 50 to several hundred seeds, so rather sow in 14-day intervals to achieve a continuous harvest.
  • If your mint, basil or sage is looking tired and leggy, re-sow them now.
  • Plant sweet peppers as seedlings - they are tasty in summer salads and many other dishes.
  • Keep protecting your fruit and veggies from fruit flies.
  • Feed your fruit trees, granadillas and veggies.

Tip: Never fertilise a plant when it is dry.

  • Try some of the decorative edibles in your flower beds for a change. The pretty red, pink, white and yellow stems of Swiss chard are very colourful. The fine-textured, ferny purple leaves of bronze fennel are a wonderful contrast to bolder textured foliage in the garden. Their purple colour is also stunning when placed near shrubs with lime green leaves like Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’.
  • Keep the herb garden full by planting chives, oregano, marjoram, thyme, sage and coriander.
January check list
January checklist
January Checklist
January checklist
January checklist
January Checklist

Look out for plants wilting in the summer heat, especially in dry weather. Give plants a deep watering at night and mulch around them. There are also water retention products that you can use – these will be are available at your local GCA Garden Centre. Remember, you can always get great gardening advice at your GCA Garden Centre.

Build a Bat Box for Daddy

Posted on: May 27th, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments
Life is a Garden Build a Bat Box for Daddy

This Father’s Day, we’re taking dads back to their childhood with a superhero bat box, DIY style! Give dad a heartfelt, handmade gift with this fun activity for the whole family. It’s time to get out those tools, that leftover paint, a couple of nails, and a little bravery if needed.

The fact of the bat is
  • Most bats spend the summers in trees, under bridges, or in old buildings.
  • They are a protected species in South Africa and it is illegal to harm them.
  • They are not vampires (thank goodness). There are 3 species of bats which feed on the blood of large mammals, but they do not bite into human necks and suck our blood.
Why should you build a bat box?
  • One bat box can host up to 50 brown bats, who in turn will eat thousands of bugs each night, hooray!
  • Bats love to eat mosquitos, yippee! One little brown bat could eat over 1000 mosquito-sized insects in one night. Amazing!
  • Bats play a role in plant pollination too. Fruit trees, night flowering plants, and a variety of other flora can all benefit from having more of these friendly pollinators around.
Life is a Garden Build a Bat Box for Daddy
Tools needed:

This project will require some basic carpentry skills. It’s a good idea to get dad involved in helping you build his gift.

  • Table saw or handsaw
  • Caulking gun
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Paintbrushes
  • Tape measure
  • Staple gun (optional)
  • Two clamps for clamping wood while you saw or drill
  • Safety glasses for when you use power tools
Materials needed:
  • Piece of plywood: 60 cm x 120 cm x 1.5 cm
  • Piece of cedar or pine board: 2.5 cm x 5 cm x 250 cm
  • Piece of cedar or pine board: 2.5 cm x 10 cm x 60 cm
  • Tube of paintable, nontoxic, latex caulk
  • Exterior-grade, non-toxic, water-based paint or stain
  • Wire or rubber mesh
  • A super-cool Batman stencil
  • Spray paint

 

Steps to building the bat house
  1. Measure and cut the 60 cm x 120 cm x 1.5 cm piece of plywood into three pieces:
    1. 60 cm x 65 cm (for the backplate)
    2. 60 cm x 40 cm (for the top half of the front plate)
    3. The remaining 60 cm x 15 cm piece will be used as the bottom half of the front plate
  2. Cut grooves into the entire backplate (for the bats to hold on to), or attach wire or rubber mesh using a staple gun.
  3. Measure and cut the 2.5 cm x 5 cm x 250 cm cedar board into one 60 cm piece and two 55 cm pieces. These are referred to as “furring strips,” and will be sandwiched between the front and backplates.
  4. Apply caulk to all 3 of the furring strips and attach to the inside of the backplate (the side with the grooves/mesh).
  5. Apply caulk to the other sides of the furring strips (that are now attached to the backplate), and attach the top section of the front plate first.

Then, attach the bottom half of the front plate, leaving a 2 cm gap between the top and bottom halves for ventilation.

Wait at least 30 mins for caulk to dry.

  1. Apply caulk to the 2.5 cm x 10 cm x 60 cm cedar board and place on the top of the box, with the edges equally off the box, to function as the roof. Add one or two screws to the top corners to hold the roof in place.
  2. Seal the entire box up by caulking every joint of the exterior of the box where wood touches wood. Bats want a dry home, free from drafts.
  3. Add some screws through the front plate, the furring strips, and the backplate, to ensure the structure is firmly secured.
  4. Apply your Batman stencil and spray paint away! Wait until all your stencils are completely dry.
  5. Paint the exterior of the box with the water-based exterior paint/stain.
Life is a Garden Build a Bat Box for Daddy
Life is a Garden Build a Bat Box for Daddy
Life is a Garden Build a Bat Box for Daddy
Life is a Garden Build a Bat Box for Daddy
Life is a Garden Build a Bat Box for Daddy
Where to position your bat box

These shelters need to be placed in a mostly sunny location. East-facing is usually best, where it will get morning light while being protected from afternoon sun. Position your bat house at least 5 metres off the ground to protect them against predators. A water source nearby would be super so that mommy bat doesn't have to leave her young for too long.

Life is a Garden – Tecomaria SunLovers®, Compact Range
Life is a Garden Build a Bat Box for Daddy
Life is a Garden Build a Bat Box for Daddy

For more fun DIY projects, click here. 

Mother’s Day Macramé Plant Hangers

Posted on: May 4th, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

Nothing says ‘I love you’ more than a hand-crafted, Mother's Day gift. Brush up on your knotting skills because the sassy 70's décor is back, baby! Try making this DIY macramé plant hanger for your mamma and gift her something genuine, from the heart.

You will need:
  • Four pieces of 2-meter cotton cord (3.1mm thick)
  • 1" brass ring
  • Two pieces of 30 cm rope
  • Scissors
  • Plant of your choice - we have used a Sweatheart Creeper (Philodendron scandens oxycardi)
  • Pot plant container
Getting to know the Sweatheart Creeper

Sweatheart Creepers (Philodendron scandens oxycardi) can be identified by their unique heart-shaped leaves. They are fast-growing climbers and one of the most popular foliage plants used as room or conservatory decor. This plant is adaptable, tolerates low levels of light for long periods, and thrives in summer or winter room temperatures. Click here to find your local GCA Garden Centre for more indoor plants suitable for this project.

Step by step to making your macramé masterpiece:

Step 1.
Begin your DIY macramé plant hanger by cutting the pieces of the cottob macramé cord. You will need four, 2-meter cords and two, 30 cm long cords.

Step 2.
Fold the  four, 2-meter cords in half and loop it through the bass ring.

Step 3.
Next, secure your cords in place by using the wrapped or ring knot. This is a simple knot that has a sophisticated, finished look. You will need your 30 cm piece of cord for this knot.

How to tie a wrapped, looped knot
  1. Place the short cord over the looped cords with the short tail to the left, the loop pointing down, and the long tail to the right.
  2. Wrap the long tail around the looped cords and around the loop of the short cord.
  3. Continue wrapping the long tail, pulling it tight and leaving the bottom loop of the short cord uncovered.
  4. When you are happy with the length of your wrapped knot, thread the long tail through the loop at the bottom.
  5. Pull up on the short tail to tighten the knot and pull it underneath the wraps.
  6. Cut off the tails as close to the knot as possible.

And that's it! We will be using this knot again later for the tassel.

Step 4.
Next, hang your rig on either a hook, door knob, or a friend’s finger. Group your eight cords into groups of two and tie the cords together using a simple knot. Continue this until you end up with four separate knots and make sure they are all the same distance from the top.

Step 5.
Now, you will continue to your second row of knots. Take two adjacent knots and one cord from each knot and tie the cords together. Repeat this until you have four knots and make sure they are the same distance from your first row of knots.

Step 6.
Make sure your pot plant fits, and if it does not fit, adjust the second row until you feel your pot plant is secured and will not fall through the knots.

Step 7.
To finish off your DIY Mother's Day macramé plant hanger, you will need to tie all of the cords together with one final knot. End off with a wrapped or looped knot.

Step 7.
To finish off your DIY Mother's Day macramé plant hanger, you will need to tie all of the cords together with one final knot. End off with a wrapped or looped knot.

Step 9.
Trim off the excess cord to create a tassel finish.

Step 10.

Insert your plant with care. Carefully arrange your plants' branches between the groups of cords and make sure that the hook you hang the plant from is secure and able to handle the plant's weight.

For more fun DIY projects, click here. 

Make your own water filtration system DIY Soil Water Filtration Experiment

Posted on: March 2nd, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments
life is a garden soil water filtration

With World Water Day just around the corner, on the 22nd of March, Life is a Garden has put together an engaging water filtration experiment for the whole family. Get the kids involved and  teach them about water pollution and how to get clean water.

Living in a drought-stricken country, water is a very precious resource. Sadly, many South African’s do not have access to clean water. Teaching  kids about the importance of water in agriculture is an essential aspect of education and will help youngsters understand just how critical H2O is for  a healthy environment.

This fun science experiment teaches kids about the importance of clean drinking water. It also demonstrates the process of how to clean dirty or polluted water using a natural filtration system.

You can make a water filter using recycled materials found at home. This water experiment is appropriate for kids aged ten and up, and can be used during science class or as a hands-on, educational experiment at home.

You will need the following supplies:
  • Two glass jars
  • Fine, clean sand
  • Gravel or small stones
  • Rocks
  • Coffee filters, cotton balls or a small cloth
  • Activated charcoal
  • Clear plastic bottle
  • Dirty water
  • Scissors or a knife
 Instructions

1. Cut an old plastic soda or juice bottle in half using scissors or a knife.

2. Place the bottle upside down into the glass jar..

3. Place cotton balls, cloth, or a coffee filter inside the bottle as the first layer. The first layer should be about two to three centimetres thick.

4. Add three to five centimetres of activated charcoal as the second layer, on top of the cotton layer.

5. Over the charcoal, add about three centimetres of fine sand as the third layer.

6. Add about three to four centimetres of gravel or small stones on top of the fine sand.

7. Add the rocks to the bottle as the final layer.

8. Add dirt to a glass of water to create muddy water. You can also get creative by adding other things materials such as glitter, beads, cooking oil or other materials to make dirty water.

  1. Pour the glass of muddy/dirty water inside the homemade water filter and watch the water drip clean into the glass below.
  2. Once the water has dripped through the filter, pour the water back into the glass – you can now make a hypothesis or prediction about the experiment.

Water filters reduce the concentration of contaminants such as suspended particles, parasites, bacteria, algae, viruses, and fungi. They remove particles and impurities from water. Each layer of the homemade water filter has a purpose:

  • The small stones are used to filter out large sediments, like leaves or insects, whereas the sand is used to remove fine impurities.
  • Finally, the activated charcoal removes contaminants and pollutants through chemical absorption. In nature, water is purified and filtered through sand, soil, gravel, and even beneficial bacteria.
Life is a Garden Water filtration

Try different types of material in this experiment and have fun learning about water filtration. For more fun DIY projects, visit the Life is a Garden website www.lifeisagarden.co.za 

Save our water, save our planet!

Posted on: February 21st, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

Water is a precious resource that is essential for all life form from plants and animals to humans. While we need to consume and use water to survive, there are ways to reuse and recycle our water to get double the benefit from it.

Did you know that in South Africa 27% of the total water used is used for domestic and gardening purposes? By recycling your water for irrigation and other non-drinking purposes our gardens and world would benefit significantly.

Recycled water, better known as greywater, is water that you have previously used and is sourced from basins, washing machines, baths and showers. Often this water will contain traces of soap residue along with other matter that is harmless when used for irrigation purposes or even cleaning paving or external areas around the house.

To get the maximum benefit from your greywater it is advisable to:
  • Get the water directly from the outlet source to prevent contamination with black water. You can install a commercial greywater system if your sewerage pipes are visible outside of the house;
  • Use environmentally friendly and biodegradable soaps, detergents and cleaning products to prevent damage to the environment;
  • Spread the irrigation of greywater to different parts of the garden to spread the soap residue across a wider area.

Water is an essential commodity that we all need to work together to save. Visit your nearest GCA Garden Centre  to find out which products are available to help you do your bit to reuse your grey water and save water and our environment.

Garden vision – Let your garden vision board bloom Must Love Gardening

Posted on: September 26th, 2019 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

Does the idea of spending an afternoon in a tranquil and breath-taking landscaped garden sound enticing? Well, with our help you’ll be digging in and transforming your garden into a haven just in time to have it ready for the festive season. Whether you’re looking to create a staycation spot or an entertainer’s dream, we have some tips that will help you get started.

Start with a vision

To begin, you’ll need a better understanding of the canvas you have available to work with. Take a walk around your garden and make a note of the sunny areas that would benefit from sun-worshipping plants and flowers. Also, pay attention to the shadier areas that might be ideal for you to convert into your peaceful escape or a lively entertainment area.

Once you have an idea of the space you’re working with, it is time to get the creative juices growing.

Stepping into paradise

Plants and flowers are an obvious first thought when thinking about your garden, and it is essential to have an idea of the types of flowers and colours you’d like to see dotted around this space as well as possible areas where you can plant trees and shrubs.

Having mapped out your flora you’ll have a better idea of where you want to place inviting pathways that lead you to explore your garden and soak up the beauty and fragrances that will linger around every corner. There are various paving and stepping stone options available to meet a variety of tastes.

Pots and a decorative bridge can be used as a focal point adding additional charm to the garden. Water features are also attractive additions to any garden and the soothing sound of water falling adds an element of calm to the environment. They also attract birds to the garden to further enhance the outdoor experience.

Entertainers dream

A tranquil and breath-taking garden can provide a gorgeous backdrop for relaxing family lunches soaking up the afternoon sun. However, at night, your garden can also transform into an enchanting paradise that dreams are made of. A fire pit in the centre of your night-time entertainment area will create a cosy atmosphere. It will also mean that there is no need to move indoors on cooler evenings. Add a few comfy outdoor couches and cushions, and you’re set to enjoy hours entertaining under the moonlight.

Garden lights could be positioned around the garden to emphasise large trees, stunning flower beds and walkways. To add to the sensory experience, consider planting some flowers that look their best under the moonlight and others that emit the most fragrance at night. Fairy lights can also add colour and magical sparkle to the area. You’ll also want to make sure that there is sufficient lighting around the entertainment area, allowing for easy access from the house when it is dark outside.

Getting inspired

These are just a few of the options available to transform your garden. For more inspiration to creating the garden of your dreams, scroll through the pages at Life is a Garden. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for monthly inspiration and reasons to love your garden.

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