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JUNE 2018

SOUTH AFRICA On sale 21 May – 25 June 2018

Aloe inspiration

Mini trees Colourful coprosmas


10 tips for fishkeepers
to make a
IʝȾHVɢ
Even Iron Man needs mint
– herbs for Dad

Patterns in
pavers +
how to do it yourself Easy DIY
potting bench
R38 Other countries

Tropical thunder
INCL VAT 33.04

with plants and patio pots


Growing up veg z DIY composting z Conifers make a comeback
Welcome

W
inter is at our doorstep, the days are
getting shorter and it’s harder to get
out of bed in the morning. That said,
we think we’ve got a couple of cracking articles
to get you inspired to get into your garden, no
matter how dark or cold it is outside. Finally, I’d like to thank every single one of manufactured South African Bond paper.
But before we get into that I’d like to make you who came out in support of our show, and This paper, made by Mondi, is produced from
mention of the incredible success of our first ensured that we’ll be back next year. sustainably grown trees and significantly
ever The Autumn Garden Show, held in the But back to the magazine! You’ll have reduces the carbon footprint of your favourite
spectacular gardens of Doonholm Nursery in noticed that the magazine is looking better reading matter! It also improves your reading
Midrand at the end of April. than ever. That’s because we’ve changed to experience, so it’s a win-win!
This show was put together in record perfect bound (a square spine) and a locally Femma and Rick Hackland’s garden is a
time, because once we have an idea we like wonderful example of how to garden with
to get things going! Despite this, it turned out aloes in a modern, all-encompassing way.
beautifully and we’ll definitely be making it an Check out the pics we got of this all-year-
annual event. I’d like to thank Doug and Louis round aloe garden!
of Doonholm, as well as their willing staff, who We’ve also jazzed things up with our
put their backs into making the gardens of the regular herbs section, to give it more
herb farm look as good as they’ve ever looked. relevance to your life. This month we focus on
What a magnificent venue it turned out to be! Dad, and the herbs he can best make use of in
My own team from The Gardener, the home and garden (and even with beer!).
especially Adele, Wendy and Jonathan, So please, don’t sit inside waiting for
did a sterling job getting together such an winter to be over. Get out there, learn or
interesting and diverse group of exhibitors plant something new, knowing that we’re
dealing in everything from exotic plants and doing the same in our gardens.
gardening supplies to food and drinks, while Till next month,
I thought the talks and garden tours were all Happy gardening.
top notch. Well done team!
I’d also like to thank Mayford for
sponsoring the (very well attended!)
Gin Terrace, and Atlantic Fertilisers for
sponsoring the talks.

Tanya and Garth


clothed by:

2 I www.thegardener.co.za
4 l www.thegardener.co.za
Contents
June 2018
in the garden
6 Trusty Trio
Three furry-leafed kalanchoes create
garden decor and DIY
8  A celebration of aloes
Rick and Femma Hackland’s garden
redefines what it means to garden 8
with aloes
52 Choosing a compost container
Decide what composter you need,

14 Conifers: timeless evergreens


Could conifers be making a strong
34 Your rose garden
Poppies and roses, and how to
best transplant rose plants
and make your own

comeback?
58 A pallet-able wall feature
This creative wall feature can be

18 Jungle fever
Of all known garden styles, a
37 Copious coprosma
Why we're fans of the mirror bush used as a decorative shelf or even a
functional potting bench
tropical garden best connects
you to the drama and serenity of
Mother Nature
40 Tree time for 'me time'
Create your own mini woodland
area for some 'forest bathing'

24 Tropical in a pot
Bring a touch of the tropics to your 44 Food gardening
• Herbs to keep Dad healthy and
extras
garden with this pot recipe happy
• Get creative with arbours,

26 Patterns in pavers
How to plan and install paving
effectively
obelisks, teepees and trellises
• Garden tasks for June
• June sowing guide
56 Subscribe to The Gardener
and save!

30 Getting to grips with paving


Here are some points to keep in 62 10 top tips for new fishkeepers
Pet healthcare is so important,
68 Events and open gardens

mind to make your paving job


perfect
and fish are no different
69 Lunar gardening guide

32 Proudly South African


Melinis repens: Beautiful Natal red
64 June in your garden
Here is a quick checklist to
remind you what to do in the 72 Stoep Stories with Anna Celliers
Am I okay?
top garden in June

Subscriptions Design Vincent Goode Editorial contributors


Celine van der Westhuizen Alice Spenser-Higgs, Angela Becks, Anna
Dinnie Gildenhuys Photography Geoff Redman Celliers, Gerald Schofield, Graham Duncan, Ilona
Tel 031 003 0940 Thorndyke, Ludwig Taschner, Stephen Smith, Tanya
DIY Expert Garth Demmer Visser, Wendy Moulton
Email subs@thegardener.co.za
Advertising
Publisher Lonehill Trading (Pty) Ltd Editorial Head Office
Jonathan Gouws 031 003 0940
64 Old Main Road, Botha’s Hill
Editor Tanya Visser jonathan@thegardener.co.za
PO Box 184, Botha’s Hill 3660
Assistant Editor Anna Celliers Advertising Telephone (031) 003 0940
Mokete Maepa 031 003 0940 Telefax 086 758 3105
Managing Editor (Editorial enquiries) mokete@thegardener.co.za e-mail: info@thegardener.co.za
Wendy Moulton 031 003 0940
Office Administrator (Enquiries)
Assistant to the Editor Nokuthula Zuma 031 003 0940
Cindy May Wang 031 003 0940 nokuthula@thegardener.co.za
Copy Editor Stephen Smith

Copyright subsists in all work published in this magazine. Any reproduction or adaptation, in whole or part, without written
permission is strictly prohibited. The Gardener will not be held responsible for any omissions or errors. Unsolicited material
will not be accepted.
TRUSTY TRIO

Three furry-leafed
kalanchoes
W
inter is very much succulent season, with many of the plants
looking their bright and colourful best during the cooler
weather. Most kalanchoe types are grown for their attractive
flowers, which usually appear during the short day lengths of winter, but
some are cultivated specifically for their interesting or unusual foliage.
Here are examples of three such kalanchoes, which all originate from
Madagascar. They are easy to grow and thrive in many gardens around
South Africa, especially in the drier areas.

Kalanchoe beharensis Kalanchoe orgyalis Kalanchoe tomentosa


(felt bush or donkey’s ears) (copper spoons) (panda plant or pussy ears)
This kalanchoe grows into a large shrub This is a small to medium-sized shrub with Of a lesser stature than the other members
or small tree with stout branches that can round to elliptic fleshy leaves covered in of the trio, this furry-leafed succulent
reach in excess of 5m tall over a period of coppery-bronze hairs on the upper surface. is popular as an indoor plant for sunny
time, although garden specimens seldom The unique colour and unusual texture of positions in colder climates. Locally it grows
reach these large proportions as they are the foliage makes this succulent stand out in well outdoors, forming low to medium-
usually pruned or cut back to keep them the garden or landscape. Flowers are golden sized shrubs in sun or dappled shade. The
neat and tidy. Leaves are thick and large, yellow and tubular in shape, produced furry grey leaves have grooved edges and
triangular or oak-leaf shaped with wavy in terminal cymes. This plant contrasts a prominent row of chocolate brown to
margins. The upper surface is covered in effectively with many other succulents and black spots along the margins, and yellow-
a thick layer of grey felt-like hairs. Green combines well in mixed containers or rock green flowers appear in bunches above
to yellow urn-shaped flowers with purple gardens, and also makes a fine individual the foliage. Prune back plants that become
centres are produced in erect panicles high specimen in a larger pot. Most kalanchoes long and lanky. Many different cultivars are
above the foliage. Felt bushes are unusual propagate easily from cuttings broken off reaching the market these days to add to
succulents that really make a profound the parent plant and stuck directly into the the allure of this attractive plant.
statement in the garden. garden.
6 I www.thegardener.co.za
There’s something for everyone at

7-9 September
The Royal Showgrounds, Pietermaritzburg
9am - 5pm daily
All the details on www.gardenshow.co.za
FEATURE GARDEN
Rick and Femma Hackland’s garden redefines
what it means to garden with aloes.

A celebration of

aloes
TEXT Stephen Smith
A hybrid of Aloe thraskii and
another, unknown species.

Tip
To get rid of aloe cancer, cut the
affected areas out and paint the plant
with an aphicide. The disease is caused
by a mite.
Aloe chabaudii

S
even years ago Femma Hackland’s garden.” was always passionate about aloes and
garden was a conventional farm She points to one aloe in particular. encouraging me to plant some. And I
garden – roses, some beds of “There’s a story to this one. Our son gave was getting tired of spraying my roses for
ornamentals, azaleas, hydrangeas – I’m sure it to Rick, but I told the gardener to plant bugs and having to water them. I felt that
you can picture it. And she hated aloes. it where no one would see it. Later, when using poison in my garden wasn’t the right
Now her garden is a celebration of our I had been won over, we decided to move thing to do, and we all know that we need
hardy succulents, an ode to their beauty it somewhere more prominent, and it is to be more responsible with how we use
and an exultation of their diversity. our oldest aloe – even though it has never water. So converting my garden seemed
So how did this happen? What changed? flowered!” the sensible thing to do. I didn’t do it all at
“I thought aloes were terrible plants,” And the moment that changed her once though – I started with one area to
Femma laughs. “My husband, Rick, loved opinion of aloes? see how it would work.”
them, but I wouldn’t let him have any in my “It wasn’t one particular moment. Rick

Aloe candelabra Aloe cryptopoda

www.thegardener.co.za I 9
We walk to the first part of the garden that go, I didn’t want to create another typical,
Femma converted to aloes. It’s spectacular, old-fashioned aloe garden, a rocky hill dotted
flowering in a haze of yellows and oranges, with aloes. Instead I decided to garden as
and yet it is only five years old. Femma’s aloe though I was using hydrangeas and azaleas,
conversion is a work in progress, and another but with aloes. Aloes come in such a wide
section we walk past is only 10 months old, variety and in such diverse growth forms that
but is already taking shape. you can use one for virtually every role in the
“Even after I had decided to give aloes a garden.”

One of the things that Femma likes lawns and flowerbeds. And she has also
most about her new garden is that it is come up with an innovative solution for her
almost maintenance free. She’s planted pathways. “Our soil is quite clayey and turns
groundcovers between the aloes to keep to slush in the rain. To solve this problem we
weed growth down, and there are now got ash from the local oil factory, which is
pathways and aloes where there were once free and works brilliantly as a gravel path.”

Aloe spectabilis

Aloe spectabilis

10 I www.thegardener.co.za
A female Encephalartos ferox Leucospermum ‘High Gold’
in cone.

Obviously Femma’s garden isn’t devoid of


plants other than aloes. She has kept mature
trees as features and planted more for the
Aloe dawei future, but all selected to complement the
theme. Fever trees (Vachellia xanthophloea)
work well, their yellow stems and yellow
flowers in spring blending in well with the
dominant colours, while cycads and agaves
give interesting variations on the aloes’
structural forms. Then there are pincushions
in the yellow section, Crassula ovata and
C. multicava adding pinky-white blushes,
and pink osteospermums for bright pops of
contrasting colour.

Tip
Aloe maculata

When we think of aloes we picture a late


You have to be very careful when
autumn or winter blaze of fiery colours, a
you’re planting cactuses – some of
spectacular riot of yellows, oranges and reds,
them are very invasive, so don’t plant
but limited to the cooler months. But Femma
any without first doing your research.
assures us that we’re not appreciating the
diversity of the genus. “In my garden there
is an aloe flowering every month of the
year. Yes, most of them flower in winter, and
most of them are shades of red or orange,
but there is colour all year round. Before I
changed over to aloes the sunbirds would
visit my garden for a couple of months a year.
Now the sunbirds haven’t left the garden for
the past two years, and it is always buzzing
with the sound of bees. And one of the great
things about aloes is even when they’re not
flowering they have such wonderful textures
and colours from their foliage.”

Aloe spectabilis Encephalartos natalensis

www.thegardener.co.za I 11
Femma isn’t afraid of being daring either, and has playfully used all
sorts of idiosyncratic items to add even more character to her garden.
Enamel mugs and bowls hang from a rusty bed frame alongside
tillandsias, while an old bicycle frame has been planted in a bed and
forms the basis of a unique shelf. A lovely bench has been placed at
the top of the hill for sundowners, and one can only imagine the sight
of thousands of aloes glowing in the afternoon light.

12 I www.thegardener.co.za
O¯¨‡¯ ‡ŋržÀrԯ˼—ƇÀš
Aloe dawei flowers up to four times a year and
comes in yellow or red.

Aloe striata is a stemless aloe with blue-grey


leaves with a pink margin, and lack spines. The
coral-red flowers are borne in winter. Femma
uses them in pots and gives them no water.

Aloe vanbalenii is a distinctive aloe with


twisty, sprawling leaves. Femma has a plant
that produces lime flowers, as opposed to the
normal shades of salmon, yellow, orange and
red.

Aloe greenii is an attractive plant even when


it’s not flowering, thanks to the spotted leaves
with pink-thorned edges. When it does flower,
in January to March, it produces impressive pink
racemes that are loved by sunbirds. This aloe
can be grown in the shade.

Aloe chaubaudii is a stemless aloe with greyish


leaves that form clumps of neat rosettes. The
complex racemes are red to pink in colour.

Aloe castanea flowers in the middle of winter,


Obviously when you wander around a its orange flowers an important source of nectar
garden like this you start wondering about and pollen for birds. It grows to up to 4m high,
T—¹ the numbers. How many aloe plants? How
any species? “We know there are just over
a single stem starting at ground level and
dividing into a few stems.
Don’t plant too close together – 80 different aloe species and hybrids in
aloes get bigger than you expect, the garden. We started counting individual Aloe globuligemma flowers in late winter and
and they can do it quickly! plants but we came unstuck. Lets just say into spring, the flowers starting red and turning
that there are plenty!” Femma laughs. pinkish-white as they mature. The stemless
plant sometimes takes on a creeping habit, and
has blue-green leaves arranged in rosettes.

Aloe suprafoliata is also known as the book


aloe, after the page-like arrangement of
its leaves when it’s young. The leaves are a
beautiful shade of blue-green edged in sharp
brown thorns. It’s a great aloe for people who
don’t like orange, the pinkish flowers appearing
in May to July.

Aloe gerstneri is another aloe that flowers in


February, producing bight orange flower spikes.
Unfortunately it is quite rare in the wild and not
always easy to find at nurseries.

Aloe reitzii produces its red flower spikes in


summer, and is endemic to the grasslands
of Mpumalanga. It’s a lovely garden subject,
although can be tricky to find.

Aloe ‘Tangerine Tree’ is one of the spectacular


hybrids bred by Sunbird Aloes. It’s a very
large, stemmed aloe that produces incredibly
orange flowers on up to six well-branched
Ashburton Aloe Festival
inflorescences flowering together in winter.
If you’d like to see this spectacular garden for yourself, visit the Ashburton Aloe
Femma advises that some aloe hybrids need
Festival (30 June – 1 July). For more information phone Femma on 083 636 0881.
more water than their wild relatives.
www.thegardener.co.za I 13
Conifers
PLANT FEATURE

timeless evergreens
Could conifers be making a strong comeback?

TEXT Gerald Schofield

Slender Juniperus scopulorum


‘Skyrocket’ in a formal garden.

14 I www.thegardener.co.za
C
onifers are an important group of
largely evergreen plants that grow
in many parts of the world, but are
most significant in cold climates. They are
vital to the global timber industry with
a variety of different pines, spruces, firs
and cypresses being grown and harvested
on vast scales in both the northern and
southern hemispheres. In the garden
they can be found as anything from large
trees to the tiniest of dwarf shrubs and
spreading groundcovers, and most sizes
and shapes in between. In nature some of
the oldest living plants (pines) are conifers,
while the largest living trees (giant
redwoods) are also part of this extensive
group of plants. Without conifers it’s safe
to say that life on earth would be very
different. Mature specimens of Cupressus sempervirens
‘Swane’s Gold’.

Cuprocyparis leylandii ‘Gold Rider’.

Multitudes of shapes, colours and


sizes
Ornamental garden conifers come in an
array of shapes and sizes as well as foliage
textures. Add to this a range of contrasting
colours from various shades of green to
gold and yellow, silver, grey and blue, and
even russet reds and browns, and you
have enough variety for endless different
planting combinations.
But to make the most of gardening with
conifers, you need to make sure that each
plant type is used in the right context, which
means you need to know which plant with
which tongue-twisting name comes in which Younger plant of Cupressus sempervirens
shapes, colours and sizes. Do this and you’ll ‘Swane’s Gold’ with pencil shape.
Platycladus orientalis with prominent ‘hooked be able to create a lovely landscape using
cone’ scales. predominantly conifers.

Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita Blue’ amongst


Flat growing Juniperus horizontalis ‘Prince of Wales’ with black mondo grass. low ornamental grasses.
www.thegardener.co.za I 15
Cemetry cypress growing against a wall.
Numerous garden uses
There is a conifer for virtually plant
Thuja occidentalis ‘Rheingold’ underplanted application in gardens and landscapes, Platycladus orientalis ‘Aurea Nana Com-
with blue pansies. from huge shade trees to low-spreading pacta’ underplanted with black mondo grass.
groundcovers, hedges and boundary
screens, to potted specimens around
the swimming pool. Leyland’s cypresses
are still planted extensively as large
windbreaks and boundary hedges.
They can be left to grow unchecked
or be clipped into well-manicured
hedges. Golden-foliaged conifers make
spectacular sculptured specimens in
borders or containers, their bright colour
and year-round good looks making them
much sought after. Dwarf conifers make
excellent rock garden subjects. Given their Thuja occidentalis ‘Rheingold’ as a low
cold tolerance and the fact that many informal border.
look their best in winter, conifers and cold
winter conditions are undoubtedly the
perfect match.

Platycladus orientalis ‘Aurea Nana Com-


pacta’.

Cupressus sempervirens ‘Stricta’clipped to Cupressus sempervirens ‘Stricta’ (cemetry New growth tip of Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Gold
shape. cypress) in a lawned area. Crest’ -foliage has a fresh lemon fragrance.
16 I www.thegardener.co.za
Cultivation hints and tips Questions and answers
Conifers grow best in an open
and exposed position with ample Q: Do all conifers get attacked by
space for them to grow to maturity European cypress aphids – an insect
unimpeded. Competition from pest that has devastated some
neighbouring plants is one of the conifers in recent times?
main reasons for conifers losing A: Not all conifer types are susceptible to
condition in the garden. Full sun or aphid damage. Cypresses (Cupressus
dappled shade is fine. They prefer or Chamaecyparis) and some of the
well-drained loamy soils but some junipers (Juniperus scopulorum) seem
types adapt better to damp or dry soil to be the main targets. Aphids, which
conditions than others. Applications are tiny and difficult to detect, are a
of general garden fertiliser at problem during autumn (April to June)
recommended rates in spring and and conifers need to be treated during
summer keeps them in top condition this period. Preventative applications
– don’t sprinkle any granular fertiliser of suitable systemic insecticides
onto the foliage as it burns conifers need to be applied to vulnerable
very easily. A thick layer of mulch conifers. Thuja and Platycladus are
spread over the soil surface under not affected and don’t require any
and between plants supresses treatment.
weed growth and reduces water
requirements (and also looks neat and Q: Can large, overgrown conifers be
tidy). Check plants for any pests or pruned back to keep them smaller
diseases on a regular basis and treat in stature?
accordingly. Most conifers are easy to A: As a general rule conifers can’t be cut
grow and require minimal care and back too hard. Most of them do not
maintenance. produce new growth from old hard
wood that has no foliage left. This
Platycladus orientalis cones contrast against (BELOW) Conifers feature prominently means that if the size and shape of
the flat frond-like sprays of scale leaves. in a cold climate garden. conifers need to be controlled it should
be done so with regular light pruning
or shearing during late winter. This
needs to be accomplished before new
spring growth emerges. Remove the
top 20 – 50mm of growth with hand or
mechanical pruning shears.

Q: How do you propagate conifers for


the garden?
A: In nature, most conifers self-propagate
by means of seeds. In horticulture
many ornamental conifers are
reproduced by means of tip cuttings
taken in mid-winter. Some hybrids or
cultivars don’t root easily from cutting
and therefore have to be grafted
in order to propagate true-to-type
progeny. Seed-grown plants don’t
always grow to be the same as their
parent.

Q: Do all conifers produce cones?


A: Conifers produce primitive flowers
called strobili. These are short and
Conclusion catkin-like, with male and female
During the latter part of the last century in the landscape are unsurpassed. There parts on separate strobili either on the
conifers were a fashionable component are few substitutes for conifers and their same plant, or in some instances on
of many gardens, especially in the colder important role in the gardening scene. separate plants. Pollination is done by
regions, but their popularity has waned. Common sense will prevail and conifers wind. Fruits then develop in the form
Thankfully it now appears that conifers will once again offer the comfort of dense of a woody cone on some conifers like
are making a deserved comeback to the boundary hedges, thick wide-spreading pines, cedars and larches, while others
garden scene, where their diversity of groundcovers and stately specimens in the form berry-like fruits, as in junipers and
range and numerous practical applications landscape. Long live the conifer! thujas.
www.thegardener.co.za I 17
GARDEN DESIGN

Of all known garden styles, a tropical garden best


connects you to the drama and serenity of Mother
Nature, and allows you to revel in all the exotic
colours and forms the botanical world has to offer.
T Note
he key features of a tropical garden are interwoven layers
of lush plants, and bold foliage and bright colour accents in It should be
exaggerated sizes. kept in mind that the
Elements of this relaxed garden style can be incorporated into shade from the ‘backbone’
any size garden and you don’t even have to live in the tropics at all – should never be allowed to
any temperate climate will do. So if you already have the following in grow too deep. Low branches
your garden, you’re ready to get started: should be regularly pruned
• Shady areas; away to allow in more
• A palm or two; light for other
• Flowering shrubs and vines; plants.
• A pool or pond.
And if we start identifying the design principles of a perfect
tropical garden further, the following points come to mind:

Alocasia Philodendron selloum

¼r¨rƗ~rņ‡©Æ¹£r©ÆÀ
Plants with bright or contrasting foliage colours and exotic Alocasia
foliage forms are the sensual additions to the undergrowth of a
tropical garden. They can include fiery crotons, tough coprosmas,
brightly striped flaxes, Alocasia hybrids, gaudy caladiums
(elephant’s ears), the green drama of huge Philodendron selloum
The mystery of shade
and P. ‘Xanadu’ leaves and the gaily striped rainbow tree The backbone of a tropical garden is high, slender, evergreen shade
(Dracaena marginata ‘Tricolour’). trees with lacy dark green leaves and attractive bark. They provide
the jungle-like atmosphere and dappled shade for other tropical
plants beneath them.
Plants with an exotic look and large leaves (like palms, tree ferns
and Natal wild bananas) add to the tropical look. You can also include
special specimen trees or large shrubs with spectacular flowers like
coral trees, frangipanis, tibouchinas and hibiscus.

Philodendron ‘Xanadu’

¯~r£¹¯—©ÆÀ
As tropical gardens are designed with long, curved, relaxed
planting beds cutting into a lush lawn, there will be eye-catching
spots to fill with strong and very architectural accent plants.
These can include those with sharp, sword-like leaves such as
cordylines, cycads (indigenous species) or Cycas thouarsii and
Cycas revoluta, which are of exotic origin but are easy to grow.
Don’t forget about the eye-catching soft succulence of Agave Cycas revoluta Agave attenuata
attenuata.
www.thegardener.co.za I 19
Background undergrowth
The stalwarts in the background of your tropical beds are solanums,
plumbagoes, star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides),
starry wild jasmine (Jasminum multipartitum) and white or
forest gardenia (Gardenia thunbergia), pistol bush (Duvernoia
adhatodoides) and forest bell bush (Mackaya bella) – all of these
fair well in dappled shade and are mostly indigenous and pretty
tough!

Trachelospermum jasminoides

Mackaya bella Duvernoia adhatodoides

20 I www.thegardener.co.za
Colourful foreground
When working with strong patches of ‘colour-blocking’ in the
foreground, use perennials and annuals in shades of bright
yellow, luminescent orange, shocking pink, post-box red, and
deep purple. Plants like cannas, clivias, Plectranthus ‘Mona
Lavender’, bromeliads, sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas),
hostas, coleus, hen-and-chickens (Chlorophytum) and impatiens
are good choices.

Coleus ‘Campfire’

ň¹‡¼À•rƒ‡r©ƒ¨¯—ÀÆÀ¹¯ÆÀ
Where there is darker shade and a moist atmosphere, you can
use dainty ferns like the pretty maidenhair (Adiantum capillus-
veneris) or the hardy Knysna fern (Rumohra adiantiformis). The
hardy holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum) is equally suitable with
its glossy, green, leathery leaves.

Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’ Vriesea psittacina hybrid

www.thegardener.co.za I 21
H£rېˣ©‡Őr©ƒ•—‘•£—‘•ÆÀ
Highlights and playfulness can be added in the form
of hanging baskets filled with bright foliage and
flowering plants. You can also use the branches and
main stems of trees and palms as places to grow
epiphytes like orchids, bromeliads and staghorn ferns
(Platycerium).

Bromeliad

Ipomoea batatas ‘Blackie’

Bromeliads Bromeliad Ipomoea batatas ‘Sweet


Caroline Light Green’

7¯¼‡—ƒ‡rÀ¯¼ۯ˼Æ ¼¯¹—~r£¯rÀ—À Top tip


Too many beds with lots of curves
Plants alone do not make a garden – wooden rings, wooden decks, river
and awkward corners cause lots of
you can add the following elements to pebbles, gravel and rough-hewn stepping-
maintenance, especially if they are cut
complete the picture. stones to create a network of pathways
into a lawn. To lay out planting beds
through the garden and densely planted
with relaxed curves, use your hosepipe
Water beds. If you have access to lovely old tree
that has been warmed by the sun.
stumps or characterful rocks, add them
A peaceful pond, softly gurgling fountain Move the hosepipe around until you
too and plant lush groundcovers like
in a pot, or a running stream is at home in are satisfied with the bed’s shape and
ajugas, bergenias and creeping foxgloves
a tropical garden. In a large garden, first then dust a line of cake flour all along
(Asystasia) around and amongst them.
prize would be a natural-looking pond the hosepipe. Once done, remove the
filled with a selection of water plants like pipe and study your white markers for
cyperus, irises, water lilies and reeds. Temptation requires preparation a day or two to see if you would like
Owners of smaller tropical paradises Before planting, dig in copious amounts to make any changes before you start
need not feel left out at all, as garden of compost and bonemeal. A proper digging out the beds.
centres are stocked with a wide selection irrigation system, which can be a
You can do this with:
of portable water features that will not combination of seeping hoses and mist
• A leafy canopy – high and green;
take up a huge amount of space and are sprayers, is recommended for a tropical
• Large, dramatic leaves;
easy to assemble. They can be placed in a garden, as the plants require regular
• Accent plants with strong
focal spot and finished of with swathes of watering to become established. Some
architectural forms;
colourful ornamental grasses like Carex plants already mentioned, such as ferns,
• Spots of bright colour;
hachijoensis ‘Evergold’ or Japanese rush will benefit from humidity around them,
• Calming water;
(Acorus gramineus) and smooth river and constantly moist, but not sopping
• Natural pathways;
pebbles. wet, soil. Also use a mulch of compost, leaf
• Dense groundcovers and lush ferns;
mould or bark nuggets to keep the soil
• A comfortable place to sit and enjoy
Pathways moist for longer between waterings, and
it all.
Use natural materials like railway sleepers, to combat pesky weeds.
22 I www.thegardener.co.za
POT GARDENING

Tropical
in a pot
I
f you love tropical plants but the area
you live in is not conducive to them
thriving, you can get the look by
planting your tropical gems in a pot and
sheltering them on a warm patio.
When choosing the plants, use a
combination of large and smaller leaves of
differing shapes to get the best results.

The plants
Codiaeum variegatum (crotons) come
with vibrant leaves in various colours, and
are often grown as indoor pot plants that
Monstera deliciosa
grow in semi-shade or in the garden in
dappled sun to semi-shade. The colours
darken in autumn. Don’t overwater, and be Monstera deliciosa (delicious monster)
aware that they may drop their leaves in has wonderful broad, dark green leaves
very cold weather, so keep them sheltered. and is a common indoor and patio plant.
It is sensitive to overwatering but does
like its roots to be kept moist. Plants like
nutrient-rich soil and need to be sheltered
from the cold and wind. Philodendron
selloum is a very similar tropical plant.

Crotons

Neoregelia is the largest genus of


bromeliads with around 90 species, each
in varying colours and combinations of
colours. They don’t have the towering
flower bracts of other bromeliad species,
but their foliage colours make up for
that, while the plants are very hardy Philodendron scandens
and forgiving. They don’t like to be
overwatered though, and prefer moderate Strelitzia nicolai Philodendron scandens (heart-leafed
shade and a shot of liquid fertiliser during philodendron) has smaller leaves than the
the growing season. delicious monster that are in the shape of
a heart. They like similar conditions to the
other plants in this pot and are very easy to
grow, not being particularly fussy at all.

You can’t beat Strelitzia nicolai (Natal wild


banana) for drama and height in a tropical
pot. They are not true bananas, but their
leaves are similar and their impressive
crane flowers are typical of strelitzia
species. These are fairly drought tolerant,
but don’t handle severe frost. They will
survive in a large pot for several years.

The potting mixture


Use potting soil with a couple of handfuls
of bonemeal or superphosphate, a couple
of handfuls of organic pellets, and a block
Neoregelia of palm peat that has been reconstituted
in water. Mix well.
www.thegardener.co.za I 25
GARDEN DESIGN

Hrő‡¼©À
in pavers
L
aying pavers seems so easy and fun
that anyone could do it. While that
is somewhat true, there’s more to
laying paving than ‘putting the pieces
together’. If you’re redesigning or adding
paving around your home, first you have
to pick a pattern. There are plenty of
options, and each has its own defining
characteristics and challenges. You just
need to pick the right finish for your
property.

£r‘ÀƯ©‡
With a flagstone pattern you can include
rÀ¡‡ÆՇrԇ
designs that are created using irregular- —¼~Ë£r¼¹rő ‡¼©À This is ideal for those who want to create a
shaped stones arranged randomly. Stones You will have seen this pattern on large vintage or historic look, and is also easy to
can range in size, and you have a lot of driveways or patios. To create this pattern get right as it is a simple pattern where you
freedom in this design because there are you layer the paver in a circular pattern, alternate the pavers between vertical and
no defined patterns or shapes to follow. starting from the centre. You can even horizontal pairs.
Opt for a flagstone walkway if you want combine this pattern with a herringbone When using the basket weave pattern
to create an authentic and beautiful look. finish or basket weave. you can get creative and use different
This design works best in rustic settings Go for a circular pattern if you have a colours, or stick with one colour to achieve
because of the inconsistent styling. round seating area in the garden, or you can an old, worn look.
The flagstone and grass combination is even use your circular paving as a starting
popular and always beautiful. The downside point before you design the rest of your
is that you have to constantly care for the outside spaces.
grass and to make sure it stays healthy and
trimmed, which is not easy during droughts!
The plus side is that grassed areas help to
define the shape and beauty of stone.

T•‡˼¯¹‡r©r©
Popular across Europe, this pattern is one
of the most challenging, although a kit can
be used when laying this pattern for an
easier approach. Despite its challenging
design it offers some flexibility in terms of
fan size and colour.
www.thegardener.co.za I 27
Checkered
This is a classic and very popular pattern,
usually created using large square-shaped
stones, and most often with two different
colours to highlight the pattern.
An interesting idea is to combine pavers
with artificial grass squares to obtain a
simple pattern with a modern twist. You
can also try using different sized and
shaped pavers for an alternative finish.

%‡ŏ—©‘}¯©‡
In this design, which originates from old
English landscapes, pavers are organised
in alternate directions to form a V shape.
Herringbone is known for being durable
and has therefore become a classic paving
style.
The herringbone pattern has a strong
visual impact and is most often seen in
driveways, patios and walkways. When
creating a herringbone pattern the pavers
can be laid at either 45° or 90° . The
angle you choose will determine the overall
pattern and design.

28 I www.thegardener.co.za
KËŌ—©‘}¯©ƒ ¯}}£‡ÀƯ©‡
The running bond pattern is the most Originally cobblestones were small stones
commonly used, simply because it’s really rounded by the flow of water, gathered
easy to lay. In addition, it’s also the most from streambeds and used to pave the
efficient one, producing the least amount streets of old England. Today setts are also
of waste compared to other designs. often referred to as cobbles, even though
This is a pattern that is ideal for small they have a regular shape.
patios and which can make a small area seem Given the irregularities and organic
bigger thanks to its simple, linear lines. shapes, you can use cobblestones with
flagstone finishes and similar designs.

Information from SmartStone Port Elizabeth,


www.smartstone.co.za

www.thegardener.co.za I 29
DIY H£rŌ—©‘
Before you start shopping for pavers it’s best to
mark in the garden where you are planning to

!‡ő —©‘Ư‘¼—¹À՗ƕ¹rԗ©‘ put the paving. A can of spray paint is good for
this. Have a look at the surroundings and make
sure you are happy with the layout, as it is likely to
Paving an area can transform it, and it’s quite simple to do be a permanent part of the garden design. Make
yourself. Here are some points to keep in mind to make your plans for the surrounds: the flowerbeds, hedging,
a selection of pots, an arch, or whatever you’re
paving job perfect. planning on using.

•ōÀ—©‘¹rԇ¼À
Consider the following when choosing your
pavers:
• Pavers that are less than 40mm thick should be
laid on a bed of mortar to give a total thickness
of 40mm or more. Thicker pavers can be laid on
a bed of sand.
• You can choose to butt the pavers up against
each other or leave gaps between them for
pebbles, grouting or plants.
• Stones, bricks and concrete pavers can all
be used to great effect. These products are
available from companies that specialise in
paving.
• Think about colour. The available range
is extensive, and there is the option to
chequerboard the pavers in contrasting colours.
• Decide on the size of the pavers. Large pavers
require less effort than smaller ones, but they
may not fit in with the scale of the surroundings.
Thicker paving can carry a greater load.

H¼‡¹
Paving needs to be completely level to avoid
tripping, especially in high-traffic areas. Get the
site level and firm, even if you have to dig down
to a firm and solid base. The biggest and most
common mistake people make is to skip the prep
and dump the pavers on top of the ground so
that you have to step up onto them. Keep the
paving level with the surrounding garden to avoid
accidents. Use a builder’s line and pegs to keep
the pavers straight – there is nothing worse than
completing a job to find the whole thing is skew.
Level the surface and pack it down before adding
a layer of river sand, which also needs to be
levelled. The ground below paving must be firm
and stable, compacted and have the same slope
as the finished paving. Check that the thickness
of the compacted river sand and the pavers
together will make it all level to the surrounding
area. Paving must slope away from buildings (at a
minimum gradient of 1 in 50) for proper drainage.
Don’t rush this part: preparation is the key to a
successful result.
A layer of river sand can be added when the
paving is complete to fill the gaps between the
pavers. Spread thinly and brush into the joints with
a broom.

30 I www.thegardener.co.za
%—‘•ŷÆ ¼rʼn—~r¼‡rÀ
The best solution for permanent paving is
to lay the pavers on mortar and to grout
the paving so that it’s perfectly smooth
and trip-free.
The mortar required for beneath pavers
requires one part cement and six parts sand,
mixed to the consistency of toothpaste. Lay
the pavers, tap them firmly into place with a
wooden mallet, and keep checking the levels
and lining up the pavers.
If you choose to grout the pavers, use
three parts plaster sand to one part cement,
and enough water to form a mixture that
is the consistency of ‘runny’ yoghurt. Use a
trowel to pack the mixture into the gaps and
use a squeegee to smooth it. Do a maximum
of four linear metres at a time, then use a
trowel to remove the excess grouting and
use a sponge and water to clean off the
pavers, otherwise they may be permanently
stained. Once completed, leave for 48 hours
to dry. If it is very hot during this time then
wet the grouting occasionally, using a hose
with a fine spray, to help prevent cracks from
forming.

K‡~¯ŋ‡©ƒ‡ƒ
Consider the following when choosing
your pavers:
• If you are laying paving with gaps, lay it
on weed-control fabric to prevent weeds
from popping up in the gaps.
• Use wooden blocks or spacers to keep
the gaps even.
• Soften the paving with plants around the
edges or between the individual pavers.
• Have fun with the design.

www.thegardener.co.za I 31
PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN Melinis repens

Beautiful

TEXT and PHOTOGRAPH Graham Duncan


Natal
red top
T
he Natal red top, also known as Reaching up to 600mm high when in fast-growing, performs best in a sunny
Natal grass or Natalse rooipluim, is flower, the plant forms a tuft of intense, position, and likes any well-drained soil
a very striking annual or biennial bluish-grey leaves with maroonish-pink, containing some organic matter, especially
in the grass family Poaceae. The genus fluffy plumes held on flimsy grey stems well-rotted compost, and grows equally
Melinis, which is derived from the Latin just above the tuft. Flowering takes place well in acidic or alkaline media. The
‘mel’, meaning honey, is descriptive of the from late spring to early autumn (October plants are very well suited to rock garden
sweet, syrup-like scent given off by certain to March) and a wonderful show ensues pockets, planted in drifts in large beds,
members of this genus, and the specific for months, the plants even remaining or grown as borders to taller perennials.
name ‘repens’, meaning creeping, refers attractive after flowering. The individual They also make decorative subjects for
to the creeping nature of the base of the spikelets that form the flower head are containers, and are excellent for stabilising
stems, which root when they touch the deep maroonish-pink when in bud and disturbed soil on steep banks.
ground. once freshly open, maturing to light These clump-forming plants form
The Natal red top is widespread in pink and white. The plants are especially striking colour combinations when
KwaZulu-Natal and also occurs in the attractive in bright sunlight, forming a interplanted with summer-flowering
other provinces of South Africa including shiny pink mass. bulbs such as dwarf forms of the flame
the Western Cape, where it has become The Natal red top is frost-hardy, lily (Gloriosa superba), pineapple flower
naturalised. It is also found in Lesotho, meaning that it easily survives winter (Eucomis autumnalis) and the perennial
Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana and temperatures down to freezing, and can Barberton daisy (Gerbera jamesonii).
Mozambique, and further north and east therefore be grown in all but the coldest
to the Arabian Peninsula, the Seychelles parts of South Africa. It can be planted Natal red tops are available in the
and India. In South Africa it is a very out from nursery bags at any time of year, horticultural trade, usually from nurseries that
familiar pioneer plant in grassland and or alternatively grown from seed sown specialise in wild flowers, such as Random
is most frequently seen along roadsides in deep seed trays. It requires watering Harvest Nursery (082 553 0598) or The
in disturbed soil, as well as on rocky for the first few weeks after planting, but Indigenous Nursery at the Pietermaritzburg
outcrops. once established is very waterwise. It is Botanical Gardens (083 293 0249).
32 I www.thegardener.co.za
YOUR ROSE GARDEN

GET THE LOOK


Roses and poppies are wonderful
winter and spring companions.
Plant the poppies between the Moving roses – this is
roses, and after pruning the poppies
will fill the bare space. What’s nice
about poppies is that the slender
the month to do it!
stems and low leafy growth doesn’t
TEXT Ludwig Taschner

compete with the new rose growth


or shade it from the sun. By October
the poppies are past their best and
can be pulled out, leaving the roses
to steal the show.
Good to know Rose care for June
If you can’t transplant the rose immediately, put it
• Water once a week if necessary.
in the shade or in a shed covered by wet sacking.
• Transplant or plant out new roses.
• There is no need to fertilise or spray in
summer-rainfall areas. If the roses in
winter-rainfall areas are flowering and
are full of leaves, spray fortnightly with
Chronos or Rose Protector for black spot
and rust. If they are defoliated, don’t
worry to spray or water – just let them
go dormant.
• In subtropical areas fertilise with
Vigorosa in mid-June and spray with
Ludwig’s cocktail of Insect Spray and
Chronos twice a month.

G
arden plants always seem to find • If you are moving many roses, tag each demand on the roots.
themselves in the wrong place, and bush with its name. It’s easy to get • Push the blade of the spade into the
roses are no exception. confused when the roses have been ground in a full circle around the bush,
Not only do gardens change as they cut back and are no longer in their old about 20cm from the centre of the bush.
grow, we also like to change them and position. Once the ground is loosened and the
that usually has a ripple effect throughout • Prepare the new rose bed, digging to a roots have been cut, slide in the spade,
the garden. This is the month to make the depth of 50cm. Take out the topsoil and push down, and carefully prise the rose
big moves. That’s because the roses are mix it with compost and organic matter, out of the ground.
no longer actively growing so there is less as well as 30g Vigorosa or Vigolonger • If there is serious resistance it means
stress when the roots are disturbed. slow-release fertiliser. Alternatively, use some of the major roots have not been
Even so, the less one disturbs the a quarter of a bag of Ludwig’s planting cut. Don’t pull the bush out; rather use
roots the more successful the relocation mix per rose – it contains organics and the spade to cleanly cut the roots.
will be. Here is my step-by step guide to slow-release fertiliser. Loosen the soil in • Replant in the new position, making sure
transplanting roses: the bottom of the hole, return the mixed the bud union is just below soil level,
• Water the rose bed the day before so that topsoil, and water well. and once planted the rose should be well
the soil is soft, making it easier to remove • The next day cut down the rose by a watered, followed by weekly watering.
the rose. half. Removing the growth reduces the
I
’ve been a closet fan of the mirror
bush all my life, and still harbour in my PLANT FOCUS
garden the old shiny, green Coprosma
repens with its polished leaves. It keeps

Copious
on outgrowing its allocated space, casting
deep shade over other plants because it
does not really want to be the small tree
that I keep trying to train it into.
But such is the main characteristic of
this large shrub from the coastal areas of

Coprosma
New Zealand, which is part of the coffee
plant family: it will just keep on growing
and re-shaping itself, despite very sandy
and dry soil and strong and salty sea
winds, to screen other plants. In countries
like Australia this coprosma is a declared
weed and it should probably have the
same status in South Africa, as I have
seen specimens of it growing in the most
unexpected places, like in a milkwood
forest.
This coprosma species has been
hybridised with other ground-hugging
species, giving birth to many bulky garden
varieties with different kinds of variegated
foliage with cream, yellow, and later pink
tinges. These have become very popular
foliage plants over the years and are not
invasive.
Apart from the colourful, glossy leaves,
which intensify in colour and variegation
in cool seasons, gardeners love these
plants for their ease to cultivate and year-
long good looks, their adaptability to
many climates (apart from the coldest and
frostiest), and high resistance to pests and
diseases (nothing ever seems to eat or
plague them!).
They’re not water guzzlers either, once
established. I have watched with interest
how a low hedge of ‘Pacific Night’, which
has lime green leaves tinted with deep
shades of purple, held its own through one
of the worst droughts in the Western Cape!

TEXT Anna Celliers


Small gardens have dictated the need
for dwarf hybrids, and the new kids on the
block have compact and bushy growth
habits, and foliage tinted in extremely
flashy colours. Their smaller size makes
them perfect candidates as filler plants for
small gardens, to use as dense low hedges,
and also to grow in pots as specimen
plants.

Coprosmas in a nutshell
ours that glow
• Gorgeous foliage col
in winter.
willing to grow
• Evergreen, neat and
in most climate s.
• Pest and disease free. ‘Pacific Night’
• Tough and enduring.
What they need
Location: Full sun is best, but they will also
grow in partial shade where they receive
ample morning sun and afternoon shade.
If the shade is too deep and dark, the fiery
foliage colours will fade.
Soil: Any soil type enriched with compost
is acceptable, but drainage in heavy
clay soil has to be improved with coarse
organic material and river sand.
Water: Being drought tolerant, mature
plants can survive for long periods without
water, but regular watering will keep
the foliage glossy and healthy and will
ensure luxuriant growth. Too much water
distresses the plants and they will begin to
drop leaves.
Fertilising and pruning: A light feed
of a balanced fertiliser in spring keeps
the leaves healthy. For potted plants you
should also do additional foliar feeding
on a regular basis. Coprosmas react very
well to pruning for shape and size when
needed. You can also use the pretty
hybrids with their smaller leaves for
‘Scarlet O’Hara’ ‘Tequila Sunrise’
topiary-like spheres and cubes.

A gallery of dwarf coprosmas


‘Tequila Sunrise’ is just like a cocktail, of each leaf. This gives the plant a bright
with different shades and layers of colour. and uplifting look in the garden. The leaves
The summer foliage has rich orange and become tinged with orange in winter. Size
golden yellow tints slowly deepening to 1m x 1m.
a rich sunset orange and finally to a deep ‘Scarlet O’Hara’ has small, curly, nearly
reddish burgundy in winter. Size 1m x 1m. cylindrical leaves with red and orange
‘Pina Colada’ has golden yellow variegation. It changes into a fireball in
foliage with hints of bronze and orange winter. Size 1m x 1m.
intensifying to a rich copper and bronze in ‘Pacific Sunset’ has glossy, wave-shaped
winter. Size 70cm x 50cm. leaves with vivid red centres set against a
‘Pina Colada’ ‘Lemon & Lime’ has foliage marked with burgundy/chocolate-brown margin that
shades of lemon and lime near the centre intensifies in cool months.

‘Pacific Sunset’ ‘Lemon & Lime’

38 I www.thegardener.co.za
PLANT FOCUS

If you can’t get into the Tree time


for
healing environment of a
real forest to do some ’forest

‘me time’
bathing’ you can go for plan
B, which is to create your
own mini woodland area.

TEXT Anna Celliers


I
n many cultures across the world trees
are often planted to commemorate
births or marriages, or given as house-
warming gifts. But sometimes trees are
also planted in loving memory of someone
lost. When I was asked by a friend to Forest floor
recommend a tree for a mini-forest of Mini forests can be planted in an existing
nineteen small trees to plant in memory lawn, which will give them a very serene
of her son’s life, I delved into the treasure ‘green’ effect. If the shade becomes too
chest of rewarding trees that we can plant dense, causing bald spots in the lawn,
in ordinary suburban gardens to create a simply overseed it with a lawn type that
cool woodland – even in small gardens. grows well in shade. If you plan to plant
I also read that our lunar gardening your mini forest where nothing else is
expert, Ilona Thorndike, reckons that the growing at the moment, you have a wide
best tree planting days of the year will be scope of options to use as the forest floor.
the last fertile days at the end of June when You can spread gravel around the trees
it is full moon. So let’s make the most of and add a few attractive rocks between
this great opportunity and all plant some them, or you can cover the whole area with
small trees to create a perfect mini-forest. groundcovers and ornamental grasses
The trees under discussion are all that love to grow in shade. If you choose
indigenous, hailing from fairly widespread deciduous trees you can plant dainty
habitats, and all can be planted close to spring-flowering bulbs that will naturalise
paving or other structures as none of them Spacing over the years, like bluebells, daffodils and
have aggressive root systems. But let’s look How to space the trees for a mini forest snowflakes. A simple option can also be
at a few mini-forest points before we plant: look is a difficult question. The best thing to just cover the area with a thick mulch of
is to close your eyes and to visualise the bark nuggets, peach pips or old autumn
Size effect you would like to achieve. leaves.
The dimensions of some of the trees
highlighted might scare you, which is why
they’re not mentioned here. Outside of
their natural habitat they will seldom grow
as tall and wide as their official maximum
sizes. Be assured that most will seldom
grow higher that about 5 – 7m in a garden
(unless your garden is called Eden!).

Shape
Many small trees are actually large shrubs
that will grow into a wild bush if not
tamed. It is vitally important to train most
of them into the shape of a tree with a
single main stem right from the start. This
means that you will have to keep pruning
off all lower branches until you are happy
with the height and character of the main
stem. Only then can they be allowed to
grow a bulkier crown and shade canopy.
www.thegardener.co.za I 41
The following small trees can also be used as screening plants or to create large hedges.
White pear Pompom tree
(Apodytes dimidiata) (Dais cotinifolia)
The white pear is a very glamorous Possibly one of the prettiest flowering
and neat little tree, and also one of our indigenous trees that is suitable for every
protected indigenous tree species. garden. It can be trained into a neat
Features standard too.
• Evergreen with dense, glossy bright to Features
dark green foliage. • Grey bark that tears in long strips, and
• Loose heads of sweetly scented white which is often used as rope.
flowers in September to April. • Light green leaves in opposite pairs.
• Fruit is a black flattened drupe with a red • Pink to mauve flowers in dense spherical
fleshy appendage. heads.
• Non-aggressive root system. Cultivation
Cultivation • Fast grower, up to 1m per year.
• Protect young plants against frost for the • Flowers while still young.
first year. • Withstands moderate frost.
• Growth rate is about 700mm per year. • Needs regular watering.

Dais cotinifolia

False olive
(Buddleja saligna)
The false olive is so versatile – you can
even prune it into very formal topiary
trees.
Features
• Evergreen.
• Fissured bark that flakes in long pieces.
• Twisted stems with narrow leaves that
are dark green on the upper side and
light grey to white on the flipside.
• Masses of small white flowers attract
Bauhinia tomentosa butterflies and bees.
Cultivation
Calpurnia aurea
• Fast growing, up to 800mm per year.
• Very drought and frost resistant.
Yellow bauhinia
(Bauhinia tomentosa) Wild laburnum
It is said that the yellow bauhinia also loves (Calpurnia aurea)
to grow in a large pot on the patio. No other laburnum in the world can hold
Features a candle to our very own wild laburnum
• Long, straight branches and simple two- when it is in flower.
lobed, deeply divided leaves resembling Features
butterfly wings. • Evergreen with an open, rounded crown.
• Yellow flowers with a deep purple blotch • Compound, drooping, light green leaves.
at the base of one or more petals in • Golden yellow, pea-like flowers in long
November to April, followed by thin fruit terminal sprays in December to February,
pods. followed by papery fruit pods.
• Can be planted close to pool or paving, • The neat growth habit makes it suitable
and perfect for screening as well. as a specimen tree and focal point as
Cultivation well.
• Fast grower – up to 900mm per year. Cultivation
• Very floriferous, and more flowers can be • Fast grower, up to 1m per year.
stimulated by pruning in winter. • Withstands light frost but must be
• Can withstand light frost and uses a Buddleja saligna protected in the first year.
medium amount water. • Can survive long periods of drought.
42 I www.thegardener.co.za
Crossberry
(Grewia occidentalis var. occidentalis)
You can boil the dried fruit in milk for an
indigenous super milkshake, or use the
ripe fruit to make beer. Birds love the fruit
too.
Features
• Evergreen to semi-deciduous tree with
an open but tangled and spreading
crown.
• Glossy leaves and very pretty pink to
mauve flowers with yellow stamens from
October to January, followed by four-
lobed fruit.
• Can be planted in a wide variety of
habitats from arid and dry to wet and
humid.
Cultivation
• Growth rate is fast at first, up to 1.5m per
year, but after a few years slows down to
Dovyalis caffra 1m.
• Grows in full sun or shade.
• Survives several degrees of frost.
Kei apple • Drought resistant.
(Dovyalis caffra)
A thorny number to discourage unwanted
yard guests, and you can make delicious
jam from the fruit.
Features
• Evergreen tree with a dense and much-
branched crown.
• Old bark is corky and fissured, and young
branches are armed with long spines.
• Dark green leaves with a waxy lustre and
prominent veins.
• Male and female creamish-green flowers
appear on separate trees from November
to January. Grewia occidenalis Grewia occidenalis
• The fruit is orange, velvety and fleshy,
and very popular with birds.
Cultivation
• Moderate growth rate of up to 600mm Wild peach Cork bush
per year. (Kiggelaria africana) (Mundulea sericea)
• Fruits after three years. When in fruit these trees become alive If you want to stun or kill fish, use the
• Very drought resistant and can tolerate with birds feasting on the red sticky seeds pounded roots, bark leaves and seeds
light frost. or on the larvae of the Acraea butterflies thrown into a bag, and then thrown into the
• Perfect for full sun and light shade. that use it as a host plant. water.
• Tolerates coastal wind and salt spray. Features Features
• Semi-deciduous to evergreen. • Evergreen to semi-deciduous.
• Light green, simple leaves with a velvety • Thick, corky bark.
underside. • Leaves covered with silvery, silky hairs.
• Male and female yellowish green flowers • Beautiful pea-shaped mauve flowers from
on separate trees. October to February.
• Fruit is a warty capsule splitting to reveal Cultivation
black seeds with an oily, reddish-orange • Moderate growth rate of 0.5 – 1m per year.
flesh. • Well-drained soil and full sun is needed.
Cultivation • Very hardy, not affected by drought or
• Fast growth rate of up to 1.3m per year. frost.
• Frost-hardy and can tolerate low
temperatures. Source: Making the most of Indigenous Trees
• Moderately drought resistant. by Fanie & Julye-Ann Venter, Briza Publications,
1996. ISBN 1 875093 33 8.
www.thegardener.co.za I 43
FOOD GARDENING

The Family Herb Garden


Herbs to keep Dad
happy and healthy

TEXT Alice Spenser-Higgs


H
erbs can easily become part of our
daily lives because they have so
many different uses. In June, when
we celebrate Father’s Day, you’d be surprised
at how many herbs can be used in special
treats for Dad, as well as look after his health
and fitness.

Three cheers for Dad!


• Botanical gin cocktail with coriander
Mix together 1 cup of water, the juice
of three limes, 1 cup of gin (yes!),
3 tablespoons of sugar and a few sprigs
of coriander. Chill for at least an hour,
then add three cups of club soda and
serve in a glass with slices of lime.

• Beer lovers' snack


Chop up three spring onions, sprinkle
them with salt and let them draw for
10 minutes. Then combine them with
1¼ cups of ricotta cheese, ¹/8 cup of
sour cream, 8 radishes (chopped),
6 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil,
1 garlic clove (minced), freshly ground
black pepper to taste, and chopped herb
leaves (oregano, thyme and chives). Stir
in a squeeze of lemon juice and season
Rosemary Drying herbs
with salt. Pile onto toasted rye or panini
Pick herbs later in the day when the dew has
(whichever Dad likes best) and serve
dried. Spread the herbs sparsely on newspaper
with his favourite beer.
so that that they dry out easily and quickly. The
• Wood-grilled herby bread and wine best drying space is a cool, dark room. After
This snack, which beautifully three weeks the herbs should be crispy dry.
complements wine, is so simple. Lightly Store whole or crushed in a sealed, labelled
brush both sides of bread with olive oil. and dated container.
Grill the bread on a braai for a minute on
either side, till it is lightly charred. Rub
with garlic, fresh tomato and sprinkle
with Herbes de Provence. Good to know
Herbes de Provence is a mix
of dried herbs used in the
Provence region of France,
and includes common herbs
like marjoram, rosemary, Sage
thyme and oregano. Lavender
is sometimes added. Make
your own blend, highlighting
the herbs that you prefer.

Try this
Winter Zinger tea:
If Dad is feeling under the weather
make a tea from sage, rosemary and
ginger. It aids digestion, improves
circulation and just makes you feel
good. Add honey to taste.

www.thegardener.co.za I 45
Pamper Dad with lavender
Let’s face it, life is stressful, and
Dad usually takes the brunt
of the stress, worrying about
the family with the rising cost
of living and the ever-present
threat of crime.
Lavender is an excellent
de-stress herb. While Dad is
not likely to soak in a lavender
bath, he won’t be able to resist
a relaxing neck and shoulder
rub using lavender-infused
cream. To make a cream, melt
200g aqueous cream in a double
boiler and add 60g of lavender
flowers. A drop of lavender
essential oil will add to the
aroma. Simmer for 10 minutes,
stirring frequently. Strain the mix Parsley
through fine gauze, allow to cool
and then pour into a container.
Suitable lavender Infection fighters
Lavandula dentata has the Everyone knows that Dad is the worst
largest flowers, while Lavandula patient in the world, so he needs to be
‘Margaret Roberts’ has small kept healthy before he hits the bed feeling
flowers but produces them in sorry for himself. Keep him and the rest of
abundance. the family healthy with immune-boosting
parsley.
<- Lavandula Parsley is a good source of vitamin C
and also contains vitamin A and minerals
dentata such as iron. These all build the immune
system and provide strong protection
against colds and flu.
In terms of nutrition, there is no
difference between moss curled and
Italian flat-leaf parsley. However, Italian
Mint Even an Iron Man needs mint parsley is more able to withstand frost and
it grows into a bigger plant, about 80cm
Mint is not only a delicious culinary herb, but high compared to garden parsley, which
also heals, soothes and aids digestion. In the is rounder, more compact, and 30 – 60cm
Middle East mint is a major digestive herb, and high.
herb tea is served to the men at the end of every
meal.
To use
Eat two tablespoons of parsley a day.
• For strained muscles add mint to Dad’s
Disguise it by adding it chopped as a
bathwater. It also eases stress.
garnish, added at the end of cooking, or
• For indigestion, mint tea acts as an
mixed in a smoothie. Infuse parsley to
antispasmodic and eases heartburn.
make a mild-flavoured tea and sip three
Indigestion is often a sign of stress.
times a day as a digestive or tonic.
• Use peppermint to soothe a nagging cough
and relieve colds. If used as an inhalant it eases To grow
nasal catarrh (build up of mucus).
Plant in full sun and deep, fertile soil that
drains well. Set out new plants every six
months, especially if you harvest regularly
Good to know because the plant tends to develop a stem,
Mint is invasive and quickly spreads through which reduces the yield.
the herb garden. Grow it in a pot or sink the
pot into the soil and clip the runners. Mint
grows in sun to semi-shade and likes plenty For more information visit;
of water. Mint is also a great herb to grow in www.healthyliving-herbs.co.za
a hanging basket.

46 I www.thegardener.co.za
Braai-master herbs Chillies
Any family herb garden should
include herbs for the braai,
especially if Dad likes to make up
his own marinades and boasts
about his secret sauce recipe.
Grow herbs with big, bold flavours,
because most blokes just can’t be
bothered with finicky stuff.

• Rosemary
is the ultimate low-maintenance
perennial herb, and just one
bush is all you need for a
constant supply. Give it space,
sun and well-draining soil.
Rosemary is a brilliant marinade
herb (with garlic, olive oil and
lemon juice), or you can throw a
few branches onto the fire for a
fantastic aroma.

• Chillies
are likely to be the secret
ingredient in any sauce – the Lemon thyme
hotter the better. They are a
Rosemary summer crop, needing full sun
and regular watering, and are
also good in pots. Let the chillies
ripen on the bush for heightened
flavour.

• Garlic chives
add the garlic flavour without
the aftershock. It’s a clump-
forming perennial that is a cut-
and-come-again herb. Chop the
leaves into sauces, marinades
and salads, and use as a garnish
as well as in herb butters for
steak. It is easy to grow in sun or
semi-shade.

• Lemon thyme
is the tastiest of the thyme Horseradish
varieties, adding a subtle lemon
flavour. Grow it in pots or in
ordinary garden soil, trim often
to prevent it from becoming
woody, and make sure it gets
plenty of sun.

• Horseradish
is another hot herb, with a kick
as powerful as a horse. The heat
comes from the grated roots,
which are harvested in autumn.
It’s a clump-forming plant with
tall, strong, interesting leaves
and white flowers in spring. It
Garlic chives needs full sun and well-drained
composted soil.
FOOD GARDENING

Get creative with


arbours, obelisks,
teepees and
trellises

V
TEXT Alice Spenser-Higgs

egetables
g row i n g u p
T
raining vegetables up vertical structures is a practical way
to use space productively. But there is another reason
for doing so: it adds beauty to what is often a utilitarian
space. Place obelisks in a veggie garden and immediately the
Tips for using obelisks
• Go big: Big obelisks make more of a statement, and vining
space is transformed: a one-dimensional space becomes three-
crops like runner beans and peas, as well as butternut,
dimensional. Place an archway or arbour at the entrance or
cucumbers, indeterminate tomatoes and sweet potatoes, need
between sections and you add romance and mystery. Arches
plenty of growing space.
invite, enticing you to peer through it, offering an Alice in
• Use a pair to frame the entrance to the veggie garden.
Wonderland moment.
A single obelisk in the middle of a bed adds height and can
be repeated in other beds for balance. Paint wooden obelisks
bright colours and they will make even more of a design
statement
• Choose plants wisely. The mature height of the plant will
affect your choice of obelisk and the kind of space you can
provide for it.
• Put the obelisk in place before planting, to avoid damaging
plants’ roots. Allow plants to find their own way up supports, or
tie them in at intervals to encourage them upwards.
• Plants behind or below the obelisk may be shaded from the
sun or miss out on watering. Turn this to good use by planting
heat-sensitive or shade-loving greens or salad plants around
the obelisk. Just watch the watering.
• Regard your obelisks as temporary structures that can be
moved to catch the seasonal sun movement.

Budget beater –
how to make your own
Teepees are a homemade
substitute for obelisks and are just
as effective. Use bamboo stakes,
Try this
Inspirational arches Make a simple rusti
c arch wooden stakes, wooden poles
in a and even branches tied together
and arbours by pla cin g fou r po les
tops for a rustic effect.
g th e
Use an archway as an entrance square and joinin
Fit tin g a tre llis
to the vegetable garden and an with timber. How to do it
sid e ma ke s th em
arbour (which can be as simple on each
dly. Place 3 – 5 poles/stakes in
as a bench under an arch) at more climb er- frien a
on circle in the ground and tie
the end of the garden as a focal Plant rapid gro rs we the
sh be an s, tops together. It’s as simple
point. either side: bu as
, that. However, it is easier
Besides ready-made items, squashes, granadillas for
s, flowe rin g cli mb ers plants to climb upwards if
arches and arbours can be made grape twine
), an d even is tied around the tee -pee
from trellis panels joined together, (black-eyed Susan at
es. intervals. This also suppor
long-lasting gum poles, square- climbing ros ts
the fruit-bearing stems of
cut poles, or brick pillars spanned determinate tomatoes.
by wooden beams.
www.thegardener.co.za I 49
Trellises
Trellises – either bought or homemade – can double the productivity of a small garden.
They enable rambling and vining vegetables to be grown in a compact space, fruit is kept
off the ground and there is plenty of air circulation, reducing disease.
Trellis panels are usually wall mounted but can also stand alone (supported by a pole
framework) or joined together to make an A-frame. Smaller panels are ideal in containers
for mini-climbing veggies.

Quick tips with clinging tendrils,


like runner
ht tre llis es are sui table for vining crops
• Lightw eig umbers.
inate tomato es and cuc ger trellis is
beans, peas, indeterm tte rnu ts an d pumpkins, a sturdier, big
as bu
• For heavier squash es, suc h en the plant is mature.
r, yo u’ll stil l be able to see the trellis wh space to
better. Being big ge cause the plants ne ed
sho uld no t be att ach ed directly to a wall be the wa ll wit h ho ok s
• Trellises sup po rt. Att aching the trellis to
ll an d the
grow between the wa
for maintenance. etres
makes it eas y to remove struc ture a few centim
als o be att ach ed to poles as a fre est anding
• Trellises can
away from the wall. ir smell) before
oso te sho uld be lef t to dry off (and lose the
cre
• Panels treate d with isonous to plants .
, be cause cre osote is po before ins tallation.
ins talling and planting sed wo od preser vative
oil or an oil -ba 3 years. They
• Paint with lin see d at the panels every 2 –
on the ir exp osu re to the elements, tre
• Depend ing
rs.
can las t for up to 15 yea

Beautiful bamboo
Bamboo stakes are very versatile, and with
a few stakes and a roll of twine all sorts of
structures can be made.

Try this
Make a bamboo framework
by set ting
out two lines of poles about
30cm
apart and tying the tops tog
ether. For
stability, place a stake horizo
ntally on
top of the poles. Plant nex
t to each
stake.

50 I www.thegardener.co.za
JUNE SOWING GUIDE
REGION VEGETABLE

Highveld No sowing, except


and in the KwaZulu-
KwaZulu- Natal Midlands
Natal where garden peas
Midlands can be sown.

5 minutes
to spare
Haul out your seed
Unusual veggie: Pea ‘Blue Shelling’ packets, check the
Middleveld Garden peas
This is a Dutch heirloom variety with deep- expiry date and see
(Pretoria
blue purple pods and lightly scented edible where the gaps are for next season’s
and other
purple flowers. Use the tendrils as a microgreen sowing. Seed is viable for up to three
less frosty
or harvest very young pods as sugar snaps, or years, if stored correctly (dark, cool
areas)
leave the pods to mature and dry for eating as and dry).
a soup pea (its original use). It is too starchy to
eat as a green pea. The dried peas are soaked
overnight before cooking.
Plant in deeply dug over, fertile soil that
Eastern Garden peas
drains well, and train up a trellis to maximise
Cape and
exposure to the sun. Water regularly and,
Little
fertilise once a month.
Karoo

GARDEN TASKS for JUNE


• Water at least once a week. Soil Western Broad beans, celery,
should be moist, not over-wet or Cape (and garden peas, radishes,
allowed to dry out completely. Southern turnips
Plants have better cold tolerance Coast)
in moist soil.
• Stake broad beans and Brussels
sprouts, earth up around
cabbages and cauliflowers.
• Feed brassicas once a month
Gardening for kids with a nitrogen-rich fertiliser.
• Check for aphids, especially on
Northern
Cape and
Onions (prepare beds
for sowing garden
Grow crunchy multi-coloured radishes in a
brassicas, and spray with an Great Karoo peas in July and
window box that gets lots of sun. They are
organic insect spray. Cabbage is August).
fun to grow because they grow so fast and
spoilt if aphids get into the head.
are crunchy to eat.
• Keep raking up fallen leaves and
Fill the window box with moist, good quality
add them to the compost heap.
potting soil (not too coarse), mixed with some
• Move wormeries into a
homemade compost. Sprinkle the seeds over
sheltered, warm area if possible.
the surface, cover lightly with potting soil and
Worms are sensitive to the cold.
firm down with the flat of your hand. Moisten Lowveld Runner and bush
• Have frost cloth ready for
the soil using a watering can. and beans, beetroot,
protecting tender veggies.
Good tip: Start watering away from the
box, swish it over the soil and finish watering
KwaZulu-
Natal Coast
brinjals, cabbages,
carrots, cucumbers,
melons, garden peas,
away from the box. The heavy drops at the 10 minutes pumpkins and other
beginning and end of watering can disturb
the seeds.
to spare squashes, radishes,
Rake or lightly till spinach Swiss chard,
Did you know? The leaves are also
yummy to eat or can be used by Mum in a
manure into empty
beds, and cover with
tomatoes, turnips

salad. For plump radishes make sure to water a thick layer of leaves.
every second day. By spring the beds will be ready for
planting.
DIY

There are many options,


so choose the one that
works best for you.

Choosing
a compost
container
3-BIN COMPOSTERS MAKE A THREE-BIN COMPOSTER
A highly recommended structure is the three-bin
system, which consists of three compartments of
ascending sizes. The first bin is the largest, designed
to take fresh kitchen and garden waste that tends
to be bulky before it breaks down. Once this bin is
full, it is transferred to the smaller second bin and
simultaneously turned for aeration. Once the first
bin is full again, the more advanced contents of the
second bin are transferred to the third and smallest
bin, and simultaneously turned again, to create space
for the contents of the first bin to be transferred to the
second bin. By the time the first bin is full yet again, the
contents of the third bin should be ready for return to
the garden soil, and so the process continues. This is an
easy and elegant system to use!
This large composter can be made in a day and is easy to put together

H
ow much space do you have? What you do
The bigger your garden the more What you need
space you will have (and need)
for your compost area. There are plastic
compost bins in various sizes, available at
1  Measure an area of 4500mm x 1200mm,
and mark the position for the posts at
1500mm intervals across the front and back.
CCA-treated wood:
8 x 76mm x 50mm x 1650mm posts
4 x 20mm x 20mm 1200mm support
most garden centres, that will suit small Level the ground and dig the holes for the posts
gardens and produce less organic waste. four back posts, to a depth of 450mm. 76mm x 25mm planks cut to the
Often we tend to allocate too little space following lengths:
to composting. You can never add too much 32 x 1200mm
compost to your soil, so allocate the biggest 28 x 1145mm
possible space you can to this area. 42 x 1500mm
14 x 4500mm
Where should you put it? 12 x 600mm
The best place for a compost area is where
it will be easy to access, both from your Approximately 500 Tek screws
kitchen and your food garden beds. (4.5mm x 50mm)
This should preferably also be an area 2m nylon rope
that is protected from drying winds and
receives sun. Also ensure a source of water
is nearby, which is particularly helpful
during the dry seasons when you will need
2  Lay four of the 1650mm x 76mm x 50mm
posts on the ground, 1500mm apart.
Make sure the 50mm side is facing up. Make
to wet the compost down regularly. a mark 450mm up the posts. Starting at the
mark, space the fourteen 4500mm x 76mm
What structure works best? x 25mm slats evenly on the posts. Fix the
To aid the decomposition process you need slats in place with the Tek screws, using at
a structure that allows aeration from the least two Tek screws at each fixing point to
sides, top and base. You can build bins out prevent the structure from twisting.
of wire mesh, reclaimed wooden palettes,
wooden slats or even concrete blocks.
Another tip is to enable the compost
to come into near contact with the soil it
sits on, as this will allow microorganisms
to enter and speed up the decomposition
process.
It’s critical that you have ease of access
to the contents of the bins too, as you’ll
need to turn the compost occasionally to
aerate it, and to remove it later for return to
your garden beds. A lid is advisable to allow
control of moisture levels and help seal in
heat for rapid decomposition. You could
3  Lift up the back wall of
the structure and drop
the posts into the prepared
simply drape a sheet of plastic over the top holes. Make sure the back
of the bin. wall is level, then compact
the soil around the posts.
www.thegardener.co.za I 53
4  Dig the 450mm deep holes for the
front posts 1200mm in front of the
back posts.

5  Sink the front posts (the remaining 1650mm x 76mm x


50mm posts) 450mm into the ground. Make sure that the
50mm side is facing the front and that they are straight and
upright, then compact the soil around them to keep them in
place.
Connect the front posts to the back posts using fourteen
1200mm slats, using Tek screws. Leave the same gaps between
the slats as on the back wall. Repeat on the other side.

6  Attach a 1200mm x 76mm x 25mm slat to the front of each


of the front posts, leaving an even overlap on each side of
the post. These overlaps will form part of the channels to slide
the door panels in and out.

54 I www.thegardener.co.za
7  Attach fourteen of the
1145mm x 76mm x 25mm
slats to each of the two centre posts
in the same way as the side posts. You will notice a 30mm
gap between the end of the plank and the front of the
post, which forms the channels on that side of the post. For
clarity, have a look at the diagram. On the open sides of the
front posts, attach the 1200mm x 20mm x 20mm panel to
complete the channels on the front posts.

8  To make a door, lay two of the 600mm x 76mm x 25mm


cleats on top of seven evenly spaced 1500mm x 76mm
x 25mm slats. The slats must overhang each of the cleats by
50mm. Attach using Tek screws. Drill two holes in the centre of
the door, big enough to pass the nylon rope through to form
a handle. Pass a piece of the rope through the holes and tie
knots in both ends of the rope to stop it from pulling through.
Repeat this step to make a total of six doors.

9  Slide the doors into the channels to close the front of the
three box compartments. Your composter is now ready to
receive garden and kitchen refuse.

www.thegardener.co.za I 55
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A pallet-able
DIY

wall feature
This creative wall feature can be used as a decorative
shelf or even a functional potting bench.
What you need
Timber (we used recycled pine, which is
basically pallets that have been broken
down):
4 x 1070mm x 90mm x 40mm
12 x 1070mm x 95mm x 18mm
3 x 380mm x 90mm x 40mm

80 full-thread screws (4mm x 50mm)


2x 1m x 8mm natural-fibre rope
4 x nail-in wall anchors
6 x U-fencing staples

Tools: Tape measure, drill and 10mm drill


bit, belt sander, screwdriver, hammer

What you do

1 1
Lay the four 4 x 1070mm x 90mm
x 40mm planks on a table. Screw
four 1070mm x 95mm x 18mm
planks onto them. Screw one
at each end, and the other two
310mm from the end planks.

2
Screw four 1070mm x 95mm x
18mm planks onto three 380mm
x 90mm x 40mm planks, one
380mm plank at each and one in
the middle.

3
Turn the structure from Step 2
over and screw the remaining
2 3
four 1070mm x 95mm x 18mm
planks to it.

4
Sand the two structures to neaten
them up.

5
Screw the structure from Step 1 to
the structure completed in Step 3,
the bottoms of the two structures
flush with each other.

4 5
www.thegardener.co.za I 59
6

7
6 If you’d like to you can paint or
seal
is
the shelf, although pallet wood
7a
Drill two 10mm holes in the two
outer 380mm planks, near the .
front. treated and lasts ages outdoors

7
Attach one end of a piece of rope
to the second-from-top shelf,
using fencing staples. Push the
other end of the rope through the
10mm hole and tie a strong knot
in the end. Repeat with the other
piece of rope.

8
Hang the completed shelf from a
wall, using wall anchors. Once this
is done, decorate with some art-
fully placed plants and gardening
accessories.

7b 8
60 I www.thegardener.co.za
KOI

10 top tips for

TEXT Angela Beckx


new fishkeepers
P
et healthcare is so important, and
fish are no different. They can’t talk
to us so we have to be one step
term treatment is to put a UV sterilizer
on, as this kills green water and you only
need to change the UV bulb every 9 – 12
8 Healthcare for fish can be daunting,
and getting advice from your local
pet or fish store is recommended. The
ahead to keep them happy and healthy at months. There are pond UV lights and first treatment is to get your water tested
all times. Here are my top 10 tips for new aquarium UV lights to choose from. Short- and to make sure the water chemistry is
fishkeepers. term solutions are putting in algaecides, correct. After you have ruled out water
but they only last a week or so and then quality issues you can move on to the

1 Dechlorinate tap water before adding


it to your pond or aquarium. Even
the green water returns. correct medications.

if you are only topping up evaporated


water this is a must, as tap water contains
chlorine and chloramines, which are
5 The amount of food your fish require
is often confusing for fishkeepers.
Time is often a good way to assess if
9 Test kits are a must for fish care. There
are four tests that you need, and each
test will tell you if your water quality is
harmful to all fish. There are many brands you are feeding correctly: if after five healthy or not. Ammonia measures fish
of dechlorinators on the market – just minutes there is still food floating on the wastes and organic wastes, nitrite and
look for a bottle that says it takes out both surface, you are overfeeding. Feeding koi nitrate will show you if your filters are
chlorine and chloramines. small amounts three times a day leads to working well, and the pH test kit will tell
maximum growth. you if your water is acidic or alkaline.

2 Fish need a filter to remove fish waste,


organic matter and to keep your pond
or tank clean. Remember that filters take 6 Rain can affect your outdoor pond’s
pH level – you need to keep a check on 10 Fish can jump out of ponds or
fish tanks, but this normally only
6 – 8 weeks to mature, so be patient and the pH levels as they can fluctuate quite a happens when you purchase new fish as
don’t overstock your pond with fish for the lot. Most fish like a pH of between 7.2 and they are new to your pond or aquarium
first few weeks. 8.5. If the pH drops below 7, bicarbonate of and are not sure of the change in
soda can be used to correct it. environment. Keeping a net on your pond

3 Cleaning of your filter: When washing


out your filter please use pond or tank
water and not water from the tap, as the 7 Air pumps are used to blow oxygen
into the water. Fish love the added
or dropping the water level for a few days
until they settle in can help. If you have an
aquarium, keep an aquarium lid on so that
chlorine kills all the good bacteria in the oxygen and it makes them healthier and the fish are safe. Happy fishkeeping!
filter. more active. Air pumps blow vertical air
from the bottom to the top via air stones. Angela Beckx of Koi@Jungle can be

4 If you have problems with green water


there are a few treatments. The long-
You can get air balls, air discs and even
bottom drains that have built in air tops.
contacted on 031 209 8781, or visit
www.koiatjungle.co.za.

62 I www.thegardener.co.za
CHECKLIST

1
KITCHEN GARDENING
• Prepare planting beds for
permanent crops such as
asparagus, rhubarb, chives and
globe artichokes by adding lots
of compost and well-rotted
2 BEDDING BESTIE

Primulas or primroses (Primula malacoides)


are synonymous with winter and spring
3 INTENSELY CHEERFUL!

It’s prime time for pretty cyclamens. The


silver-marbled foliage perfectly sets off the
kraal manure. Add a dressing of gardens. These tough annuals grow quickly
and easily in spots with semi-shade, bright and cheerful blooms resembling dainty
balanced organic fertiliser before butterfly wings, and are available in a wide
planting. and are ideal for mass planting among
spring-flowering bulbs, for edging, or in range of colours. Cyclamens prefer bright,
containers. Dainty stems with white, rose, indirect light and are fussy about water – allow
• Prepare large holes (at least 1m x 1m) the plants to dry out between watering, but

e
for new fruit trees and vines. Back-fill pink, lavender or purple flowers appear well

n
not to the wilting stage. Water gently from the

u
the hole first with the topsoil mixed above woolly, bright green leaves. They
bottom, rather than dousing the whole plant,

J
with a generous helping of compost. grow to about 20 – 25cm.
to prevent rot. Clean up old leaves and spent
Add about 100g of general fertiliser blooms.
and a huge handful of bonemeal. Fill
the holes up and water well to settle.
You can now go shopping for fruit
trees and vines to plant. —©ۯ˼‘r¼ƒ‡ñ

4
Here is the checklist to remind you what to
LOVELY plant and do in your garden during June.
LILIES
Lily bulbs are now readily available.
Plant them in compost-rich soil, to
which a handful of bonemeal has
been added. As they prefer good
drainage, it’s always a good idea to
add some coarse river sand to the
bottom of the planting hole. If moles
are a problem, plant the lilium bulbs
into plastic or wire baskets that are then
sunk into the soil.
If you normally receive severe frost,
plant your lilium bulbs into large pots
and keep them protected on a warm
patio. You will later enjoy the beauty of
their exotic flowers up close and personal
without any worries of frost damage.

64 I www.thegardener.co.za
5
Dianella revoluta

PLANT AND FORGET!


Add a permanent ‘wow’ factor to your garden with the following
grasses, which are highly recommended for a low-maintenance
effect:

Tanika grass (Lomandra longifolia)


This tough and drought-tolerant ornamental grass is evergreen with
soft, fine foliage in a fresh shade of green, and small yellow flowers
that appear in spring. It is frost resistant, likes sandy soil, and is the
perfect companion plant to shade and cool others in a meadow
garden. This fantastic grass reaches a height of 60cm and a width
of about 65cm, and is perfect for mass planting in full sun or light
shade.

Little rev (Dianella revoluta)


These compact, tuft-forming, grass-like plants have blue-grey
foliage and produce masses of purple flowers in summer. They
prefer full sun, little water and very good drainage. They are perfect
for mass planting in modern landscapes, having a mature height
and spread of only 30 – 40cm x 30 – 40cm.

LAWN BUSINESS

6
• Keep watering overseeded lawns and cool-season grass, which
regularly grows throughout winter.

• Winter grass, a tufty, bright green grass, can become a problem


on winter lawns but dies off naturally when the weather warms
up again. If it becomes too much to handle, kill off with a
selective herbicide. Keep in mind that small birds often feed and
survive winter on the seed it produces.

• Keep off the lawn if it is frosted, as walking on it can encourage


the growth of moss and algae. Water the lawn every 2 – 3 weeks
and mow as needed.
8
JUNE PRUNE

9
• You can start pruning deciduous shrubs and
trees for neatness and shape at the end of

7
the month. Don’t prune those that will flower
in spring, such as Cape may (Spiraea), mock
BASKET IDEAS
orange, ornamental prunus and bushveld
DO SOME bride (Dombeya rotundifolia). If our autumn hanging baskets inspired you
• Regularly pinch back winter annuals like last month and you are raring to plant up some
SHOPPING pansies, violas and snapdragons to promote more, try the following choices:
bushy growth and more flowers.
• Saucy succulent baskets – mix different
• Conifers grow actively in winter and can be
Fertiliser lightly sheared to encourage denser foliage.
varieties together.
Go shopping for fertiliser to feed • Cut back ornamental veld-like grasses such • Geranium baskets – go for the bold colours
your winter veggies. There are as pennisetum hybrids, muhly grass, Aristida of the trailing varieties called Pelargonium
formulations like 7:1:3 for leafy juncea and zebra grasses. peltatum.
vegetables and 8:1:5 to encourage • Prune vines and plum and apricot trees at • Salad baskets – fill up some baskets with
flowers and fruit. the end of June and spray with lime sulphur. loose-leaved salad varieties and add some
Do not use last year’s supply as it will have colourful violas in between, as they are edible
Saving lost its potency. Buy fresh stock and use only too.
Water-retention products have on plants that have become completely • Jasmine baskets – plant some Jasminum
become very important to dormant. polyanthemum (Chinese jasmine) into large

10
gardeners (if not critical!) . The baskets in preparation for a very aromatic
latest products include lightweight and romantic late winter and early spring.
expanded clay aggregates that
can either be used as a moisture-
retentive mulch or as a drainage DIFFICULT SPOT TO FILL?
layer in pots or beds. Other products
are in the form of granules or
powder that can be worked into the One plant that ticks all the boxes is Correa alba,
soil. commonly called the white correa. Correa is drought
and salt-spray tolerant, frost hardy, and is a low-
Super soils maintenance shrub that can be pruned to shape
The latest range of commercial whenever you want to. Cream-coloured, bell-
potting soils contain peat and shaped flowers can occur throughout the year
aqua plus (a water saver) and with a main flowering period in autumn. This
are highly specialised growth fast-growing, evergreen shrub has leathery
mediums for citruses, bonsais, grey-green leaves that gives it a ‘snowy’
herbs, pink and white hydrangeas, winter look. It has a dense, rounded habit and
blue hydrangeas, fynbos, orchids, naturally grows to a height of about 1.5m. Use
cactuses and succulents and roses, it as a hedging plant or just to fill an empty
as well as acidic and universal spot somewhere in a bed. It will grow happily
blends. Make sure that you buy the in full sun or partial shade and is not fussy
right formulation for your special about the soil it is planted in, although it does
container plants. prefer well-drained soil that has been enriched with
compost. It needs an average amount of water until
established, and then you can relax with the tap.
66 I www.thegardener.co.za
11 Helleborus

QUICK YARD STUFF


• It’s not too late to dig up and divide thick clumps of ornamental
mondo grasses. Split them into small clumps for replanting in freshly
composted soil, and remember to pot the excess up into old plant
pots to give away as gifts to other gardening friends.
• You can still take hardwood cuttings from deciduous plants.
• Plant glorious helleborus in your shade garden.
• Cut back overgrown herbs and add fresh compost around their
bases.
• Take cuttings of coleus and keep them protected until rooted.
• Divide overgrown daylilies and replant in composted soil.
• Move houseplants like ferns away from cold windows and cut down
on watering. Remember that heaters dry out the indoor atmosphere
and so the plants should be misted often with tepid water to increase
humidity around them.
• Keep clivias fairly dry now, as this will stimulate flower spikes.
• If there has been a bout of cold, dry wind, give your garden a deep
drink early in the morning to allow the plants to dry off during the
day. Winter-flowering plants, especially camellias and emerging
bulbs, must be watered regularly for a long-lasting flower display.
• In subtropical climes you can feed paw-paw trees. Water them well
before and afterwards. Lemon trees should also be given a feed
(one should feed garden citrus trees four times a year, in September,
January, April and in June or July, and those in pots more regularly
with a foliar fertiliser). Correct yellowing leaves with a microelement
mixture.
• If your gravel areas are smothered in weeds and the gravel keeps
disappearing into the soil, it might be a good idea to rake the stones
onto a heap away from the area. Then lay down a layer of weed
matting – a strong membrane sold by the roll that allows water and
air through, while smothering germinating weed seed. This material
also prevents gravel chips from sinking into the soil.
June Events and Open Gardens
GAUTENG Garden 3
13 Valley Drive, Forest Hills (Helen Terblanche)
Sunday 10 June
Advanced organic vegetable growing course Helen began her garden transformation in 1985, when her garden
Learn every aspect of growing vegetables organically, from mastering was a collection of aesthetic exotics and any indigenous species she
soil preparation to coping with water restrictions, companion could lay her hands on. Over three decades later her garden is in an
planting, organic pest control and crop rotation. advanced stage of transformation, with more than 95% of species being
Venue: Inner City Farm, Johannesburg indigenous.
Time: 08:30 – 16:30 Garden 4
Enquiries: www.soughtafterseedlings.co.za The du Boirs Boutique Lodge, Wedding
and Conference Venue, 13 Hillford Rd,
KWAZULU-NATAL Waterfall (Palesa Dube)
Saturday 16 – Sunday 17 June
This year’s venue emphasises the
Kloof Conservancy’s Indigenous Open Gardens Show
‘garden’ in ‘tea garden’. A vast property
All the gardens at this year’s show have one main thing in common – bordered by the Nkutu River that has
a transformation from exotic to indigenous flora. been undergoing huge structural and
flora transformations since 2009, this
hidden gem celebrates the beauty of
its indigenous surrounds and boasts
a waterfall, walkways throughout,
riverside picnic grounds and polished
lawns, all visible from the deck of the
venue’s spacious reception hall – where
this year’s tea and cake will be served.
Garden 5
34B Margaret Crescent, Forest Hills (Dave
and Sue Mercer)
Dave and Sue Mercer have impressively created and maintained their
slice of paradise in their limited free time. Their stunning and butterfly-
attracting (over 110 species and counting) plant diversity is initially
thanks to their closest friends and family, who bought the newlywed
Garden 1 couple indigenous plants off their unconventional gift registry at a
34 Alexander Drive, Winston Park (Derek and Sharron Rabie) local nursery. Eleven years later, they have even restored a grassland
Calling all aloe enthusiasts! With a count of 65 species and growing, in the lower part of their property that now seamlessly flows into the
this property boasts a variety of aloe species like no other and Krantzkloof Nature Reserve beyond.
also showcases what is possible with foresight, creativity and a Garden 6
substantial amount of elbow grease. Lawns were converted to 9 Watsonia Place, Forest Hills (Helen and Tim McClurg)
indigenous grasslands with wooden walkways, and shaded and
infertile, alienised areas transformed into sun-drenched indigenous This garden shares two borders with the Krantzkloof Nature Reserve
havens. An impressive pool-side rockery and water feature was and will be of great interest to long-term Indigenous Open Gardens
created from scratch and is now naturally and cleverly filtered by a show attendees, having been previously featured in the 2008
variety of indigenous plant species. show. Since then, the garden has progressed in its ‘indigenous’
transformation with flourishing outcrop displays and well-established
Garden 2 trees rising from perfectly manicured (and very inviting) lawns.
32 Jan Smuts Avenue, Winston
Park (Haley and Gavin Hough) WESTERN CAPE
This is an estate large enough to Saturday 23 June
host habitats of all types. Although Fynbos foraging
presently in a transition phase Forage for indigenous edibles, learn how to sustainably harvest them,
between ornamental exotics and utilise them in your kitchen, grow them in your garden and harness
indigenous species, the garden’s some of their medicinal properties. Learn about wild herbs and how
plants were ideally selected to suit to preserve and prepare them. After snacks and a gathering tour you
each section, creating a flourishing will get creative in the foraging classroom kitchen and prepare and
mosaic and stunning example share a feast.
of what is possible in the micro- Venue: Veld and Sea kitchen classroom, Good Hope Gardens Nursery,
environments of each garden type. Cape Point
Time: 10:00 – 14:00
Enquiries: veldandsea@gmail.com

68 I www.thegardener.co.za
GROUNDCOVER
STOEP STORY

Am I okay?
By
When do you come to the conclusion that there is Anna
something really weird about yourself? Celliers

I
tried to diagnose certain of my erratic front door. He then hastily offered to clean car ready to go to the café, I will start
actions by reading up about obsessive- my bakkie’s engine and even to unblock wondering if I switched off the stove or
compulsive disorder on Wikipedia a drain – apparently other tasks that this the iron (even though I hadn’t even been
the other day. It said, ‘A relatively vague machine excels at. The latter was the straw cooking or ironing). This would make me
obsession could involve a general sense that broke the camel’s back – I purchased go back to the house to check it out. And
of disarray or tension accompanied by a the machine then and there at a princely then as soon as I had driven around the
belief that life cannot proceed as normal sum that crippled me financially before the corner, I would be wondering whether I
while the imbalance remains’. start of the festive season. It was at that had closed the garage doors and I would
I think it all started just before Christmas point that my obsessions started... drive around the block to check that. It was
about fifteen-odd years ago, when I was I kept cleaning everything in sight. I once brought to my attention that I had
very tired and lay down at noon on my vacuumed the house’s walls and ceilings actually been seen sitting in the idling car
bed to take a power nap. But as I lay down with a ‘wall brush’. I palpitated the hell in my driveway, staring at my own garage
the doorbell started to ring, urgently and out of my soft furnishings and mattresses door. The neighbour came over to ask me
repeatedly. I got off the bed and found with a round sucking thing that vibrates. if I was feeling okay!
a young man holding a shiny vacuum I washed the carpets into a bleached- Arriving at the café, I would be halfway
cleaner sitting on my ‘Welcome’ mat. looking state, sucked out dust and through the door before wondering
Before I could slam the door in his face, other stuff from the dogs, and cleaned whether I had locked the car, even though
he shouted that he was there to clean up underneath all appliances with a nifty it gives a loud screech when you push the
my life, and that if I would allow him the little tool that fits into awkward spaces. button on the remote (and I had definitely
chance of a small demonstration of what And I obviously sucked out all the drains – heard it!). I would have to walk back to the
his machine could do, I would be helping regularly! car to pull at the door handles quite a few
him to better his life. The distinctive whine that this machine times to check that it was locked. While
He tuned me that he desperately makes drove the family up the wall, and doing this, I would also peek through the
needed to sell one last machine in order my machine and I were soon banished driver’s window to check if I had pulled
to win a Mauritius vacation, and seeing to my office outside the house. There my up the handbrake before I got out. (I
that the machine he had with him was a compulsive behaviour worsened as I fell know, this is totally illogical, because if I
demonstration model, it would be much into the routine of ‘deep-cleaning’ my hadn’t the damn car would obviously have
cheaper than a brand-new machine. He office every time the magazines went to wandered off down the slope!). I have to
also told me that this brand of machine is print or ‘were put to bed’, as we say. confess that I have often unlocked the car,
used exclusively at NASA to clean space I vacuumed my gardening books and got in, pulled the handbrake tighter, and
ships! the computer’s keyboard until the pages even checked if the vehicle is in gear – a
I was gobsmacked by his passionate and keys came loose. I followed this up by few times! By the time I had done all that,
sales talk, as I happened to be a sales agent washing everything down with household I would have completely forgotten why
of plants at the time and was certainly not detergent – which probably caused two of I drove to the café in the first place, so I
too good at it. So I invited him into the my beloved PC’s to conk in! I still have the would often come home with stuff I didn’t
house and into my bedroom to shampoo habit to this very day! need (and without the stuff I did need!)!
a grubby rug while I reclined on my bed But things became even worse. After I’m even worse at an airport. I check
listening to his chatter. Then he asked me if losing my handbag, in which quite a few a million times if I have my purse, my
I knew how many bugs live on a mattress. scarce Echeveria cuttings poached from glasses, my ID book and my boarding pass.
He promptly changed some settings, the gardens of unsuspecting gardeners I constantly check the boarding time and
pipes, and fittings on the machine and had started to root, I suddenly became the boarding gate, to see if I’m standing at
waved me off the bed to start vacuuming fearful of losing things or forgetting stuff. the right one.
there. What landed in the filters of his On certain days everything will be just What the dickens is wrong with me,
machine took my breath away, but he fine, and life is lived and rushed through and can it be cured? I really get tired
could see that he hadn’t really hooked me as per normal. But on other days, after sometimes. Or maybe it’s just nature’s way
yet, as I started waving him towards the I’ve left the house and am sitting in the of keeping me fit!

72 I www.thegardener.co.za