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Gardening in South Africa

Traditionally mid to late summer is the time to sow vegetable crops that enjoy growing in the intermediate to cool seasons.


Broad Beans with white Primulas in frontBroad Beans with white Primulas in frontWant to save money on the family budget this year? Vegetable prices are very high right now, so why not try growing your own - it's really easy and nothing beats the flavour of home grown veggies. Also, if you practice organic gardening you will have peace of mind, knowing that your veggies are truly fresh and packed with vitamins and minerals, and do not contain unhealthy chemical residues.

Vegetables are more nutritious if they are consumed as fresh as possible and fruiting vegetables, like beans, tomatoes, peppers and sweet corn, have the best flavour if they are eaten as quickly as possible after harvesting. Growing your own veggies also gives you a wider choice, and unusual varieties are sometimes difficult to obtain in grocery stores, but are easily grown in the home garden.

Many vegetables like frilly lettuce and 'Bright Lights' spinach are also very ornamental and can be grown for their good looks as well as their produce.

This little birdfeeder is worth its weight in gold.


People love attracting birds to their gardens because they bring life, movement, bird song, and hours of joy. Here the Red Bishops and the little Cape Sparrows vie for space, but somehow they all manage to get their share.

There are many types of bird feeders available, so select those you prefer - they all work well. It is incredible how quickly the birds find the food, it can be within hours, or perhaps a day or so at the most, but once they discover it you will find them returning time and again for their free smorgasbord! I don’t feed every day in summer because it becomes very expensive and they do still need to forage for their own food, but in winter I give a regular supply.

Hanging baskets overflowing with flowers are hard to resist!


Summer hanging basket for semi-shade.Summer hanging basket for semi-shade.Have you ever admired a lush hanging basket bursting with blooms but simply thought it a bit overpriced? Well, not really,  a well-designed hanging basket in full bloom has probably taken months of care to get it to a sellable size, and this is labour intensive too, so if you can afford one of these ’ready to go’ beauties, spoil yourself, you’re worth it!

However, if your budget is tight and you have the time and patience to allow them to grow, you can duplicate the look of a professional flowering hanging basket at home for a lot less, using high quality materials and dense planting techniques. In fact, once you have purchased the soil, fertiliser, coir, plants etc. you require, you will probably find you have enough left over to plant at least one or two extra baskets - not bad for a gardener on a budget!

Million Bells is rather like a miniature petunia on steroids!

 

Cabaret Cherry Rose Calibrachoa. Picture courtesy Ball Horticultural CompanyCabaret Cherry Rose Calibrachoa. Picture courtesy Ball Horticultural CompanyMillion Bells (Calibrachoa syn Petunia) are short lived perennials which are often planted as summer annuals in South Africa - growing and flowering at an amazing rate! They bloom abundantly all spring and summer, until the first frosts, and in warm frost-free regions can flower all year round.

It is a relatively recent newcomer to the garden scene, having only been around since the early 1990s – and that’s not long in plant years! Plant breeders have been hard at work on this little marvel, and today Calibrachoa hybrids are available to gardeners in many amazing shades of cherry, red, rose, pink, violet, blue, yellow, lemon, terracotta and white.

Warm summer breezes will waft the scent of Gardenia throughout the whole garden, much to the delight of everyone.

 

Gardenia augustaGardenia augustaThere are many cultivars of Gardenia augusta, including groundcover, dwarf and medium-sized varieties, so there’s a gardenia for every size garden. All the cultivars also grow beautifully in containers, so even if you only have a small patio or balcony garden, you can plant a Gardenia.

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Books

Gardening in the Shade

shade book

Growing Vegetables in South Africa

Growing Bedding Plants in South Africa

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