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Firethorns will add year-round interest to the garden and are excellent ornamentals for many situations.


Pyracantha 'Santa Cruz' Pyracantha 'Santa Cruz' Firethorn - Pyracantha garden hybrids

These thorny evergreen shrubs are related to Cotoneaster and look very similar; except that Pyracantha has serrated leaves and numerous thorns, while Cotoneaster is thorn-less, with smooth leaf margins. These evergreen plants are very ornamental in the garden, providing year round interest with their glossy evergreen leaves and masses of small white flowers in spring and early summer; followed by showy clusters of berries in late summer, autumn and winter. All bear white flowers, but the berries can be red, yellow or orange, depending on variety. The fruits are long lasting on the plants and retain their fresh appearance. If left un-pruned they can grow very large, +-3 to 4m tall and 3 to 4m wide, but they are very beautiful shrubs, with their strong upright and widely spreading arching branches, which give the plants a fountain shape.

Healthy Soil = Healthy Plants

An article by Dr Joanna Dames
Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology
Rhodes University, Grahamstown
Managing Director, Mycoroot (Pty) Ltd

Science has contributed extensively to our knowledge of microbes over the past 200 years and areas of research have evolved from what is a microbe to whether they possibly exist on Mars or how they survive in deep sea vents, hot sulphur springs and at the bottom of our deepest gold mine.

Sow African daisies this autumn

African Daisy. Picture courtesy Scott ParrishAfrican Daisy. Picture courtesy Scott Parrish These indigenous flowers carpet the bare veldt of the south-western and north-western Cape and Namaqualand in spring. The flowers are so prolific that the leaves are almost invisible when the blooms appear. Their daisy-like flowers will attract butterflies to your garden and come in the traditional bright orange and yellow flowers as well as many pastel shades and pure white.

Sow them en masse into large beds, rockeries or borders for hassle-free colour. The flowers only open in the sun and will close up  at night or on overcast days.

African daisies are easy to grow annuals are sown directly into garden beds in full sun in autumn when the daytime temperatures are between 18 to 22°C. They are hardy to severe frost and even drought, but will perform better if watered moderately, especially in the summer rainfall regions.

Gardening in frosty regions

Ilex aquifolium 'Argentea marginata'Ilex aquifolium 'Argentea marginata'Frost is one of nature's gifts, intensifying the colours of autumn leaves and improving the flavour of your winter vegetables. Many of the most beautiful flowering plants love cold weather and many of them are the most popular spring flowering plants. With some planning and preperation, frosty gardens can thrive right through winter and summer.

VENERATED VERBENA

If ever there was a list of sacred plants, verbena would be close to the top. Verbena, translated directly from Latin, means Sacred Bough and throughout history it was thought to inspire creativity, be a cure-all and some even believed it could aid in settling disputes, firmly locking in links to folklore and being magical. Druids used to offer a sacrifice to the soil before harvesting it, such was their veneration for the plant.

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