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Gardening in South Africa

Attracting birds and other wildlife to your garden can be so simple!

Many indigenous as well as exotic plants can be incorporated into your garden design to attract wildlife, and it doesn't matter how large or small your garden is; if you follow a few simple guidelines you will soon be rewarded with the delightful sound of birdsong, and the fleeting beauty of a flitting butterfly or busy bee.

Because of the continual expansion of our urban areas into the natural environment, city gardens, parks and open areas have become vital in sustaining wildlife; and it is possible - with a bit of planning - to create both a beautiful and sustainable sanctuary for birds and other wildlife in our suburban gardens.

Summer Snapdragons bloom continuously during the hot summer months

Angelonia 'Serena Blue' Picture courtesy Ball StraathofAngelonia 'Serena Blue' Picture courtesy Ball StraathofCondensed Version:

These tropical evergreen perennials are tough, easy to care for, and are planted in summer for their lovely snapdragon-like flowers, born on slender upright spikes. They bloom continuously during the hot summer months; have attractive bright green willow-like leaves; and hybrids are available in clear flower colours or two-toned combinations of rose, pink, blue, lilac, violet-blue, purple, and white. Their rounded upright growth habit and long blooming season make them perfect bedding plants and worthwhile additions to background plantings in flower borders. Numerous hybrids have been bred for flower performance and compact growth; making them an ideal choice for colourful container plantings.

 

Gardening in the Western Cape

Cape Agulhas Dune Fynbos - Overberg. Picture courtesy South African Tourism. Visit their flickr pageCape Agulhas Dune Fynbos - Overberg. Picture courtesy South African Tourism. Visit their flickr pageThe beautiful Western Cape draws millions of visitors each year, and foreign investors are snapping up valuable properties in the Province. For many South Africans it’s a favourite holiday destination, with many even moving to the Province to retire or seek a better quality of life.  Bordered by two oceans - the warm Indian Ocean to the south and the cold Atlantic to the west - The Western Cape Province is truly diverse in its beauty - from the wild Cape Agulhas coast with its sparse, sweeping stretches of sand, punctuated only by rocky outcrops and solitary fishing villages; to the sun-drenched vineyards of the Cape Winelands, and the magnificent Garden Route with its emerald lakes and indigenous forests. Even the magnificent passes which reach into the interior; and the wide and arid, windswept spaces of the Klein Karoo, seem part of a fantasy landscape that often defies description. 

Summer Show Stoppers

Salvia farinaceaSalvia farinaceaHailing from around the globe, including several indigenous varieties, Begonias come from a massive genus consisting of more than a thousand species. With over ten thousand documented hybrids there is an almost confusing array to choose from.  When it comes to long lasting, outdoor colour however, there is little to be confused about. Begonia semperflorens or bedding Begonias and its numerous cultivars, are just the thing to brighten up those dull areas in the garden.

Impatiens – known to many as “Busy Lizzies” – are a vital ingredient to any summer garden. Few, if any, other plants offer such a mass of blooms for such a long period as do these valiant little plants. For a relatively small outlay, a few trays of impatiens will transform a dull shady corner into a riot of gorgeous colour. Impatiens will perform beautifully all summer long, impressing all passers-by. Once impatiens are established, discerning gardeners the world over are finding them among the most carefree annuals in the garden.

It’s time we started looking at Thyme in a whole new light - it’s equally at home in a caramel sauce as it is in a dreamy macaroni and cheese!


Common ThymeCommon ThymeThyme, for many people, brings up happy memories of eating traditional roast chicken with thyme and onion stuffing, or classic turkey with sage and thyme at thanksgiving.  For others it is associated with pasta sauces and pizza. But alas - poor thyme, she seems to always be the bridesmaid, never the bride - destined to work tirelessly as a culinary Cinderella in the kitchen. No more, it’s time for this Cinderella to go to the ball and play centre stage. She’s quite capable of competing with those other flashy herbs like coriander, mint, basil and parsley, and once you get addicted to her clean yet bracing pungency, you will find yourself reaching for thyme more and more!

Books

Gardening in the Shade

shade book

Growing Vegetables in South Africa

Growing Bedding Plants in South Africa

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