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Gardening in South Africa

Tolerating heat, frost, drought, pollution, salt and humidity, the Indian hawthorn is an excellent choice for the urban landscape.

Raphiolepis x delacourii Raphiolepis x delacourii Indian Hawthorns are popular landscape shrubs for gardens large and small because they remain attractive all year round. Raphiolepis is a genus of about fifteen species of evergreen shrubs and small trees in the rose family (Rosaceae), native to warm temperate and subtropical eastern and south-eastern Asia; Japan, Korea, China, Thailand and Vietnam. The common name is a little confusing since it is neither from India, nor does it have thorns like most of the other hawthorns which come from Europe and America. These ornamentals are grown for their dense, neat growth and abundant clusters of delicate pink or white blossoms in late winter and spring; followed by showy blue-black berries in autumn. The leathery oval leaves are glossy with lightly toothed edges; and the new foliage is often red or bronze, ageing to a rich, dark green.

Sunsets and Honey

GazaniaGazaniaOur companions this month are reminiscent of two very special gifts from Mother Nature – sunsets and honey. Our indigenous Gazanias bloom in bursts of brilliant colours in the shades of a magnificent African sunset. Part of the Asteraceae, or daisy, family they have the common daisy shape, but the petals come in the most intricate colours and detail. Our other little gift, Alyssum, blooms in dainty umbrellas of multiple tiny flowers; scented sweetly with a very real honey-like fragrance. Perhaps the greatest gift of all is that neither of these beauties is particularly fussy, in fact they are pretty hardy and perfect for some of our harsher South African gardens where they do an excellent job of attracting birds, bees, butterflies and other ‘friendly’ insects.

Eggplants are packed with nutrition and their fibre content makes them perfect for weight watchers!

Egg Fruit Black Beauty www.ballstraathof.co.zaEgg Fruit Black Beauty www.ballstraathof.co.zaDescription, History & Interesting Facts:

Eggplants have long been prized for their beauty as well as their unique texture and taste. They are members of the nightshade (Solanum) family and closely related to tomatoes, bell peppers and potatoes. This plant has a mysterious past, and the true ancestor of Solanum melongena is still under debate. Some scholars suggest that, because of DNA sequencing reported in 2010, which provides evidence that S. melongena is descended from Solanum linnaeanum, an African plant; that eggplants most likely originated in Africa and were dispersed throughout the Middle East and into Asia, where they were first cultivated and documented. Other scholars suggest that the true ancestor of our cultivated eggplant has not yet been identified, and was probably located in the savannas of south-east Asia. Its place of domestication is still currently believed to have been south-east Asia.

September is a busy month in the garden.

Jasmine polyanthumJasmine polyanthumAll Regions

September means springtime and gardens are filled with the heady fragrance of jasmine and yesterday, today and tomorrow. Ornamental and edible fruit trees burst into bloom overnight and spring flowering bulbs are looking at their best. September is a very invigorating month in the garden and there’s a lot to be done; but the weather can still be quite unpredictable, with late frosts in cold regions, so exercise caution before sowing and planting out summer plants.

“Growing Vegetables in South Africa”

This e-book is written especially for South African gardeners and includes a sowing guide. All 100 pages are jam-packed with good advice and lovely photographs; and the instructions are so easy to follow that even a child could understand. In fact, growing your own veggies can be so much fun that the whole family will want to get involved. Small children are especially fond of growing vegetables and this is sure to encourage them to eat them too.

Whether you want to grow vegetables in the conventional manner, or are keen to practice companion planting and organic methods, this e-book offers all the information you need to get you started. If you follow the growing instructions in my e-book you will soon be harvesting your very first crops, and nothing is more rewarding than that first meal, using your own home grown produce.

I hope you will have as much fun reading it as I had writing it.

Order your e-book here..


Gardening in the Shade

shade book

Growing Vegetables in South Africa

Growing Bedding Plants in South Africa

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