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Dianthus Jolt 'Pink Magic' Picture courtesy www.ballstraathof.co.zaDianthus Jolt 'Pink Magic' Picture courtesy www.ballstraathof.co.zaDianthus is an old-fashioned flower which has always been favoured by gardeners because it is a tough little annual with the most irresistible flowers. It is also easy to grow and can be planted almost throughout the year in South Africa, because it not only withstands our summer heat and heavy rainfall, but is also frost hardy.

Pumpkin - a truly multinational vegetable

Tuesday, 26 November 2019 16:13
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Pumpkins Image by Maxx Girr from PixabayPumpkins Image by Maxx Girr from PixabayIf you mention pumpkin to South Africans you will get various responses from our rainbow nation. For many it will conjure up thoughts of sweet “Pampoenkoekies” - South African pumpkin fritters with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and sugar, with a drizzle of caramel sauce on top, or perhaps “Pumpkin Cake.” Others will dream of the mouth-watering “Kaddu Ka Halwa” or “Pumpkin Halwa” - a unique Indian pumpkin-based dessert made with almonds, cashews, pistachios, milk, and sugar.

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Leopard Tree - Picture courtesy Tatters - see her flickr pageLeopard Tree - Picture courtesy Tatters - see her flickr pageThe exotic leopard tree which is native to South America, and especially to Bolivia and east and north-eastern Brazil, has nothing to do with the elegant African predator of the feline family from which it got its common name, except for its patchy, dappled bark that looks like leopard print. However, there's something about its feathery foliage that makes you think of Africa.

Exotic and beautiful - Begonia Rex

Thursday, 14 November 2019 14:20
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Begonia Rex HybridBegonia Rex Hybrid

Begonia Rex Cultivars are prized for their dramatically patterned and intriguingly shaped leaves, and they are just as at home in a shady, humid garden as they are growing as an indoor pot plant. Gardeners of all generations just cannot resist their unusually textured leaves, and today there are countless gorgeous varieties to choose from.

What’s not to love about Agapanthus!

Sunday, 10 November 2019 16:57
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Image by congerdesign from PixabayImage by congerdesign from PixabayOur very own Agapanthus is one of South Africa’s botanical treasures which has been exported to all corners of the earth, and it remains a popular garden plant, not only for its voluptuous umbels of flowers which bloom for a long season, but also for its ease of cultivation. The name agapanthus comes from the Greek words “agape,” meaning love, and “anthos” meaning flower, therefore its name literally means ‘flower of love.’

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Image by Peter Skitterians from PixabayImage by Peter Skitterians from PixabayRadishes are one of the quickest and easiest vegetables to grow almost all year round in South Africa.  They are the perfect low-calorie summer vegetable, and because of their high water content, if you eat radish in summer - it will help to keep your body hydrated.

Secret Garden ‘Summer’s Medley’

Friday, 25 October 2019 09:25
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The inspiration for this secret garden comes from those lazy summer days, the stuff of dreams and daydreaming, when the day seems to last forever and the fun never stops. This quote by John Lubbock captures this beautifully: “Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.”

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Birdbath Image by Stephan Gieber from PixabayBirdbath Image by Stephan Gieber from PixabayParts of South Africa have been, and still are experiencing heatwaves, accompanied by strong and drying gale force winds, with little or no rain. There is also a high fire danger, and we are encouraged to conserve water in our gardens and homes.

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Lavandula angustifolia. Image by Rebekka D from PixabayLavandula angustifolia. Image by Rebekka D from PixabayLavender is cultivated not only for the heady fragrance and beauty of its blooms, but also for its attractive evergreen leaves, and its multitude of uses in the garden and home.

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Image by congerdesign from PixabayImage by congerdesign from PixabayNothing compares with that first flush of perfect rose buds, and in October the blooms will last so much longer because the sun is not too scorching hot yet.

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Coriander seeds. Image by PDPics from PixabayCoriander seeds. Image by PDPics from PixabayAn excerpt from my new e-book "Growing Culinary Herbs in South Africa"
Read more or order here....

Coriander is one of the most versatile herbs as all parts of the plant – roots, stems, leaves and seeds can be used in cooking.

All about Swiss Chard

Thursday, 26 September 2019 13:23
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Swiss Chard is lovely in mixed containersSwiss Chard is lovely in mixed containersSwiss chard, with its colourful stems and bright green leaves, must surely be one of the most glamorous of garden greens, looking as good as it tastes. It is also one of the most nutritious, and because its nutritional levels start dropping immediately after harvesting, it’s best grown at home.

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Brunsfelsia paucifloraBrunsfelsia paucifloraSeptember gardens should be overflowing with flowers and 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.

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Rhododendron Image by Oginskaya from PixabayRhododendron Image by Oginskaya from PixabayIf your garden looks a bit dreary in springtime and early summer, visit your local garden centre to select your favourite spring flowering beauties - they should be in full bloom now, and if you plant now, by next season they will be well established, transforming your spring garden forever.

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