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Moth Orchid. Image by Albrecht Fietz from PixabayMoth Orchid. Image by Albrecht Fietz from PixabayThe exquisite moth orchids are popular among novice and experienced growers alike because they are easy to grow and produce the elegant arching sprays of long-lasting blooms that can be seen in so many design magazines across the world.

The name Phalaenopsis is derived from the Greek and means "resembling a moth." It was so named because the white and pink species growing on trees in the wild resemble flights of moths at twilight.

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Recycled baby food jars with succulents. Image by Erica from PixabayRecycled baby food jars with succulents. Image by Erica from PixabayThere are many reasons why ordinary people around the world are opting to become more self-sufficient. For many it’s just common sense to reduce their carbon footprint by reusing, recycling, growing what they can at home, and supporting local farmers. For others it is all about becoming so self-sufficient that they no longer need to rely on the electrical grid for power, and municipalities for water. Modern homesteading is not defined by where someone lives, such as the city or the country, but by the lifestyle choices they make; so if you live in a city and dream of someday being able to work the land and becoming a modern homesteader, there’s no need to wait any longer because you can easily do many homesteading activities in the city.

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CamelliaCamelliaJune is an interesting gardening month and the shortest day and longest night is on June 21st, after which the days gradually start getting longer, but very slowly at first so that you hardly realise it. And in the warmer regions, after about three weeks, you will notice that many plants have already begun to grow again - spring in Durban starts in late July!  

If you live in the warmer subtropical regions of the country the temperatures are perfect for gardening now; so while the rest of us freeze, why not get stuck into your garden and implement all those changes you planned on doing this summer, but just never got around too.

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Asparagus. Picture courtesy Julie FalkAsparagus. Picture courtesy Julie FalkYou don't need a large garden to cultivate asparagus yourself, and all you need is patience, because although asparagus is easy to grow, it takes at least a year or two from the time you plant until you can start harvesting, but as the plant gets older, more and more shoots are available for harvest over a longer period of time. Asparagus is a perennial vegetable, meaning it will come back year after year on its own, and once you have an established asparagus patch, relatively little effort is required to maintain the plants. Because asparagus plants have a 10 to 15 year life expectancy, you will save a small fortune over the years on buying expensive asparagus from the supermarket.

Peace Lilies improve air quality.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019 14:40
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Peace Lilies can grow outdoors - Image by Adriano Gadini from PixabayPeace Lilies can grow outdoors - Image by Adriano Gadini from Pixabay

Peace Lilies are renowned for improving air quality indoors.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii) Peace lilies are one of the most commonly known houseplants in South Africa and also one of the easiest to grow and may be grown outdoors in frost free regions. The NASA Clean Air Study found that these plants are fantastic for improving air quality indoors because they have one of the top removal rates of toxic solvents like formaldehyde, ammonia, benzene and carbon monoxide.

Plant Blueberries

Friday, 05 April 2019 13:16
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Blueberry bush. Picture courtesy skeeze from PixabayBlueberry bush. Picture courtesy skeeze from Pixabay

Autumn is a great time to plant blueberries

Blueberries are sweet, highly nutritious and wildly trendy right now because they have the highest antioxidant capacity of all the popular fruits and vegetables; earning them the label “superfood.” They are also easy to grow if the correct soil conditions are met, are resilient against pests and diseases, and will provide you and your family with an abundance of fruit for many decades to come – so you really go can’t go wrong with blueberries.

Transplant evergreen shrubs and trees

Saturday, 30 March 2019 10:28
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Podocarpus latifolius Picture courtesy www.kazimingi.co.zaPodocarpus latifolius Picture courtesy www.kazimingi.co.za

Early autumn is the best time to transplant evergreen shrubs and trees

Early autumn is the best time to transplant evergreen shrubs and trees that are planted in the wrong place in your garden; whereas deciduous trees and shrubs are traditionally transplanted in mid-winter, when they have lost all their leaves and are totally dormant. As the temperatures drop in autumn, the day length decreases and plant sap slows down; thus reducing the shock and trauma that can occur when moving evergreen trees and shrubs which are actively growing.

Plant now if you want colour in winter

Saturday, 30 March 2019 09:07
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Tulips & Violas grow beautifully in potsTulips & Violas grow beautifully in pots

Give your garden a little attention in April and you will be rewarded with a riot of heart-warming flowers even in the dead of winter.

As summer slowly draws to a close we can feel a definite drop in the morning and evening temperatures, and as the trees change colour and the veld grass starts to dry up, we are reminded that winter is nigh. April is a wonderful month to garden and a busy month for gardeners in all regions of South Africa.

The last roses of summer

Monday, 18 March 2019 09:42
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Christof Lindequ. Picture courtesy www.ludwigsroses.co.zaChristof Lindequ. Picture courtesy www.ludwigsroses.co.zaThe last roses of summer are often the most perfect ones; and as the daytime temperatures drop, your roses will take on a new intensity of colour and unfading beauty seldom seen in hot weather. Their petals unfurl perfectly and they last much longer too. If the temperatures play along, you can have roses well into April and May.

Buy winter and spring flowering bulbs

Wednesday, 06 March 2019 12:25
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Babiana. Picture courtesy www.newplant.co.zaBabiana. Picture courtesy www.newplant.co.za

It's time to purchase winter and spring flowering bulbs

Winter and spring flowering bulbs are usually available from March and you don’t want to miss out on your favourites, so buy them early! March can still be extremely hot and the soil temperatures are still far too high to plant out bulbs; so store them in a cool, dark and dry place until the temperatures drop significantly in April, or even May.

Want glorious roses in autumn?

Monday, 25 February 2019 10:10
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Barley GoldBarley GoldGive your roses a little tender loving care in February and you will be rewarded with a breath-taking flush of blooms in autumn. As the weather cools down your rose bushes will produce long lasting blooms of the most intense colours. If you have not done so yet, replenish the mulch around the roots and water deeply and regularly every two to three days. Do not fertilise in February, but towards the end of the month feed with fertiliser that is high in both nitrogen and potassium like 5:1:5 or 3:1:5.

Using the colour wheel effectively

Friday, 22 February 2019 09:52
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Amazon Rose Magic Dianthus - Picture courtesy Ball Horticultural CompanyAmazon Rose Magic Dianthus - Picture courtesy Ball Horticultural Company

How to use the colour wheel effectively when designing your flower garden

When designing your dream flower garden, bear in mind that the colours you select will create a mood, and you can even change the perspective of your garden by using certain colours; so think about how you want to use colour, not only for the way you think it will look, but also for the mood you want to create in your garden.

It’s time to sow winter and spring flowers

Thursday, 21 February 2019 11:47
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Primula malaciodesPrimula malaciodes

In frosty & subtropical regions it’s time to sow winter and spring flowering annuals.

In cold winter regions which experience early frosts, gardeners generally start sowing seeds of slower maturing winter and spring flowering annuals in January and February; keeping them in a cool, shaded area until temperatures drop in late summer, before hardening them off, and planting out into the garden. In subtropical and humid regions, late summer, autumn and winter are the best times to plant a flower garden, and many winter annuals, as well as summer flowering annuals are sown during these cooler months. In other regions, many annuals can be sown into seedling trays now, but do not sow winter seeds directly into garden beds until the daytime temperatures have dropped significantly.

What to do in your veggie garden now

Monday, 18 February 2019 10:38
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BroccoliBroccoliUnless you live in the sub-tropical regions of South Africa, it’s too late to plant slow maturing summer vegetables this month, but in the cold winter regions it is time to sow many winter crops and to start preparing and planning your winter veggie garden. In the warm sub-tropical regions continue to sow seeds of vegetables that can be planted out into the garden once the weather cools down. Try sweet peppers, chillies, eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, baby marrows, Swiss chard, green beans and cabbage. In the cooler regions continue sowing winter vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and kohlrabi into seedling trays, for planting out in early autumn. If you started sowing last month, feed the seedlings with a liquid fertiliser that is high in nitrogen. In cooler regions it is also a good time to sow lettuce directly into well-prepared beds.

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