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Gardening in South Africa

Sow African Daisy seed this autumn for an inexpensive, hassle-free riot of colour through winter and spring.

saflag  African Daisy. Picture courtesy Scott ParrishAfrican Daisy. Picture courtesy Scott ParrishThese indigenous flowers carpet the bare veldt of the south-western and north-western Cape and Namaqualand in spring, and the flowers are so prolific that the leaves are almost invisible when the blooms appear. Dimorphotheca are members of the large Asteraceae family, which includes asters, daisies, and sunflowers, and their daisy-like flowers will attract butterflies to your garden. They come in the traditional bright orange and yellow flowers as well as many pastel shades and pure white.

The African Daisy is used as low cover around shrubs or as the focal point in mass plantings. They also make beautiful borders, so sow them in mass into large borders, beds and rockeries for hassle-free winter and spring colour. These sun lovers will only open their petals in sunlight and remain steadfastly closed at night or on overcast days.

Flamingo flowers are very effective as a natural air purifier.

In spite of its exotic appearance the flamingo flower is surprisingly low maintenance and it’s not hard to care for as long as you understand its needs. Once you have the plant in the right soil and the right location, watering and feeding is simple. A well-cared for plant, whether it is in your garden or home, will reward you with wonderful, long lasting flowers for many years.  Just one plant can give a room a more tropical feel, so naturally, homeowners are adding this tropical plant to their outdoor rooms as well.

Tatsoi grows so rapidly that fully mature plants can be harvested in just 45 to 50 days!

TatsoiTatsoiIf you’re a fan of pre-washed, pre-packaged mixed baby greens, chances are you have come across tatsoi, and in many stores you can also buy whole plants. This beautiful looking Asian green will certainly grab your attention with its thick, lustrous green leaves which are spoon-shaped and arranged in a beautiful rosette of regular, concentric circles, and once you have sampled its soft creamy texture and subtle yet distinctive mild mustard flavour, you will certainly be hooked on this little plant.

Colour your garden warm this winter and spring.

Dianthus Bouquet Purple. Picture courtesy Ball Horticultural CompanyDianthus Bouquet Purple. Picture courtesy Ball Horticultural CompanyDoes your summer flower garden start to fizzle out as soon as the cooler weather arrives? If so, you need a new plan to keep your beds blooming, and one which doesn’t cost a fortune either! It’s very hard not to get carried away at the garden centre when confronted with all those trays of delightful flowering seedlings, but please take a deep breath and stick to your original plan. Also, remember that no prize-winning flower garden can be created in the first year and a bit of planning beforehand will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Cosmos is a lovely non-toxic flower which is recommended for children’s gardens and safe around cats and dogs.

Sonata Mix Cosmos. Picture courtesy Ball Horticultural CompanySonata Mix Cosmos. Picture courtesy Ball Horticultural CompanyCosmos are beautiful summer flowering annuals native to Mexico, where most of the species occur, as well as the United States, as far north as the Olympic Peninsula in Washington; and Central and South America, as far south as Paraguay. One species, the commonly called “Mexican Aster” (Cosmos bipinnatus) escaped gardens and naturalized itself across much of the eastern United States and eastern Canada, growing abundantly on disturbed land besides roads, and in fields and waste areas. It is also widespread over the high eastern plains of South Africa, where it was introduced via contaminated horse feed imported from Argentina during the Anglo-Boer War. In South Africa they flower religiously around Easter time, transforming open fields and roadways with their masses of flowers, and the flowering can continue until the first frosts.

Spanish priests grew cosmos in their mission gardens in Mexico, and it was their perfect, evenly placed petals which led them to christen the flower "Cosmos," the Greek word for harmony or ordered universe. Although there are 20 known species of cosmos, two annual species, the commonly called Yellow Cosmos (Cosmos sulphurous) and the Mexican cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) are most familiar to home gardeners, and easy to tell apart.


Gardening in the Shade

shade book

Growing Vegetables in South Africa

Growing Bedding Plants in South Africa

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