The Gardener Magazine April 2021

The Gardener is a monthly, national magazine dedicated to inspiring gardeners, providing practical advice and showing step-by-step garden projects. Our monthly features include garden design, in-depth plant features, growing vegetables and herbs, water gardening, garden wildlife and pets, specialist plant articles and much more. We have an extensive database on our website that is growing daily.

South Africa
Lonehill Trading (PTY) LTD
R 37
R 250
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min

Lobularia, scabiosa and siphilitica are not the names of sexually transmitted diseases, brain disorders or bacterial infections. No, these are the botanical names of some of our most beloved plants! (I’ll forgive you if you raised your eyebrows as you read the names, though!) Of course, there are the funny ones as well, especially in the common names of plants: Kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos), motherin-law’s tongue or elephant’s toothpicks (Sansevieria) and my all-time favourite, the delicious monster (Monstera deliciosa). This month Madison Moulton takes us on the amazing journey of plant names, also known as ‘Botanical Nomenclature’ – yip, another tongue twister. Usually these botanical names are really difficult to remember and pronounce, and if you ever wondered why on earth a plant was given a certain name, then look no…

3 min
warm colours for cold times

Tecomaria capensis ‘Orange’ Honeybees, butterflies and sunbirds will eagerly visit a flowering Cape honeysuckle for its sweet nectar, while insectivorous birds will fly in to feast on the pollinators, so there is always a show of garden wildlife in the vicinity of this large and sprawling indigenous shrub (3m x 3m). It is evergreen, wind resistant and will tolerate long periods of drought once established, but is unfortunately sensitive to heavy frost. Cape honeysuckle, which is available in yellow, apricot, red and salmon forms too, is fast-growing with glossy and neat dark green foliage and produces hearty flower spikes of tubular flowers at its stem tips, peaking in autumn and in spring. It is highly recommended as a hedging plant and responds very well to formal pruning, which can cause a gardener to forfeit…

4 min
a growing affair

Michael Hogan, retired interior designer, artist and potter, first moved into this northern Jo’burg property 30 years ago. He set about creating an acclaimed English-inspired garden filled with roses, pastel annuals and pretty perennials. However, about 10 years ago, with his roses succumbing to rose sickness, he decided that it was time for a change. “I was tired of the normal and mundane,” he explains. “South Africa has conformed to Eurocentric principles for far too long and I wanted to create something a bit offbeat, but that still had rhythm. I wasn’t looking for something peaceful and tranquil, rather a garden that filled with a restless energy; something almost unsettling that would inspire and invigorate me.” The only remnants from the original garden are the mature trees and a few large shrubs.…

5 min
the allure of lavender!

This herbaceous plant, a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, is so famous that its common name is even used to describe a colour. Most of us will associate the term lavender with a gentle shade of light purple that symbolises elegance, refinement, serenity, purity and luxury – the latter two probably due to the Latin word ‘lavare’, which means to bathe and to wash. One can just imagine how the conquering and decadent Romans bathed in bunches of lavender sprigs and flowers, draped their newly washed togas over the bushes to permeate them with the fresh smell, and stacked dried stems of leaves and flowers in dark corners to repel plague-infested fleas! It is believed that lavender originated from the Mediterranean, Middle East and India, and in today’s terms it…

7 min
what’s in a name?

Plant nomenclature and Botanical Latin confound new gardeners. That’s not hard to believe: the system is over 250 years old and is based on a language we hear very little of today – Latin (or Latinised words from other languages, like Greek). You may be tempted to avoid learning this convoluted structure by using common names or giving your plants pet names (after all, they are a part of the family). Unfortunately, you could face a few problems if you go this route: Firstly, the common names of plants are not universal, and some may have multiple common names. A bluebell in Scotland is not the same as a bluebell in England. So if you’re looking to discuss a plant with your pen pal on another continent, botanical Latin is the…

5 min
we get started!

We get our tank and start planting! Entering the aquatic world of aquascaping is a bit more complicated than starting container gardening, but hopefully we can guide you through the process as we learn from the masters. Here are the basics that you need to get started: Tank This goes without saying, but the very first thing you need is an aquarium or fish tank (or a fish bowl). Fish tanks come in a huge variety of sizes and even shapes, but the most commonly available sizes are 30cm, 45cm, 60cm, 90cm and 120cm. While you may think that it must be easier to start small, bigger tanks are actually easier because larger quantities of water are more stable than smaller ones. We started with a 60cm tank with a water volume of about…