The Gardener Magazine June 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
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12 Issues

in this issue

3 min

Somewhere along my gardening journey I have become known as the ‘Hater of Roses’… Now now, before you all say out loud, “Yes, I too have heard this,” I need to tell you a little story. Here goes: Many, many moons ago while I was growing up, there were clear demarcated areas of the garden belonging to my Mom and to my Dad. There was an invisible line that separated certain areas of the garden, so much so that we would say, “Mom is in her garden”, “Dad is with his veggies”, and so forth. Naturally, we would spend time with both of them in their respective areas, especially if we needed an urgent answer to the question, “What’s for dinner?” Anyway, this laid the foundation to what we learned to…

2 min
masqueraders of grass…

Liriopes, commonly known as lilyturfs, are evergreen flowering plants which form thick clumps of grasslike foliage. They are unique groundcovers happily binding the soil with their fleshy roots and equally happy growing in full sun or shade. Liriopes will grow in most temperate climates and will fare quite well in hot and humid subtropical regions. They can also tolerate a fair amount of cold and frost. The soil type to plant them in is not critical, as long as it is enriched with ample amounts of compost and bonemeal to feed the fleshy roots. Water needs are on the medium scale and short periods of drought would not cause great damage, as the thick roots are able to store water. Plant in great swathes in sun or shade and feed…

4 min
garden galleria

Hellebore heroes You will never forget your dad, so spoil him this Father’s Day with something that will also never be forgotten – a hellebore plant! Hellebores have it all. They are evergreen perennial plants that are easy-to-grow, and winter-flowering. The flowers come in variations including fancy frills, exotic speckles, stripes, spots, delicately veined petals and breathtaking colours. They come in a captivating range of single, double or anemone centred flowers and colours vary from the purest glistening whites to all shades and hues of pinks, primrose-yellows, claret-reds, exquisite plum-purples, silver-slate black, and even apple-greens! Hellebore plants have an incredible diversity of flowers and are known for their robustness. The hellebore hybrids (orientalis) flower abundantly for approximately 3 months from July to September in South Africa. These long-living plants, often described as the…

5 min
soul oasis

IN BRIEF: Size of garden: 1Ha Style of garden: South African Eclectic Soil type: Ouklip and clay with pockets of granite and quartz Designer: Donovan Robinson, landscape architect from Nature and Beyond When Donovan and Leon bought their small holding in Mnandi, which means ‘nice’, ‘sweet’ or ‘enjoyable’ in isiZulu, there was only veld on the property. “We literally had grass growing right up to the house and just two trees, a Searsia lancea (rhus or karee) that was struck by lightning but survived and one small stick that grew into an acacia,” smiles Donovan. The Design Far from being intimidated by the immense task ahead, the landscape architect within Donovan relished the blank canvas that lay before him. “The design came to me within minutes on Women’s Day in 2016, and we’ve been building on it…

5 min
reducing leaf size

One of the most critical aspects of creating beautiful bonsai is reducing the size of the leaves. It is quite easy to see that the illusion of a miniature tree is enhanced by the presence of smaller, more numerous leaves rather than a few large leaves. Also, it is more beneficial to the tree to have numerous smaller leaves rather than a few large leaves because it will lose less moisture with many smaller leaves. Also, if some leaves get eaten by animals or insects, there will still be enough leaves left for the plant to survive. Actually, simulating the browsing of animals is one of the key approaches to reducing the size of the leaves. Nature produces in abundance, which means if some leaves are removed from a tree, the…

4 min
rewilding a case of letting go

A RE-ESTAB LISHED WILDERNESS CAN LOOK AFTER ITSELF Once we have helped to create the right conditions by allowing natural wild regeneration and reintroducing species that have disappeared as a result of our actions, we can step back and let nature manage itself. There is a new practice doing the rounds out there, and it bears the rather unapologetic and graphic title of ‘rewilding’. This daring practice is essentially about the restoration of nature in selected spaces. It is daring because it calls for total restraint, and while we may have heard this kind of mantra many times in bygone days, there is one essential factor that makes this movement different from the rest: in its purest form we are asked to do nothing! What this means is that to properly ‘rewild’ an area,…