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bird flowers garden

My Gardening Notebook

Due to popular demand, after selling out last year, the Constantia Valley Garden Club have updated, expanded and reprinted their ‘My gardening notebook – for Western Cape gardeners’, which was produced to celebrate the Club’s 30th anniversary last year.It is an interactive, monthly notebook for gardeners in the Western Cape filled with the tips, hints and garden know-how gleaned by their members over the years.

There are 8 pages dedicated to each of the 12 months. Each month has a colour page showing ‘what you can plant for colour’, two pages of quick tips and lists of tasks of ‘what to do and plant’ in the ‘flower’ garden, one for the ‘kitchen’ garden which is followed by a page of in season fruit and vegetable recipes. In between pages have been left blank for you to record reminders, successes and failures, plant list, tips from friends etc. At the end are reference pages crammed with information on rose and fuchsia growing, feeding your garden, planting by the moon, worthwhile websites and and an illustrated section on coping with pests. Charts of what vegetables to plant when and companion planting and an Index have been added making up over 150 pages.

At R100.00 (plus postage unless you can collect from Constantia) this also makes a wonderful gift , especially for young gardeners. Proceeds go to food gardens like Abalimi and SEED in Cape Town.

Contact Elaine 021 7156620 or Marianne 021 7156005.

Categories
flowers

Flowers have great health benefits

Perhaps flowers are the most underestimated gifts of nature when it comes to promoting better health for people. Whenever one visit sites that promote natural ways of healing what usually get the credit for improving a person’s well-being are plant roots, vegetables, and fruit. Flowers are generally treated as accessories, used  as displays to beautify homes, gardens, offices, and anywhere else they might be placed. However, studies have shown that flowers too are beneficial to people, especially to seniors.

Hydrangea_macrophylla_-_Hortensia_hydrangea

Benefits of Flowers to Health

A recent study, funded by the Society of American Florists, found that flowers had a positive effect on senior citizens. The test was conducted with a group of 100 volunteers with an average age of 73. The group was divided into two, one that received flowers and the other that didn’t. At the end of the study it was discovered that 81% of those who received flowers had decreased signs of depression, 72% scored higher in memory tests, and around 40% of them became more sociable and formed new bonds with others.

These results are backed up by research carried out by the Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, which found that merely putting fresh flowers at home made people less anxious and boosted their passion to work. In a way, these studies give sense to the fact that people give flowers to the sick. Perhaps subconsciously, freshly-cut lilies, orchids, or daisies really make people feel better. On the other hand, these studies also give insight as to why loads of white M&S Flowers are being ordered by men every year to console their significant other. Apparently, white roses are the universal symbol for truce between lovers.

Flowers Commonly Used in Making Medicine

Perhaps the studies’ results aren’t that surprising to practitioners of Eastern medicine. This is because flowers have long assisted doctors in curing sicknesses for thousands of years. For example, the oil obtained from sunflowers is still being used to suppress swelling of muscles and joints. On the other hand, chamomile is used for aromatherapy and its extracts are utilized to counter skin aging. In the end, no matter how flowers are used, one truth is that they’re very useful to people. Whether they’re used as ornaments to homes or substances for healing, flowers will always be an important part of human life.

Categories
flowers garden

Take a look at this beauty in my garden!

This beauty growing in my garden.

Cindy. Durbanville.

Categories
flowers

Hydrangeas advice

Hydrangea_macrophylla_-_Hortensia_hydrangeaHi there, I need help in getting my Hydrangeas to flourish. I also want to plant pincushion proteas along my driveway. Any advice?
And also, I’m looking for an ‘indigenous nursery’ somewhere in my area with is Pinetown, Kwazulu-Natal. Thanks guys.
Brenda

 

 

Categories
flowers garden

Plants in the City

_tmp_5234070f2a10f_geometry-650x650_v-When you’ve moved to the city from the country, you want to take a little piece of suburban to your urban. I moved from the suburbs early last year and mourned the loss of my garden which I had worked tirelessly on for many years. Jasminum, colchicum, tulips; chaotic and colourful. In bloom the garden was a wild rainbow and in winter she appeared more sombre but still striking in simplicity. I had spent hours working with the soil, trying different places, digging, watering, trellising. And let me make this very clear; as a landscaper by trade it is the equivalent of the taxman returning home only to have to process his own accounts. Sometimes it was a real struggle. Bereft, I left, city bound hoping that the new owners would cultivate and protect all my painstaking hours. The garden had been a hive of activity for various forms of life, a scene of splendour for both birth and death. In the evening the scent would drift gently into the bedroom window and wind its way around the marriage bed. The garden held special memories.

On moving to the city, I fretted over the possibilities that would be afforded me in terms of a garden. As a terminal gardener, the idea of not being able to wield my trowel out of working hours was too upsetting for words. I began to turn my obsession to scouring magazines and blogs on how the elusive city gardener survived in such an inhospitable environment. I knew that a number of friends had traditional ‘allotment’ style gardens that they kept and a number of my more wealthy contacts had the luxury of roof gardens but in my heart I felt it wouldn’t be the same. Or so I had convinced myself.

Six months later everything changed. 

Bereavement had made me blind to possibility and it wasn’t until I bemoaned one too many times about missing my suburban haven that a work colleague told me to create a garden indoors. “What?” I exclaimed. The idea was simple. Explore the possibilities for your indoor space and then look at indoor plants and balcony /window sill flowers. I became intrigued. The minute I started to sell it to myself as a surmountable diverse challenge my old obsession reared its glorious head and shook its mane. Suddenly a wealth of possibilities sprung to life like my once beloved suburban garden in the spring.

Vague memories of Andie MacDowell’s garden in the film ‘Green Card’ came to mind and I thought about what I could grow and cultivate. My first port of call was to investigate what I could grow. I had always fancied the idea of growing my own produce but had previously focused more on flowers and plants. I turned my keen eye towards fragrance and moved to the herb aisle of the garden centre.

Although the idea of weeds conjured up ideas of back breaking removal work, I liked the idea of having mint in the house. Its smell and uses are ubiquitous, opening the door to a wealth of opportunities. Bear in mind mint is a fast grower, an untameable beast, which is exactly why I liked it. I then moved on to placing other herbs that would perfume as well as provide in my kitchen sill boxes. The effect was immediately transformative and lifted the look and feel of the apartment. At the moment I have my mint, oregano, coriander and some rosemary. Alas my basil died – quite the tragedy but I do believe it is the season. My little herb garden near heaven.

My next target was indoor plants. I decided here to be ironic and mix a peace lily with Aspidistra or the Cast Iron Plant. My rooms aren’t awash with light so I have had to take this into consideration. These gorgeous girls now sit proudly in my living room and I couldn’t be happier. In my bedroom I decided to go with an indoor Chinese happy plant. And I can honestly say I am very happy with the plant! City gardening is more complicated and does lack the physical graft of the suburban expanse but it is incredibly rewarding. My plants are thriving and my mind is a matrix of what I can accomplish next. Looking forward to keeping you posted.

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My name is Greg Pyriot and I am the owner of covering ground a landscaping company based in Victoria. I have worked in the industry for over 10 years. Gardening is my passion and I live and die by my trowel.