Whether we have a window box or a smallholding, we can all contribute to the protection of local species. Add  indigenous plants whenever you can – and try to get your neighbours and neighbour’s neighbours to do the same.


What to plant now

Three native species to dig right now…



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Edging Lobelia, Garden Lobelia or Trailing Lobelia is a very popular border, basket and filler plant – grow year round in all climates – it’s known for its attractive displays of tiny mauve, pink, blue, violet and white flowers.



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Begonias are frequently showy and large, white, pink, scarlet or yellow in colour and most will grow and flower year-round. Begonias enjoy warm temperatues, do well as house plants in winter in colder places, and prefer bright shade. Easily grown from cuttings and slips, there are numerous hybrids and variations. Because of the great numbers of interesting forms, begonias appeal strongly to collectors.



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An attractive, evergreen succulent shrub, hedge, or small tree with small round succulent leaves and red stems, the porkbush (Portulacaria afra) requires very little water and has small star-shaped pink flowers which are borne en masse from late winter to spring. They are a rich source of nectar for many insects, which in-turn attracts insectivorous birds. Porkbush is also a great soil binder (for preventing soil erosion) and effective in carbon sequestration (binding atmospheric carbon which is responsible for climate change).


Take a crack


5 Ways to use egg shells in your garden from

Egg shells are chock full of calcium, and so they are the perfect product to use on your garden plants. While most people toss their egg shells away, savvy gardeners know that they are their best friend and use them in a variety of ways. Take a look below at 5 ways to use egg shells in your garden that are both frugal and simple. You will never look at egg shells the same way again.

  • Ways to Use Egg Shells in Your Garden
  1. Use egg shells as free seed starters.
    Start your seeds in egg shells, which will provide them a nutrient rich place to grow and thrive. Simply take half an egg shell, poke a small hole at the bottom, and fill it with soil. Add your seed or seedling and water as usual. You can then place the entire egg shell into the ground when the plant is stable for transplanting.
  2. Give your compost some “egg shell punch”.
    Make a special punch for your compost to sip on that is full of calcium! In a blender, mix your egg shells, a little water, and about 1 ½ cups of vinegar. Pour the punch into your compost pile to give it a boost.
  3. Make your own nutrient rich fertilizer.
    Plants, especially roses, love the nutrients that egg shells provide. Save your egg shells and when you have a handful of them, crush them into a fine powder. You can place them in a plastic bag to do this easily and with little mess. Add the leftover coffee grounds from your morning brew and mix the two ingredients together well. Then, simply sprinkle the powder at the base of your plants and water as usual.
  4. Keep bugs at bay.
    Bugs such as slugs and snails hate egg shells. They won’t want to climb over the sharp edges and will steer clear of any area that has shells in it. Place your roughly broken shell pieces around your delicate plants. They will act as a barrier keeping your plants safe.
  5. Stir some into your soil.
    Give your plants a healthy start by adding crushed egg shells to your potting soil and potted plants. The shells will continue to break down and feed your plants for weeks. It is just like adding a slow release fertilizer to the soil.

Going potty


Nearly all herbs can be grown in pots and containers. Here are a few golden rules from Di-Di of the SA Herb Academy.

9 Tips for Growing Happy Potted Herbs

Growing herbs in pots is amazingly easy and productive. Most herbs do exceptionally well in pots if you get a few basics right.

  1. Don’t overdo it. Keep your initial attempt manageable by opting for a few useful herbs. The “Magnificent Seven” are all easy to grow and make good beginner subjects. What’s more, they can be used in a variety of dishes and remedies. They are: basil, chives, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme. And if you like fragrant herbs, consider lavender or lemon balm as well.
  2. Choose a nice sunny spot for your potted herbs.  This will improve their flavour and nutritional value. In addition, they will be able to resist pests and diseases better. It doesn’t need to be full sun. Herbs in pots do better when they get a little shade. Try to find a spot that will get at least two hours of direct sunlight a day.
  3. Make sure that the containers you choose are deep enough (at least 30cm), and that there are sufficient drainage holes. Don’t line the bottom of the containers with small stones or gravel. This can hinder rather than help drainage. If you are concerned that the pots may ‘leak’, rather line the bottom with an old stocking or newspaper.
  4. A high quality organic potting medium is a must. Ask your local garden centre for a recommendation.
  5. To grow your own herbs from seed, or to start with seedlings, can be quite a lengthy and time consuming process. It is much easier to buy potted herb plants directly from your garden centre, and to transplant them into bigger pots.
  6. Try to resist the temptation to grow more than one herb in a small container. Just like humans, herbs don’t like overcrowding and they prefer familiar company.
  7. Water your herbs regularly, but do not over water! Herbs hate having wet feet. Don’t let them wilt, or suffer regular dry spells either. Try to maintain a balance. Press your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle. If the soil feels dry, water the herb. If the soil is moist, wait until the next day to water.
  8. Use a good quality organic fertiliser and feed your herbs on a regular basis. Herbs grown in pots prefer a lower dose – about half the recommended strength – once a week. The nutrients in a water soluble fertilizer are easier for plants to ‘digest’, and it saves time as you can feed your plants whilst watering them.
  9. Use your herbs as much as possible and prune them regularly. This will encourage bushy growth.


Small garden?


Free up your space with these three hacks

Vertical Trellises


A basic trellis and a few hanging planters (how pretty are the silver buckets?!) turn a basic exterior wall into an elegant vertical garden and the perfect backdrop for outdoor entertaining!


Tin Can Alley


Create a privacy barrier between you and your up-close-and-personal neighbours with this palette and coffee can garden. It provides fresh greens and serves as an artful property divider in one!


Mason Jars


A beautiful mason jar herb garden is easy to make and can be hung up anywhere there’s sun, inside or outside the home.

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Work station

Take your garden to work


Superbalist is one of our favourite online stores. Sometimes it’s our hunting ground for home décor and a few new wardrobe essentials. But mostly, we love all the innovative treasures you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else, like this concrete desktop planter to bring some life to your workspace. R499. Details:

Water-wise gardening


How about…

Planting mint


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A refreshing, cooling herb for food flavouring, good digestion, relieving anxiety and fatigue, as well as acting as a natural insecticide. Mint likes moist, rich soil and partial shade and there are many types to choose from. Liquorice mint produces spikes of powder blue flowers, irresistible to butterflies. It is a hardy and drought-tolerant feature plant that can hold its own in any mixed border.



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