As we move into our final months of an extraordinarily dry summer, water restrictions remain top of mind for all avid gardeners in the Western Cape. Maintaining a garden with a limited water supply is an enormous challenge; yet it’s refreshing to see just how innovative gardeners can be when they’re put to the test. With clever water-saving and retention methods, and a shift in focus towards hardier, drought-resistant plant varieties, many of our green-fingered community have proven that it’s possible to maintain that all-important touch of green. Need more advice on how to do it? Pop into one of our branches and our staff will gladly share what they know.
SPOTLIGHT ON: SUCCULENTS
Succulents are the perfect plants for novice (or forgetful!) gardeners, as well as gardening aficionados. The name of the ‘kanniedood’ succulent (Afrikaans for ‘cannot die’) is a telling indicator of the hardiness of many of these plants; importantly, they require very little water, which makes them a great choice for both indoor and outdoor spaces when water is scarce. While there’s a vast abundance of succulent types, some species are easier to care for and more versatile in homes and gardens, among them the echeveria (rock rose), crassula (jade plant), cotyldedon (kanniedood), aloe and sedum (stonecrop) are a good few to try.
Succulents also make for wonderful, unique gifts. With Valentine’s Day looming, what better way to treat your favourite person than an everlasting gift that grows?
ON YOUR TO-DO LIST FOR FEBRUARY
Plant and sow:
Mulch, mulch, mulch:
Mulch is any substance that can be placed on the soil surface around plants to help keep the moisture in the soil. It’s one of the easiest and most affordable ways to save water in your garden and comes in both organic and inorganic forms:
Prune and divide:
OTHER FRESH IDEAS
Grow your own: Beetroot
Beetroot is one of those wonderful vegetables that grows easily, looks attractive and has a mammoth list of health benefits attached to it. Depending on the variety, beets are fairly drought-tolerant and grow best in partial or full sun. If you’re finding they need more water in the initial stages, put a bucket of water next to you in the shower and use your daily shower excess to keep them going!
Once harvested, beetroots can be eaten fresh or pickled and enjoyed months later. They are packed with vitamins A, B and C, among other minerals, as well as powerful antioxidants. And don’t forget the greens! Beetroot leaves are perfectly edible, and can be used as a lettuce substitute or cooked up as spinach.
For more tips on growing your own beetroot, click here.
Herb of the month: Oregano
Oregano’s pungent, zesty flavour is the star player in many Italian, Greek and Mexican dishes. It’s a hardy herb that loves the sun and well-drained soil, and makes for good ground cover if pinched and trimmed regularly.