Growing Your Garden With Lasher
I’m an African girl.
Sure the symmetry and absolutes of the Parisian-inspired gardens appeal to my inner organisation freak (I mean the sharp edges and hedges make me fairly salivate!, but at heart the things that make me happy are barefoot wanderings through a garden with slightly higher grass than would be expected in utopia, the sound of the bees taking leisurely flights between pollen pots, and the feel of the strelitzia berries being crushed underfoot.
There’s just one problem with this idyllic vision.
I have zero knowledge of how to create this kind of look! I can’t garden, heaven help even the occasional pot plant I am handed in the vain hope of actually keeping it alive. So as a total gardening beginner, I sought out a faithful gin drinking buddy – who has the most useful talent of turning anything even vaguely botanical into a flowering delight.
The secret to this type of garden often referred to as a meadow garden, is to go indigenous. Firstly if your thumb is less than green as a grasshopper, this type of garden is the easiest to maintain, so has the best chance of surviving your ministrations!
Then, of course, it’s important to consider that indigenous gardens are the most water-efficient, as the plants are used to living in the blazing sun of an African summer, and have adapted to using what water we do get, efficiently. We also love indigenous plants because they attract all the right wildlife that can add so much value to a natural garden. Take this into account when you are planning what you’re going to plant because the insects love the colours, and the bees especially love it when you plant the pollen-bearing flowers right next to each other.
One of the things I didn’t realise was that indigenous gardens are also a lot healthier than exotic ones. Because they are adapted to this climate, they need less assistance to flourish, which means less fertiliser, fewer pesticides and a more healthy garden.
So once you know you want to go indigenous, then you need to begin your planning. Outline your space and get a good feel for the area. Decide which plants and grasses you want to include, and don’t forget to consider the geographic area you are in and what works with your climate. For example, in the Western Cape you can plant resilient plants like indigenous perennials, while in KZN you need to consider the sheer speed at which plants grow and the humidity of the area. For a great resource on flowers that are and aren’t local take a look at this link, https://www.randomharvest.co.za/South-African-Indigenous-Plants and always remember your daisies! You can’t possibly have a meadow without lashings of beautiful daisies!
While you are planning, consider the height of each of the plants, flowers and grasses as well as the colours, and how the plants will move in the breeze. Think about walking from one side of the garden to another and the story of colour or texture you will tell with the garden. Remember that large clumps of the same plant or grass planted together will make a great visual statement – certainly more so than if they are planted alone. Don’t forget that sneakily positioned benches are an important part of meadow gardens so plan those in as well. Tall plants at the back, short at the front! Try to factor in lots of different colours, and get a spread of plants that flower at different times of the year. That way you will always have something beautiful going on, regardless of timing.
So you have your plan! You have your list of plants, veges, herbs and benches so how do you start?
So here’s the genius of indigenous! You need no special prep! You don’t need to dig up half a metre of the top layer of the garden either! Indigenous plants are extremely forgiving.
Do some light loosening of the soil, mix in some natural compost or fertiliser from your local riding school (if you can), or your nearby nursery. Do your planting and give it a light sprinkling of water.
Apparently – according to my green-fingered friend – that’s pretty much it! Apparently, all we need to do now, is watch and wait and let the South African sunshine, rains and incredible soil do their work.
In the meanwhile I’ll be sitting on my deckchair, sipping my pink gin and contemplating the buzzing of the bees that I know will fill my beautiful garden in no time at all!
When planting and working in my soon-to-be-beautiful garden. We only use the best most fabulous and of course light tools for the job made in South Africa.
Lasher Tools is not only the leading manufacturer and supplier of quality hand tools in the Gardening, DIY, Agriculture, Construction and Mining Industries in South Africa, but they are also the only local manufacturer of hand tools.
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