Dear Indigenous Enthusiast
Isn't it great to have passed mid-winter? I always find it incredible just how quickly the quality of light changes and becomes brighter. Bright or not it has been freezing - even I have to take my courage into my hands to go out into the nursery at 7.00am, Brrrrrrr.
The Weavers are going crazy at the feeding station outside my office at the moment. They are giving us such a lot of pleasure watching them fatten up for breeding season which will start in the next few weeks. Some people will be dreading them starting to strip the gardens.
The solution is to give them something they will choose above all else for nesting material. Grasses are the answer especially Miscanthus capensis - Dabagrass. This is a robust tall grass that in itself is very decorative. The tuft grows to about 70cm and the flowering stems up to about 1.5m and develops beautiful autumn colours. It will tolerate about a half day shade and also grows well in a container.
So rather than dreading these gorgeous, active little birds take pleasure in watching them strip the grass and build their intricate nests.
TREE MONTH - ALL TREES LESS 10%
All the activity going on reminds me that it is time to think about planting trees. In this spirit we are putting together a display of our top trees for selected uses i.e. trees for small spaces, flowering trees, fragrant trees etc. Collect your free tree uses pamphlet with lots of info to guide you around the display.
Over and above your 10% discount on the tree you purchase we are also offering a tree planting kit (1 Bag compost + 1 bag mulch + 2 Agriform fertiliser tablets + instructions on 'How to care for your trees') - for just R45.00.
PREPARING FOR SPRING
Through all this cold the thought of spring flowers helps to warm us up in anticipation. Start by checking your beds and make sure they are properly shaped as with edge trimming they become a bit scruffy over the year.
Preparing the soil is the most important part of planting new plants and the more care you take in preparation the more success you will have with your plants. Remember that all the leaves and plant debris lying in the beds are good organic material that shouldn't be removed. Add a good layer of compost and 2:3:2 fertiliser, and dig them in with the leaves and debris lying on the beds.
Try and remember where you planted your deciduous bulbs that are dormant and be careful not to damage them.
Order your bulk compost now to avoid the spring rush and having to wait for 3 weeks for delivery.
Plan your pruning, which you should start in the last week of July or early August. Are your saws and scissors clean and sharp - get all this done before you need them
Service brushcutters and lawnmowers - this avoids most breakdowns during the height of the growing season.
At the end of the month start watering your plants with Eco-T in case we have a hot spell which encourages fungi that can do more damage than the frost. Eco-T is a predatory fungus that will keep all the baddies in check. The price is just R70.00 and should last the whole season.
ACTIVITIES FOR THE CHILDREN
We have organised a few interesting activities for children.
A lovely sensory experience for your child. Let them create a picture by filling in a picture of a tree with - bark rubbings and choose from a selection of leaves to decorate the crown and branches of the tree. They can add their own special touch by sticking creatures on the tree.
To keep the little ones busy while waiting for their refreshments or while browse the nursery at your leisure.
A wonderful way for children to grasp the value of long-term conservation and the significance of a tree's age.
For just R15.00 we will provide a pot, soil, drainage stones and a tree seedling with a sticky label to put on the pot with the tree name. Your child will also receive an "identity' tag with some information from us and space for your child to record the height of the sapling each year as well as other information.
What beautiful pictures of a bagworm and butterflies Jeffrey took on the
Weeping Sage (E), Treursalie (A)
The fragrance and the butterflies and insects around this shrub is amazing and in the middle of winter make it even more special.
It is also very hardy and has a graceful weeping habit. It can be planted as a specimen but needs some pruning to keep it in shape. Planted in conjunction with B. saligna and B. salviifolia it ensures a long fragrant blooming season.
Size 2 to 4m - in Gauteng up to 3m S.A. No. 636.5
BULB SOCIETY MEETING
The bulb society will be meeting on the 16th July. Join in - it is free and you will meet friendly people who are interested and interesting. Enjoy tea and scones and listen to a speaker who is happy to share knowledge and information with you.
DISPLAY OF POTS BY CHARLES CRAIB
This display is only on for another 2 weeks. Come and marvel at the beautiful pots by Chris Patton that have been planted up by Charles to create unique and wonderful natural art.
ON THE FARM
Before spring is upon us take a walk around your garden and admire the architecture and bark of the bare trees. The branching patterns and stems are worth a look and take note of the beautiful shadows they cast in the low light.
I have a Celtis Africana (White Stinkwood) outside my bedroom window and seeing the silvery stems glow in the early morning sunlight, silhouetted against the royal blue sky is a privilege. The few seconds it takes to marvel at the wonders of nature set me up for a happy and positive day.
On the way to the dam I saw this Black Headed Heron staring intently at something in the grass. He was so engrossed he took no notice of me at all.
Slowly he stalked a creature in the grass and struck -missed -and marched off in disgust.
As breeding time draws closer for the geese there is a group of 3 who come marching through the nursery every day. The big challenge is to keep them out of the pond or if they do go for a swim we will never keep them out.
This has its own complications as they really mess the water and I don't want to have to empty the pond every week.
Nevertheless it is nearly that time of the year when we have the beautiful, fluffy babies running around.
Can you believe I heard a Burchells Coucal calling on Monday morning. I wonder if this means we are going to get early rains or he was just living in hope that the weather report was right and we would get some rain.
From Rosemary of the Herb Basket
Now is the time to start planning and preparing for your spring and summer food gardens. There are a number of things to take into consideration before you start, and especially for your kitchen garden.
EASY access being one of the most important things to take into account - close access to the kitchen that you can dash out for that sprig of thyme, bunch of parsley or lettuce and salad herbs for lunch.
Most soils are unfortunately depleted and need to be fed and generous amounts of humus incorporated - thus the garden can be created anywhere convenient, even in your flower beds.
Remember to include companion gardening and crop rotation into your plan, including the perennial plants. How about adding a fruit tree or 2, depending on space, to your plan.
You may be reusing the existing veggie garden or creating a new one. If upgrading an existing garden, remember, your crop rotation plan and to incorporate new compost and organic fertilizer. Water the beds and mulch and leave to settle before any new planting.
If creating a new veggie patch, remember; plan first to avoid heartache later. Location, easy access from the kitchen; at least 5-7 hours of sunlight - preferably morning sun; a tap or water supply. If you have pets, it would be a good idea to have the area fenced off to keep them out of your food garden.
Once you have decided on the site, and you have created your plan and layout of your food garden, half of the battle is won. There are a number of designs that you can use - double dug beds, raised beds, a square foot garden or 2, or a keyhole design.
There will be a booklet explaining these methods available at Random Harvest from Saturday - Priced at R25.00. The next step is to prepare the site, and the more you put into this step, the better the results, and the less work that needs to be done for the next few years (with the exception of feeding and mulching)
If you need any help, we are only too happy to be of assistance.
Call Rosemary on 084-625-2264
Well here is to spring and the new life in our gardens.
email [email protected]
For directions please go to our website www.rhn.co.za : or call 082-553-0598
Hours of business 8:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday (Closed Sundays)
Cottages 072-562-3396 : Nursery 082-553-0598
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