5 Questions For Edrien Erasmus

5 Questions For Edrien Erasmus

Die Groenste Vingers is a reality competition series where 15 of the country’s top flower fundis compete to be crowned as having Die Groenste Vingers. Participants take part in different weekly challenges where they must each design and create unique floral arrangements, after which judges decide who will bloom and flourish, and who will wilt…

Edrien Erasmus Presenter

Edrien is a versatile South African singer, actress and writer with a zest for life. She started her career in the early 2000s with two independent solo albums, and her music has featured in several Afrikaans films such as Vir die Voëls and Aalwyntyd

She is well known in Afrikaans music theatre circles as a strong comic performer with a warm mezzo-soprano voice, and her musical theatre highlights include productions such as Ons vir Jou, Ester, Liefling die Musical, Droomkind and Aspoestertjie die Pantomime, to name but a few.

Edrien has also acted in various television series, such as Donkerland, Fluiters, Bloedbroers, High Rollers and Elke Skewe Pot, and fans would have also seen her make appearances in 7de Laan, Scandal! and, more recently, Binnelanders. She has also acted on the big screen in Vir die Voëls, Raaiselkind and Toorbos

Edrien cares about people and feels passionate about leaving the world in a better place than she found it.

My team recently sat down with Edrien Erasmus, presenter of Die Groenste Vingers, and asked her 5 questions, to learn a bit more about her.

You are dealing with a show where there are flowers and plants in abundance for the competitors to use. Do folks ever gift you with a huge bouquet on a special occassion, or are they too afraid to do it because they might think you will not appreciate it?

I love receiving a huge bunch of flowers and people that know me, know that the brighter and more colourful it is, the better!

Do you stealthily nab a cutting from somebody’s garden because you can not resist it?

I do, and try my best to keep it alive… I usually ask my Mom’s advice which is always the best. She has a very pretty garden.

Do any of you get stage fright when you have to talk on camera?

Even after doing this type of work for a while, I still get nervous when the cameras start rolling, but it gets easier with time.

Can you keep your house plants alive without stress?

I am sure that plants relate to one’s emotional state. When I am calm and serene, they grow well, but when I am stressed they battle a bit. I do try…

What is your favourite flower and why?

I am crazy about snapdragons (I use them to perform puppet show tricks) and daffodils, as they remind me of Alice in Wonderland. And then, definitely the beautiful sunflower. What’s not to like about them? 🌻

Catch season 2 of Die Groenste Vingers from Wednesday 26 October 2022 on DStv kykNET channel 144.

Fill Your Garden With Butterflies And Bees

Fill Your Garden With Butterflies And Bees

If your garden has seemed different in recent years, with that familiar buzz much quieter, the air less colourful and alive, it’s probably not your imagination. Bee and butterfly populations face alarming declines worldwide. That’s a scary thought, considering that most of the crops we eat rely on these (formerly) frequent visitors.

It’s true that no one person can single-handedly restore the monarch butterfly and reverse the honeybees’ downward spiral, but as we work on the larger issues at play, like climate change and widespread pesticide use, pollinators need safe spaces to feed and find mates. That’s where you come in: make your own yard a pollinator-friendly pit stop with a few simple fixes.

Why are bees so important?

Bees are such a precious part of our ecosystem, and there has been some concern about their well-being over the last few years. It is thought that certain pesticides as well as mass monoculture farming are playing a key role in weakening their immune systems, causing colony collapse, and declining numbers. Loss of habitat and urbanisation are also taking their toll. This problem is far more severe in the industrialised northern hemisphere but is starting to gain ground in South Africa too.

By making your garden a biodiverse haven, you can play your part in keeping the bees thriving as an indispensable part of our ecosystem.

Pesticides

It’s important to make sure that you are not using nasty pesticides in your garden that are known to contain bee-harming chemicals such as neonicotinoids. Read your labels – they usually contain acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, and/or thiamethoxam as active ingredients. Explore greener, healthier pest control options.

Plants that bees love

The most important step you can take is to plant a pollinator-friendly garden. Choose nectar- and pollen-rich plants such as vygies, rosemary, sunflowers, thyme, lavender, agapanthus and fruit trees.

Some more bee-loving tips

  • Bees are especially attracted to purple, violet, blue, blue-green, yellow, ultraviolet, and white flowers, and they prefer scented flowers.
  • Plant flowers that bloom at different times of the year to keep the bees well fed year-round.
  • A bee bath needs to be shallower than a bird bath – a shallow tray-like bath of water is ideal. You can also put some marbles in a shallow pan and fill it with water – that way the bees will have somewhere to land and drink.

Care for our Butterflies

If you want the privilege of these floating jewels in your garden, you’ll need to make peace with a few munching caterpillars, because that’s how butterflies start off. To encourage butterflies in your garden means you must allow for the larval stage too – your garden should serve as a sanctuary to nurture and protect the butterfly throughout the stages of its life.

Pesticides

Go lightly on pesticides and only use them when necessary, to give caterpillars a fighting chance as they are already pitted against plenty of natural predators. especially if you are creating a diverse ecosystem in your garden. Toxic pesticides can also get into the plant nectar that adult butterflies drink.

Plants that butterflies love

Our top picks to include in your garden to attract butterflies are Cape plumbago, Cape honeysuckle, butterfly bush, lavender, daisies and impatiens.

Some more butterfly-loving tips

  • When it comes to flowers, butterflies like colours ranging from blue to mauve, red, pink or white.
  • Some butterflies like rotting fruit such as bananas or pineapple, so leave some fruit from your fruit trees to rot on the ground as food.
  • They like to get some minerals from pockets of mud too, so a little mud puddle or two will be appreciated.

Bringing insects back into our garden

Let’s aim to bring back all the beneficial insects back into our garden and appreciate them for all pollinating services they provide. They buzzing of the bees and the colourfulness of butterflies definitely puts a smile on our faces.

Tips And Tricks For Hydrangeas

Tips And Tricks For Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are like the spring’s pompom, cheering on the season. Blooming from spring to autumn, this flower is so beloved that it even has its own holiday! Hydrangea Day is celebrated on January 5th, which is perfect since it is a time of year when the beautiful Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer‘ is in full bloom!

If you are looking at growing your own hydrangeas at home, read the following tips and tricks on how to plant and care for them, particularly the Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’:

Appearance

Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’ is a deciduous shrub growing in a rounded shape. Its glossy, dark green leaves range from 10 – 20cm long, and its stunning blooms are showy mopheads nearly 20 – 25cm in diameter.

You can choose from a range of colours, depending on the alkalinity or acidity (pH) of your soil. Starke Ayres Acid Loving Plant Food is a good fertiliser to help you regulate the pH levels. Shades range from deep blue to vivid lavender and from soft mauve to rose pink, depending on the .

Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’ is compact, growing 1.5m tall and 80cm wide.

Planting

Autumn or early spring are the best times to plant Hydrangeas ‘Endless Summer’, since you want to give them time to establish a healthy root system before the blooming season begins.

Choose a sheltered planting site that receives partial shade – ideally, sun in the mornings and shade in the afternoon. Before planting, decide what colour Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’ blossoms you want.

Dig a hole twice the width of your ‘Endless Summer’ root ball and roughly its depth. You want your plant to be just slightly higher than the level of the surrounding soil.

Begin to backfill the hole with soil. Stop halfway and pour water into the hole until it rises to the top. Once it drains away, finish filling in the rest of the soil.

If you’re planting your Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’ plants as foundation plants, space them 2.5m apart from each other, measured from the centre of the plants. For a garden border, space them out 1m apart.

Growing conditions

‘Endless Summer’ actually enjoys partial shade to full sun and is able to bloom on both old and new growth from spring through summer or early summer to autumn, depending on the climate of your area.

Sun and shade:

‘Endless Summer’ thrives in partial shade, or roughly four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day. It’s best if it receives sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon.

Soil:

‘Endless Summer’ can grow in a range of soils but needs moisture to flourish. The key thing to remember about soil is that the level of acidity or alkalinity will determine the colour – from blue to purple to pink. For a bluer shade, make sure your soil is acidic. For pinker, amend it to more alkaline, as needed. For bluer blossoms, you can adjust your soil with sulphur. If you’re more interested in bold pinks, adjust it with lime.

Watering:

You should water your ‘Endless Summer’ routinely each week, up to twice a week during the hotter months.

Fertilising:

Fertilise your ‘Endless Summer’ once in spring or summer with a specially formulated fertiliser, such as Starke Ayres’ Hydrangea Food or Acid Loving Plant Food.

Pruning:

You do not have to prune your ‘Endless Summer’, because they can bloom on both old and new growth. However, you should trim any dead, dying or diseased branches when you notice them.

Happy hydrangeas makes for a happy gardener

Be sure to follow these easy steps for happy Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’ plants. They will keep blooming for you to enjoy! Buy your ‘Endless Summer’ hydrangeas in all the colours at Plantland.

Encourage Your Kids To Garden

Encourage Your Kids To Garden

Gardening is a terrific way to get children involved with nature. It has the power to teach kids about the beauty of flowers and vegetables, whilst also teaching them valuable life lessons like patience and self-confidence. It equips them with critical skills that can help them in other areas of their lives.

Below are some of the main benefits children can experience by helping in the garden.

Engage all the senses

With gardening, kids can touch and feel the dirt, seeds, flowers and leaves, see the vibrant colours and varied sizes of the plants, hear the sound of the vegetable when it’s taken from the plant, and smell the amazing scents of the flowers. Allowing all the senses to be involved helps kids understand and grasp the concept of gardening and, in turn, teaches them to appreciate nature.

Encourage healthy eating

Getting children to eat their fruits and vegetables can sometimes be a challenge. When they are involved in every step of the process, however, they gain an interest in eating them too. Even the pickiest eaters won’t be able to resist trying veggies they’ve grown themselves!

Enhances fine motor development

Gardening and fine motor skills go hand-in-hand. In the garden, children must move around a lot to tackle tasks like watering, fertilising, pruning, digging, weeding and bending. As kids do these tasks, they develop important motor skills that will help them improve their academic skills such as writing, cutting and typing.

Develop social skills

Gardening can be a very sociable activity, especially in schools. Children can learn to work together and will enjoy discussing different types of flowers and plants, and the process they have carried out to plant their seeds. Gardening presents wonderful opportunities for children to bond and help each other look after and nurture their plants.

Teach responsibility and patience

Kids learn that they must take care of their seeds each day for them to grow into healthy plants. They will quickly learn they get out what they put in; if the plants aren’t regularly watered and taken care of, they won’t flourish.

Gardening is a great way to teach responsibility, but it is no overnight process. Kids are used to immediate gratification; however, gardening is often a slow process. They must learn to be patient when waiting for their flowers and vegetables to grow.

Enhance the ability to plan and organise

For those that garden regularly, you understand that planning and organising a garden can be time consuming and somewhat of an art form. You must know which flowers bloom during whoch time of year, how long it takes a seed to turn into a vegetable and when is the best time to plant your seeds.

Involving kids in this process helps increase their planning and problem-solving skills. It also enhances their organisational strategies, which can be carried over to every facet of life!

Highlight the importance of taking care of the environment

When children garden, they realise how important it is to take care of the Earth if they want their garden to grow and produce healthy plants. It creates the perfect opportunity for parents to talk to their kids about concepts such as pollution, pesticides and recycling.

There are so many activities you could try with your kids, to get them back into nature. Plantland has a cool Little Seedling club that you can sign up to, which sends you a box filled with gardening goodies each month, for you as a family to enjoy!

It is important to get our kids back into nature for a healthier and happier home.

Visit Thanks Plants for more.

How To Cut Flowers And Use Them Indoors

How To Cut Flowers And Use Them Indoors

While your garden is peaking and is filled with vibrantly coloured flowers during spring, it is precisely the right time to create a stunning bouquet from the fruits of your labour, so that you can enjoy the sights and smells of the garden inside your home. It only takes one gusty wind or heavy summer rain to destroy your beloved blooms anyway, and cutting guarantees that at least some of your flowers will be spared that cruel fate! Another reason to cut your flowers is that it encourages more flowering on your plants throughout the summer months and even into early autumn.

Read and follow the following tips and tricks on how to cut your garden flowers and use them inside your home:

When to cut

Early morning is the ideal time to cut fresh flowers, when the flowers have had the benefit of cool night air and morning dew. Their stems are filled with water and carbohydrates, meaning that they are firm to the touch.
When harvesting, have a bucket of water on hand to immediately put the flowers into. We suggest using a plastic bucket rather than a metal one because metal can affect the pH balance of the water.

Different types of flowers must be harvested at different stages in their development. Cluster flowers with multiple buds on each stem, such as an Agapanthus, should have at least one bud showing colour and one bud starting to open before being cut. If gathered too early (while they’re still tightly budded) these flowers will not open in a vase of water. By contrast, flowers that grow on individual stems, such as roses, should be cut when fully open.

Cutting tools and techniques

Always use clean, sharp utensils when cutting flowers. Knives, clippers or shears can be employed, but never use ordinary household scissors! The gauge on scissors is set for paper or fabric, not for flower stems, which are bulkier. Using scissors will crush their vascular systems and prevent proper water uptake.

Cut all flowers about 3cm from the bottom of a main stem. Make the slice at an angle of about 45° as it will provide a larger exposed area for the uptake of water.

Water temperature

Use lukewarm water (between 37°C and 43°C) for your cut flowers to get the best results. Warm water molecules move faster than cold water molecules and so can be absorbed by flowers with greater ease. The objective is to get water and nutrients as quickly as possible to the head of the flower.

Preservatives

Using a preservative increases the longevity of cut flowers. To survive, flowers need three ingredients: carbohydrates, biocides and acidifiers. Carbohydrates are necessary for cell metabolism; biocides combat bacteria and are necessary for maintaining plant health, and acidifiers adjust the pH of water to facilitate and increase water uptake.

To make your own, use 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of household bleach and 2 teaspoons of lemon or lime juice.

Care of cut flowers in an arrangement

Here are some general rules that will help you make your cut-flower arrangements last:

  • Don’t overcrowd the flowers in the container;
  • Check the water level in the vase and replenish it frequently;
  • Flowers that go limp are not drinking well and need to be recut;
  • Always discard wilted blooms;
  • Keep flowers away from drafts, direct sunlight and ripening fruits.

A Garden with Fragrance

A Garden with Fragrance

There are few things nicer than walking in your garden, soaking up the sun, smelling all the different fragrances of the flowers and hearing the bees humming away. One specific plants comes to mind when picturing this image, and it is the lovely Lavandula dentata ‘Elegans‘.

As they dance in the wind with their long dainty stems topped with a vibrant purple, we now understand why bees absolutely love these shrubs!

Lavendula dentata ‘Elegans’

A bushy shrub with fragrant dark green leaves and dark purple flowers from spring to summer, they love to be planted in the sun where they can cope with all the shine in your garden! The Lavendula dentata ‘Elegans’ grown by Malanseuns is excellent to use for cut flowers and can be used as pot-pouri as well.

When you think of planting lavender, don’t limit its use to garden beds bedding – use the lavender as a fragrant hedge in your driveway or try it in a beautiful pot on your patio to enjoy.

What benefits would you enjoy from this delicate perennial?

Lavendula dentata ‘Elegans’ is a very versatile plant that can be used for cooking, for decorating and for aromatherapy apart from using it in your garden. We would say yes to choosing this plant for all these wonderful reasons!  

Bringing the lavender fragrance indoors

Savouring the Lavendula dentata ‘Elegans’ in your food is a treat, from baking with lavender to savoury dishes or making a soft lavender ice-cream – lavender brings a floral-earthiness-minty type of flavour and aroma to food.  How delicious!

If you’re not sure how to use lavender in your food, always choose to use it sparingly because its scent can be a little overwhelming, like vanilla. We suggest to rather start mixing a little bit with your dish, along with other great pairing herbs such as thyme and rosemary, and as you get used to the taste explore with different combinations. You can use freshly picked lavender or ground dry buds that you can keep as spice in your cabinet, for you to explore with in the kitchen.

Easy chicken and lavender recipe:

We found this easy and delicious chicken recipe for you to try. Thank you www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com for this recipe! Enjoy readers.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 – 4 chicken leg quarters (or other chicken pieces)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
  • Several sprigs of fresh lavender leaves
  • 1 lemon, cut into slices, rind and seeds (mostly) removed
  • Seasoning of your choice, including freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Heat an oven-proof pan over medium heat, then add the olive oil and swirl around to coat the bottom of the pan.
  3. Fry the chicken till the skin is golden brown on both sides (not to cook the chicken, just to brown it).
  4. Remove the chicken from the pan, drain the excess fat, add the wine and honey, and swirl around to deglaze the pan.
  5. Arrange the chicken pieces in the pan, sprinkle with pepper and other seasoning, then sprinkle with lots of lavender leaves and add the lemon slices on top.
  6. Set the pan in the oven and set a sheet of aluminium foil on top for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove the foil and let cook for another 20 – 25 minutes or until the juices of the chicken run clear when poked with a knife.

Add some fragrance to your garden

Next time you visit Plantland, remember to add the Lavendula dentata ‘Elegans’ to your trolley: you will be amazed as to all the astounding things you can do with this perfect lavender.

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Patio Gardening To Suit Your Needs

Patio Gardening To Suit Your Needs

By: Nolo Ndhlovu

Absolutely anyone can master patio or container gardening. These are words that will make beginner gardeners dance with joy, especially if you know nothing about gardening!

Most plants aren’t finicky about the type of pots you plant them in; you must simply remember to give them space to spread their roots.

Container or patio gardening is a benefit for everyone – those with enough land to grow a beautiful garden with pot plants placed in a shaded area as well as balcony gardening for those who have limited space but would like to create a beautiful quaint plant-filled portion.

Benefits of patio gardening:

Versatile gardening

One of the biggest reasons why patio gardening is popular is that the pot can be moved around. Just imagine placing a pot of rosemary right outside your kitchen – culinary convenience at your doorstep. When you’d like to move it, it’s as simple as picking up the pot and moving it to its new space.

Low maintenance

Plants in containers require less maintenance, as there is a smaller area to tend to attention than a garden bed. Patio gardening is great for beginners because it requires also less care and attention, as it is easy to control the quality of the soil in the pot, which helps to control disease and insect pests.

Be creative

Container planting allows for maximum creativity. There are all sorts of pots you can buy, with different colours, patterns and textures for you to choose from. If you really feel creative, you could take it a step further and paint an old terracotta pot to look like a face and then plant a carex so that it has ‘hair’.

Patio gardening does require a little work

It is true that a patio garden is much easier to care for than a garden, but it requires more watering as the plants dry out faster. Luckily, Starke Ayres new Hydrocache water-retaining gel offers a great solution to get around this problem.

Also remember to fertilise your planted pots for them to get all the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy.

Get started with patio gardening

First, you will need to assess the amount of space you have for the plants you plan to grow. This will help you visualise your garden and make your trip to a Plantland garden Centre much easier.

Also consider choosing plants that pair well together; this will benefit plant growth as time goes by. We say it is best to pair plants with similar needs to make the care process so much easier– pack them together!

For more tips and advice visit us at Plantland.

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Using Herbs When Cooking

Using Herbs When Cooking

How many times have you walked past a house in a lovely neighbourhood, and all you could smell was the aroma of the food being cooked that almost makes you feel like asking for a seat at that dinner table. It is as if the herbs and spices they’ve used are calling you, and your stomach begins to growl.

We don’t know about you, but we always aim to fill our homes with the comforting smell of food, and we also know for sure that fresh herbs add extra love and delight to any meal.

Benefits of growing your own herbs

Fresher tastes

Fresh herbs in your garden mean meals packed with much more flavour. There is nothing that can beat the fresh taste in your infused water or the stew you plan to make for Sunday lunch.

Adds variety to your meals

Having a broad variety of fresh herbs allows you to experiment with different flavours. When you are looking at doing a leg of lamb, the best herbs would be thyme, rosemary and even a little basil. We bet you can smell it already!

Antioxidants

Herbs are a good option when looking at living a healthier lifestyle. Most herbs are packed with antioxidants that help to clean your liver.

Relieves stress

Tending to your own herb garden will help you get rid of the stress built up during the week, being one with nature and learning about the benefits the different herbs have to offer.

Start Simple

Growing herbs from Starke Ayres seeds is good for intermediate gardeners who know a little more about sowing seeds and the requirements, and there is the wide variety on offer by Starke Ayres. There is also an option to choose from Plantland’s seedling varieties, which enables you to plant a seedling that has gone through all the growing pains and is ready for you to enjoy. Herb seedlings are good to start off with if you are a beginner gardener.

Choosing the perfect pot

It helps to know where you want to plant your herbs; by your kitchen windowsill or in pots outside your kitchen, or wherever would work best for your needs and setting. Once you have the perfect spot for your herbs, you will need to pick the perfect pot. We absolutely love the Tuscan style a terracotta pit gives, or if you are more a herb-crate type of gardener, Plantland has all the styles you could dream of! If you are creative, you could always create or paint your own pots. There are endless possibilities.

Introduce herbs to your everyday lifestyle

Whether you are a beginner herb lover or an expert herb gardener, we encourage you to explore with herbs. Use them in your teas or when you cook, and you will have a whole new culinary world to escape to.

When you’re ready to buy herb plants, check Plantland’s online store where you can shop for your favourite herbs from convenience of your own home.

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Planting Trees For The Future Generations

Planting Trees For The Future Generations

It’s that time of the year again where the green industry plays an important role in reminding people about the importance of planting trees.

Arbour Week has been celebrated since 1800, founded by two lovers of nature, husband and wife team Julius and Carrie Sterling Morton. They were distressed by the lack of trees in Nebraska and quickly planted trees, shrubs and flowers in their own garden to start out with. Soon the trend followed.

“Trees were needed as windbreaks to keep soil in place, for fuel and for building materials, as well as for shade from the hot sun,” says daff.gov.za

Plant a tree

It is the year 2021, and we are still encouraged to plant trees for reasons that will remain pertinent forever. It is said that you do not plant a tree for yourself to enjoy, but for the enjoyment of future generations. Therefore, it is important to make sure that we have trees standing and providing us with shade for generations to come.

Trees are important to us for the following reasons:

  1. Trees help to hold soil in place and prevent soil erosion.
  2. Trees are an important habitat for wildlife; some animals spend their entire life living in trees and others depend on the forest for survival.
  3. Trees feed us – just think of all the nutritious fruit and nuts we pick from trees.
  4. Trees help increase property value by 5% ,or even higher depending on the size of the tree.
  5. Trees help with saving energy by providing shade in summer and blocking strong winds in winter, therefore saving us energy we spend trying to cool and heat our spaces.
  6. Trees help reduce loud noises in urban areas when planted strategically.
  7. Some trees provide medicine for our use, such as tea tree and moringa trees.

The list of benefits from trees is much longer than these 10 point, such as how they help to regulate local water cycles by holding the water, therefore preventing flooding and maintaining water vapour in the air!

How to plant a tree

Plantland has a wide selection of trees available to choose from. You can choose indigenous trees or deciduous trees, flowering or evergreen. Just make sure you choose a tree you will enjoy looking at for years to come.

Tree planting procedure:

  1. Dig a hole twice the height and width of the container of the tree. Fill the hole with water.
  2. Mix the soil with a nutritious soil (like Malanseuns Compost) and add some bonemeal to the mixture to ensure healthy root growth.
  3. Remove the tree from all packaging and place it in the hole, then fill up with soil to the top of the tree roots.
  4. Press down firmly to ensure the tree is stable. Build a dam around the hole, to make sure the water will drain to the roots when watering.
  5. Water your tree thoroughly twice a week until the tree can sustain itself.
  6. Fertilise with 2:3:2 fertiliser when needed.

Trees are good.

Planting trees, even just one or two, can make a huge difference. Trees are our lifeline to cleaner air and a healthier environment as trees improve air quality by producing oxygen. We need trees now more than ever! Teaching our children from little to appreciate trees will do the world good. View our wide range of trees on plantland.co.za or in store