Essential Tools, Gadgets & Items For Propagation

Essential Tools, Gadgets & Items For Propagation

While all gardeners love a long trip to the nursery, we don’t always have the time or money to buy the masses of plants our heart’s desire. Luckily, there is one essential gardening skill that eliminates that problem altogether – propagating.

Although it may sound tricky, growing new and healthy plants from scratch is easier than many think, taking only a couple of minutes out of your afternoon. With the right tools and gadgets, the process is made even easier. Invest in these essential tools to grow more plants than you know what to do with.

Clean and Sharp Secateurs

One of the first tools any gardener needs in their arsenal is a high-quality, sharp pair of secateurs. Whether trimming herbaceous houseplant cuttings or hardwood cuttings, or even just pruning plants around the garden, this is one tool on the must-have list.

The Tramontina Bypass Pruner is made of durable materials, including Chrome Vanadium alloy and die-cast aluminum, that ensure they will last for many years of propagating. They do require some upkeep, including regular cleaning and oiling, but they will reward you by making the process of propagation as smooth as possible.

Propagating Mix

As any gardener knows, soil is a vital foundation for growth that has a huge impact on the success of your plants. Newly propagated cuttings require a light and well-draining soil mixture to provide little resistance to root growth while holding enough moisture to encourage root growth.

A combination of perlite, vermiculite and palm peat is perfect for this purpose. While the palm peat retains enough moisture without weighing the mixture down, the perlite and vermiculite improve drainage and aeration to deliver oxygen to the roots.

Mix them together in a ratio of two parts palm peat to one part perlite and one part vermiculite for the ideal propagating mix for a range of plants.

Rooting Hormone

Whether you’re growing softwood or hardwood cuttings, rooting hormone is guaranteed to increase your chances of success. The active ingredient 4-Indole-3lbutyric Acid (IBA) stimulates root growth and speeds up the process of propagating.

There is a specific rooting hormone for each type of cutting:

Make sure you use the right type for your chosen cutting. Simply place some of the powder into a separate container (to avoid contamination of the main container) and dip the end of the cutting into it before planting.

Propagator

Cuttings require certain environmental conditions to grow roots – usually warm and humid. Since no one wants to stand next to their cuttings misting every 5 minutes to increase the humidity until roots develop, there is a handy gadget that does all the work for you – a propagator.

This Garland Small High Dome Propagator is perfect for growing cuttings or sowing seeds. With built-in drainage and a deep container, simply lay your propagating mix inside, pop in the cuttings, and cover with the lid. The hole at the top opens and closes as needed, providing airflow and preventing fungal growth.

With these wonderful gardening goodies, it will be hard to go wrong on your next propagating adventure.

How To Propagate Pilea peperomioides

How To Propagate Pilea peperomioides

Pilea peperomioides is an incredibly popular houseplant, beloved for its compact growth and interesting leaves that lend it many common names, including UFO plant and Pancake plant. However, it is most commonly known as the Chinese Money Plant after its native region and appearance.

If these indoor plants have become one of your favorites, there is an easy way to get many more of them at no cost – propagation. Pilea peperomioides is incredibly easy to propagate as it produces small offsets that simply need to be replanted whenever they appear.

Follow these easy steps to grow more Chinese Money Plants for free.

Step 1: Check for Offsets

Before you start propagating, you’ll need to determine whether there are any suitable offsets to propagate. This isn’t a difficult task – simply check for any new growth of gathered leaves that looks like a tiny version of the parent plant. They will typically pop up from the soil in spring and summer but they can also grow directly from the stem.

Suitable offsets should be about 5cm in length or larger. This ensures they have received enough nutrients from the main plant to survive on their own without additional support.

Step 2: Prepare the Soil

Pileas have succulent-like leaves that hold plenty of water. They prefer their soil to dry out before the next watering and can’t stand waterlogged soil. The soil mix should therefore be airy and well-draining to prevent rot and deliver oxygen to the roots.

Make your own specialized houseplant soil mix by amending potting soil with perlite and palm peat. The palm peat lightens the mixture and retains moisture while the perlite increases the spaces between soil particles, improving drainage.

Step 3: Expose the Roots

With all preparation done, you’re ready to start propagating. As your offset will more than likely start underneath the soil, you’ll need to expose the connection between it and the main plant for removal.

Gently pull away the top layer of soil, following the bottom of the offsets to where the roots are. This will give you a clear view of where to remove the offset without impacting the rest of the roots. Alternatively, you can check for offsets while repotting and remove them when the soil is completely gone before moving to the new pot.

Step 4: Remove the Offset

Using a knife, remove the offset from the main plant at root level. Make sure your knife is sharpened and cleaned with soap and water to prevent damage and the spread of disease. The cut should be as clean as possible to give your offset the best start at new growth.

Step 5: Replant

Fill a small pot with the pre-made potting mix up to a few centimeters below the rim. This will stop any soil from spilling out when watering. Make a small hole in the centre and bury the base of the offset, ensuring the stems are above the soil line to prevent rotting. Gently firm down around the soil to anchor the offset in place.

Step 6: Water

Once planted, water the soil to remove any large air pockets and encourage root growth. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged until the roots have established, then limit your watering.

Place the pot in a warm spot with bright indirect light. Once you spot new growth, you’re on your way to a mature, fully-fledged Pilea peperomioides.

Tips To Build A Spring Garden On A Budget

Tips To Build A Spring Garden On A Budget

Spring, the season of new growth, quickly becomes the season of more spending – especially for avid gardeners. Luckily, you don’t have to spend thousands for the perfect spring garden, especially if you’re a newbie gardener on a budget. There are many ways to start one that won’t break the bank. Try these tips for stunning spring blooms, without the extra cost. 

Plan, Plan, Plan

Restraint is difficult for all gardeners at the best of times. But it’s essential, especially when you’re on a budget. A good plan – and a modest plan – will ensure you stick within your budget while achieving your dream garden goals. 

A good garden plan helps you visualise what your garden will look like and betters your understanding of what your space has to offer, especially in terms of light, soil, and water. Knowing this stops you from excitedly splurging on tons of plants that won’t thrive in your garden anyway. 

Once you’ve got your plan, it’s time to pick some plants. A useful mantra for newbies and novices alike is ‘start small’. Pick a handful of plants with similar needs that suit your garden and see how they do. Gardening doesn’t have to be about instant results; it’s more about the journey to achieving those results. 

Plant Seeds 

The best way to save money is by planting seeds. Even though it takes a little longer, requiring a little more patience and some extra skill, you’ll save plenty of money and have healthier, happier plants. 

Planting from seeds gives you full control over growing conditions and the surrounding environment from the very beginning. This allows your plant to establish itself well in your garden from the get-go, saving you money and time on plant care. 

Many will consider the waiting a negative trade-off. But watching your tiny seeds grow into fully-fledged flowering plants is so rewarding. 

You don’t even have to spend a single cent if you’re considering planting seeds. Gather your own from the existing plants in your garden or get some from friends and neighbours. As your garden grows, it’ll be even easier to build your collection without spending any extra cash. 

Propagate 

Propagating is the most essential skill of budget gardening. Start with one plant, and end up with more than you could imagine.  You simply need one cutting from a friend or kind neighbour to get started. 

There are several ways to propagate different types of plants. Some plants grow shoots or plantlets that can easily be snipped off and re-potted. Others grow just as easily from leaf cuttings. Plants with nodes can be propagated by stem cutting, while those in clusters can easily be divided by separating the plant at root level. 

Recycle & DIY

Ditch the expensive terracotta pots, and the cheap plastic ones, by making your own. Anything can be a container, from old boots to teapots and even old furniture. Drill some holes at the base and you’ll instantly have a  quirky, unique plant container, for free. 

Always ensure your chosen container is big enough for your plant. Before you start, clean whichever container you do use thoroughly with some soap and warm water to get rid of any harmful bacteria.

Another recycling favourite for gardeners is composting. Composting is a great gardening practice that everyone can (and should) do no matter where you live or how much space you have. It’s great for the environment and it saves you money on store-bought composts. 

So many things can go in a compost heap, from garden waste to veggie and fruit scraps. Avoid tossing weeds and diseased plants in your heap, along with dairy and meat. It does take some time before its contents can be used as compost, but the wait is worth it, especially for gardeners on a budget. 

The Easiest Houseplants to Propagate

The Easiest Houseplants to Propagate

Plant propagation is a gardener’s ultimate skill. We all love our precious plants, so who wouldn’t want more of them? Indoor plant propagation in particular has become incredibly popular. Not only is it easy to do and completely free, but it allows you to grow an entire collection of the most loved plants around.

If you’re a new plant parent trying out propagation for the first time, these four plants will be your best friends. They are incredibly easy to propagate and cover all the houseplant propagation methods to give you plenty of practice before you tackle the harder stuff.

Leaf cutting

The first houseplant propagation method is leaf-cutting and for this method, look no further than the trusty Sansevieria. Also known as the snake plant, or mother-in-law’s tongue, this structural houseplant staple is almost impossible to kill and insanely easy to propagate.

While it can also be propagated by division, leaf cuttings give you far more plants in the end as entire leaves can be split into multiple cuttings. Simply remove a leaf, cut it into sections about the size of your finger, and stick the cutting in some succulent potting mix with the root direction facing downwards.  It’s that easy!

After a few weeks, when the cuttings show some resistance to being pulled, they can be transplanted into separate pots. Alternatively, save yourself that extra step and plant the cuttings in their final home.

Stem cutting

Climbing vines are ideal specimens for water propagation. You’ve probably seen them all over Instagram – glass test tubes or old bottles filled with stems and long, healthy root systems. The best plant to help you join this plant propagation club is Epipremnum aureum (also known as Scindapsus aureus, or more commonly – Pothos).

You’ll notice several nodes along the stems where the leaves emerge. Snip off a stem or two just below one of these nodes, removing any leaves closest to the node. Pop that end in a glass of water and leave in a sunny spot. Soon you will notice the roots forming, but leave the stems in the water until the roots are at least a few centimetres long. They can then be transplanted out into individual pots.

To keep the roots healthy and prevent any unwanted build up, replace the water every couple of days.

Plantlets

If the previous two examples sound like too much work, you can always opt for a plant that does all the work for you – Chlorophytum comosum (Spider plant). The Spider plant produces little plantlets along stems, also called pups or babies, that look just like a tiny version of the fully grown plant.

Remove any of the plantlets with a full node along the stem with a pair of scissors. You can either place the plantlet in water to watch the roots grow, or plant it straight into a pot filled with indoor potting mix. Spider plants can produce several plantlets on one plant, so you’ll only need one to get started.

Division

The final common houseplant propagation method is division. Many popular houseplants can be propagated by division, but one of the most popular is the ZZ Plant, Zamioculcas Zamiifolia. Although they are loved for their shiny structural appearance, their favoured trait has to be in the care department. These plants can withstand a little (or a lot) or neglect, and still look as staunch as ever, even if you forget a watering or two.

For this method, remove the entire plant from its pot and shake off the soil. You’ll notice a clumped root ball, which you can either cut in half, or into three depending on the size. Always use a sharp disinfected knife to prevent damage and disease. Plant the divisions into separate pots and they should shoot up some new leaves in no time.

General Yard Stuff To Make Your Garden Smile

General Yard Stuff To Make Your Garden Smile

There are always those gardening tasks we cannot get away from. A little bit of work will be greatly rewarded when the family pops around for the festive season.

Prune rambling roses, feed, water well and add a layer of mulch. Stake dahlias as they grow and keep disbudding them by removing the side buds to encourage large flowers. Cut back chrysanthemums to ensure bushier growth and lots of flowering stems in autumn. Mulch with fresh compost and water well afterwards. Keep spraying deciduous fruit trees against fruit fly.

To avoid blight on tomatoes and mildew on cucumbers, squashes and pumpkins, water them early in the morning to give the leaves time to dry off before nightfall. Give citrus trees their mid-season feed of granular fertiliser. Spread evenly over the drip line 20 – 30cm away from the stem. Mulch and water well.

Planting seed potatoes in December and January will produce a harvest in April and May for storing and eating during winter. Weed the garden. After weeding place a layer of organic mulch over every last inch of soil. Mulching not only saves water and your time when you’re desperately busy with other tasks, but will also provide a professional and well cared for look and will display existing plants to their best advantage.

Add swathes of gauras, angelonias, cupheas, lavender, Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’, bacopas, perennial verbena and pentas – none of these need excessive pampering or watering!

Large vegetables (tomatoes, brinjals, squashes etc.) should be watered deeply twice a week while seedlings and shallow-rooted veggies (Swiss chard, lettuce etc.) need less water more frequently, even daily in hot December temperatures. Support fruit-bearing tomato stems to prevent the stems from breaking or bending. Use soft ties and loop the tie around the stake and the stem in a figure of eight. Fertilise fruiting crops when they start to flower and leafy vegetables after picking.

Remove weeds that compete for water. Renew mulch if necessary.

5 minutes to spare

Check quick-bearing veggies (beans, marrows etc.) each day and harvest so that fruit doesn’t grow too big or too tough.

10 minutes to spare

Start sowing cool-season crops (cabbage, cauliflower etc.) in seed trays. Keep them out of direct sun but in good light and make sure the soil is consistently moist during germination.

Good idea…

Grow loose-leaf lettuce in the shade of taller plants like runner beans, tomatoes and brinjals.

An Introduction in how to harvest rainwater and why it makes sense

An Introduction in how to harvest rainwater and why it makes sense

On the Urban Rain Systems website, rainwater harvesting is defined as a process in which rainwater that falls onto a roof surface is collected and stored to be used at a later time. By harvesting and using rainwater we are not only reducing our monthly water bills, but also reducing our dependence on water treatment plants and dams. Let’s take a closer look at how rainwater is harvested, and explore some of its uses and benefits.

The basics

As you probably know, rainwater is harvested from the roof. Urban Rain Systems recommend that their clients select a large section of the roof for this purpose. The larger the surface, the more water will be harvested. When selecting your surface, try to avoid overhanging trees as far as possible – you don’t want twigs, leaves or bird poop in your harvested water! If you select a cleaner section of the roof it will also help reduce the on-going maintenance you would be required to do.

The next step to consider is how the water gets down from the roof into the Urban Rain Systems RainCell™ Tank. There is no way for the rainwater to channel down without gutters. But it’s not necessary to have gutters installed around the entire house – all that is needed is a single stretch of gutter with a downpipe that leads into the RainCell™ Tank. You will also need a firm base for the tank to stand on. You can use a smooth concrete base or place the RainCell™ Tank on level paving. The next consideration is whether you need a pump and the answer is usually yes. Although it’s possible to manage without a pump if you are using the rainwater for filling your pool by connecting a hose pipe to the tank, a pump is necessary for all other instances like irrigation systems and sprinklers. Once the space on the roof has been selected and the tank is in place on a flat surface, a downpipe is diverted into the top of the tank and the rainwater system is ready to start harvesting.

rainwater harvesting

How much rainwater can be harvested?

The size of your rainwater harvest will depend on the size of your roof and  how much rainfall there is. This is a basic formula for calculating your harvesting capacity:

1mm of rainfall x 1m² of roof surface = 1lt of rainwater

For example;

If you harvest from surface of 36m² with an annual rainfall of 700mm your calculation would look like this:

700mm x 36m² roof surface = 25,200lt of rainwater

How rainwater can be used

The most basic use for rainwater is in the garden. Watering the garden can be costly and using free rainwater to water flower beds and the lawn can be a massive money saver. Harvested rainwater can also be used in other ways:

Outside

  •        Supplying water to the irrigation system
  •        Filling up pools and ponds
  •        Washing cars, motorcycles, boats and outdoor furniture

Inside

Should a 4-stage filtration unit be installed, harvested rainwater can be filtered, purified and plumbed into the house for use in bathrooms, toilets and the kitchen. It could even be used as drinking water.

Rainwater Harvesting – The Benefits

There are a great variety of benefits to rainwater harvesting. Although some people find certain benefits more appealing than others, we can all agree that the money saving benefit is probably at the top of the list. The more rainwater you use the less municipal water you need. You would usually pay for municipal water and sewerage fees that are determined by how much water you use, so you end up saving all of that. Some people are concerned with the potential of water cuts. Imagine what would happen if our water was cut… basic daily tasks like showering, brushing our teeth and flushing the toilet would become impossible. With harvested rainwater on the premises, this concern is alleviated. Since water shedding and planned water cuts are already taking place in South Africa, more people should consider looking at water saving strategies like rainwater harvesting.

For more information, visit Urban Rainwater Systems.


  

Festive Rosemary

Festive Rosemary

Festive RosemaryBy Alice Spenser-Higgs

Just as poinsettia has become the Christmas flower, so rosemary is the Christmas herb. But it is more than a herb in the conventional sense; think of using rosemary for Christmas decorations, gifts, table settings, festive wreaths and festive feasting. It ticks all the boxes and has the bonus of the most delicious fragrance, which will stay in the memory. After all, fragrance is the most evocative of memory triggers.

5 ways to decorate with Rosemary

Rosemary is as fragrant as pine, and even the leaves resemble pine needles. Using rosemary for decoration is a natural way to perfume the home. If used to decorate the table, guests wont’ be able to resist rubbing it with their fingers. The scent of rosemary either energises or calms; a great way to make guests feel at home.

Front door wreath: Make a traditional wreath, round or heart-shaped, or just pick an armful of branches, tie them together with florist wire, and finish it off with a big red ribbon.

How to make a rosemary wreath: You need clippers, florist wire, ties and a ring or heart shape. Tie together three sprigs of rosemary, and tie them onto the ring/heart. Repeat with more bunches until the ring or heart is full and the look is that of a green garland. Attach the wreath to the door, hang it from the ceiling, or use it as a centrepiece on the dining room table. Leave it plain or decorate it with ribbons, bells, tinsel or coloured balls.

Try this: An edible wreath as an appetiser! Make a rosemary wreath using a florist oasis ring, push in toothpicks and spike on tasty snacks like stuffed olives, gherkins, cheese, and peppadews.

Table napkin rings: It can be as simple as winding a sprig of rosemary around the napkin like a serviette ring. If you have fancy serviette rings, just slip a sprig in with the ring and dress it up further with bells or ribbons. For an earthy look, tie a piece of hessian around the serviette with rough string and stick in a sprig of rosemary.

Place – cards:

    • Cut a plain white piece of card, write your guest’s name (in decorative script) on it and attach a sprig of rosemary, or push the twig through the card.
    • Glue two small wooden twigs together, leaving a section unglued into which to slip a place name card and a twig of rosemary.
  • Use a recycled can, make holes in the bottom, plant up a small rosemary bush, decorate the tin and add a place card with the guest’s name. When the meal is over, they take the rosemary home as a gift.

Rosemary-decorated candles: Candles always add to the festive atmosphere, and the heat will also release the rosemary fragrance. Make a rosemary wreath as a base for the candles or tie a piece of hessian around a plain white candle using rough string, and push in a twig of rosemary.  

Table decorations: A mini-rosemary topiary (shaped as a ball or like a pine tree) decorated like a Christmas tree is a perfect table centrepiece. Fill decorative glass jars or your favourite vases with branches of fresh rosemary (guests will love the fragrance) or make a long, low arrangement down the centre of the table using rosemary with oranges, grapes, roses and succulents, interspersed with glittering decorations.

3 gorgeous gifts to make with rosemary

Rosemary is a symbol of friendship, loyalty and remembrance, and a home-made gift is one to treasure.

Rosemary flavoured oil

Lightly bruise 200g of fresh rosemary (make sure the leaves are dry) and put into a sterilised bottle or jar. Pour in 500ml oil, to completely cover the herbs. Seal and put the jar on a well-lit windowsill or in a warm room. It should not be directly in the sun or near a stove. Shake the jar at least once a day. Within a fortnight the oil should be ready. Taste the oil, and if the flavour is not strong enough then repeat the process with fresh herbs.

Good idea: Leave the sprig in the bottle, but make sure the oil is used within three months. Use in marinades, salad dressings or in a stir-fry – in fact, for any dish that requires oil.

Rosemary-scented soap

Melt glycerine soap (available from a craft shop) in a microwave oven or in a double boiler on the stove, and ad drops of rosemary essential oil. Choose a container from which the soap can be easily poured. Melt the soap slowly and don’t let it boil or burn. The ideal soap temperature is 85°C, and it sets at 72°C. Temperatures above 95°C will make transparent soaps turn milky.

Let the soap cool slightly (let it form a skin) before pouring it into a mould. Before pouring, lightly scatter the base of the mould with fresh rosemary flowers and leaves. Always remove the skin that forms on the melted soap surface. If the skin goes into the soap it will be visible in your finished soap.

Allow the soap to set completely before removing it from the mould. If you put your hand on the back of the mold and it feels completely cool to the touch, it is ready to come out. Never set soap in the fridge or freezer to cool as it absorbs moisture and becomes sweaty and sticky.

Good to know: Glycerine attracts moisture so don’t make soap on a rainy day or cook while soap making. Package soaps as soon as they are made, in cling film or in cellophane sleeves.

Culinary herb bowl for home-chefs!

Plant up a bowl or hanging basket with rosemary, Italian parsley, oregano, lemon thyme and garden mint. This is a great combination for meat dishes, Italian dishes, slow food and roasts. Although their water needs differ, oregano, thyme and rosemary have shallow root systems that occupy the top two-thirds of the container, while parsley and mint, which need more water, send their roots to the bottom of the container where they take up all the water that drains through.

Try this budget beater: Recycle tin cans by punching holes in the bottom, filling with herb-potting mix, and planting with a small rosemary. Glamorise the can with wrappings and ribbons and hand out to all your friends who love herbs.

Festive fare with rosemary

Braai or roast – that’s usually the choice when planning the family feast. Rosemary, of course, is the perfect partner for either.

For the braai: Use this tasty marinade for lamb or chicken: 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, ½ a cup of lemon juice, 1/8 of a cup of olive oil and 1 lemon, sliced. Let the meat marinade overnight. Use sprigs of Rosemary ‘Tuscan Blue’ as meat skewers or rosemary branches as a basting brush.

For the roast: Rosemary pairs particularly well with chicken and lamb.

    • Chicken (or turkey): Stuff fresh sprigs of rosemary into the cavity so that the flavour infuses from the inside. If the chicken is stuffed, simply add sprigs above and below the bird while roasting, and tuck some into its elbows. Remove the sprigs when cooked. The gravy will have a delicious rosemary flavour.
    • Lamb: Rub finely chopped rosemary and garlic mixed with lemon-juice onto the meat and roast. Alternatively, stud the leg of lamb with garlic and sprigs of rosemary, and let it rest for at least an hour before roasting. Add more garlic and rosemary sprigs, with veggies, to the roasting pan.
  • Rosemary roast potatoes: Toss par-boiled potatoes (halved) in butter, salt and chopped rosemary. Place on a very hot baking tray and roast in the oven for 45 minutes or until gold and crispy. Turn a few times while cooking.

Cheers! For a rosemary flavoured cocktail with a kick, bring a handful of rosemary sprigs, 3 tablespoons of sugar and 2/3 of a cup of water to the boil, and simmer for five minutes. Strain and pour the cooled mixture into a jug full of ice cubes, and top with 450ml chilled ginger ale and half a litre of orange juice, and finish by adding vodka or flavoured cane spirit.

Rosemary fact file:

    • Plant in full sun, or in a container.
    • It prefers poor soil that drains well
    • Allow space to grow, at least 1m.
  • Pick regularly – this prevents plants from becoming woody

Look out for: White- or pink-flowering rosemary as an alternative to the traditional blue. There is also a ginger-flavoured rosemary. Rosemary ‘Irene’ is a cascading variety for tumbling over embankments or out of containers, and creeping rosemary is an extremely drought-tolerant variety with thin, needle-like, grey leaves.

For more information: www.healthyliving-herbs.co.za

Festive DIY

Festive DIY

SETTING UP FOR THE SEASON

Table décor can make your festive party an extra special event.

We borrowed this idea from Jamie Oliver’s wooden plants on bricks to serve antipasto and took it one step forward by adding flowers peeking from underneath to give it an elegant touch.

Step 1

Measure the table and cut planks to fit the length. We used old painted planks that we sanded down to the wood so that we could put food on the top. Set the planks onto bricks spaced evenly so that the structure is stable.

Step 2

Soak oasis in water and cut to fit a flat container that can take water for the flowers. You don’t need much on each side of the container. Place the flowers on either side making sure the stems are long enough to peek out once the planks are in place. We used camellia leaves as the greenery, then filled in with white roses, chrysanthemums and Geraldton wax flowers.

Step 3

Place the planks onto the structure and add an array of tasty bits – olives, dips, salad leaves, biltong, nuts and fruit, breads, biscuits, cheese – anything you fancy.

DECOR DREAM BOARD

The trick is to look around your house and garden for stuff that can be quickly jazzed up into interesting party decor items.

  • Collect any rusting or odd objects that have been sitting on the stoep for ages, as well as recycled glass jars hoarded in a kitchen cupboard. We sprayed old candlesticks, birdcages, plant pots and plastic toys with aerosol spray paint in shades of dull gold and copper – copper has been quite a trendy colour the past few years!  

  • For a serving table, an old wooden garden gate resting on two trestles was painted with charcoal-coloured chalk paint. Chalk paint is very easy to use – there’s no preparation before painting.
  • As botanical prints have been so in vogue, I sewed oversized linen serviettes with a pretty magnolia print on them, and bought cheap, copper-coloured plastic plates to use as table settings.
  • Dried florist moss and small wooden discs supply a ‘mossy table cloth’ reminiscent of a relaxing escape to a forest floor.
  • Rusted tin boxes and glass bottles are vases for a mish-mash of fresh cut flowers and greenery from the garden.

Up-Cycling in the Garden

Up-Cycling in the Garden

Trending: Recycling or upcycling anything to give new life to old things is still ‘in’.

Use old wheelbarrows, boots, leaking buckets or discarded kitchenware as containers for herbs or succulents. Remember: If it’s hollow and can hold soil, it can be a container. But be careful not to dot them around too haphazardly or your garden or patio will begin to resemble a junk yard! Take time to display everything you’ve planted and grown together in an artistic way to please the eyes and other senses.

Repair and paint old trellis frameworks or burglar proofing panels and use them as a framework for small vertical gardens against a wall to grow herbs, or fix them horizontally as hanging places for light-weight hanging baskets or very fashionable kokedama.