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Tips and Advice

Converting an exotic garden into an indigenous one.

Converting an exotic garden into an indigenous one. What an exciting project! Converting your garden is fun and very interesting. It certainly is rewarding to see the fruits of your labour not only in beautiful flowers but also seeing the birds and butterflies which will start visiting your new indigenous plants.

Caring for your new garden.

• Keep all exposed soil well mulched to minimize water and nutrient loss by the sun. The mulch (3-5cm of leaves, dried grass cuttings and soft plant material) eventually turns into compost as added bonus. • Do not till the beds. It disturbs the beneficial micro-organisms of the soil. Loosen slightly if compacted after applying fertilizer and slightly dig in the yearly dose of compost if still warm.

Bees interesting facts.

To produce 500g of honey bees have to fly 55,000 km and they fly at 24 km per hour. Bees only live for 6 weeks and during their lifetime they produce half a teaspoon of honey. Each bee visits up to 100 flowers on a foraging trip. Bees require fresh water in a garden. Honey is the only food made by insects and eaten by insects, animals and man.

Home made preventive spray and insecticide

Simply mix 1 cup of dishwashing liquid and 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil. Store this concentrate in an airtight container. One can spray every 3 days by mixing 2 tablespoons in 2 litres of water. This smothers the insects and mites and they suffocate. Don't forget to spray under the leaves, on the flowers, buds and new shoots.

Suet bird food. Make your own!

Recipe to make your own suet slabs or balls. Melt 1 cup of lard and 1 cup of peanut butter and then add 1/3 cup of sugar, 2 cups of instant oats, 2 cups cornstarch, 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of wild bird seed. Pour into a patty pan tray, or a baking tray and leave to cool and set. Your birds will be grateful!

24 September is Heritage Day

What to do on Heritage Day? Plant an indigenous tree. Pull out alien invaders. Learn the folklore of a plant or the medicinal value of a plant and share that with a child. Visit the local Botanical Garden. Make a meal using indigenous ingredients like Tulbaghia violace in a stew or chopped into a salad. The flowers are also edible!

Stunning pot planting

To achieve a pot that is a show stopper, choose a plant that is a THRILLER. This is an eye catching plant that draws one's attention.It is the tallest plant in the pot. Then one needs a FILLER which will create a full appearance and finally one needs a SPILLER which will cascade over the edge of the pot.

Creating a wildlife Garden

Plant a large variety of trees, shrubs and grasses for the seed eaters. Choose trees and shrubs that will provide fruit, seed and flowers for the nectar lovers. The trees will provide protection from predators. The leafy canopy provides cover from the sun, wind and rain. Put up bird feeders, nesting logs, an owl house and bat boxes. Don't forget to provide water.

How to keep the frogs in your garden happy

Frogs are an asset in the garden as they eat insects and mosquitoes. Make sure that you provide a pond and a wetland . The more secluded the better and keep dogs away. Provide some shelter for the frogs. Take a flower pot and put it on its side as this makes a wonderful home for frogs. Don't use pesticides and stick to organic fertilizer.


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