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GARDENING: Sassy spring ideas

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Inspiring hints from Garden World’s Spring Festival to boost your outside for the coming warmer weather

The Garden World Spring Festival, a popular event on the South African gardening calendar, opened yesterday in Muldersdrift in Gauteng with 17 new and make-over designer gardens to view.

The emphasis of the show is to reinvent, redecorate, revamp and inspire gardeners to make savvy changes for a better garden, even if household budgets are tight. Top photographer Connall Oosterbroek and Lifestyle College lecturer Bruce Stead judged the show gardens throughout Monday.

Eight gardens received the highest honour of a platinum award, with four others taking gold. JJ van Rensburg and Stephen Mundell’s Designed to Delight garden received the Spring Festival’s Overall Winner – Best on Show – award and Learning in the Lap of Nature, designed and constructed by Sonita Young, was the Water Wise winner.

Make a change

With July quickly drawing to a close, many gardeners are gearing up for a busy August in the garden. How can you restructure for the new season? Consider the practicalities of your space. Is there ample seating? Do you need a braai area? Would a pathway facilitate better movement? Do you want to grow vegetables and herbs this summer?

Next, look at your budget and how much you can afford. Take a look in a garage or shed and consider items than can be repurposed outdoors. A discarded bathroom cabinet could be revamped into a potting workbench with build-in storage or old wooden boxes used as herb or veggie planters.

“It is a good idea to look for trends in designer gardens,” says Garden World horticulturist, Van Rensburg. “But it’s also important to consider the space available in your garden and if the concept you like will suit the feel of your space and the architecture of your home.”

Van Rensburg cautions gardeners to consider the planting area for sun or dappled or full shade when planting new species. “It’s also important that the ideas you chose to replicate suit your garden style and the time you have to dedicate to garden maintenance,” he says. What ideas from the Spring Festival can inspire change in your garden?

The garden titled Designed to Delight, landscaped by JJ van Rensburg and Stephen Mundell, received the Spring Festival’s Overall Winner – Best on Show – award. Picture: Garden World

◆ Go bold on the boundary. If boundary walls are looking lacklustre, a coat of paint can do wonders. Consider the space and where the wall is located. Dark colours draw in for a cosy feel, while lighter tone recede, creating an air of space. Black roof paint was used on a large wall in the Learning in the Lap of Nature garden, an outdoor classroom garden, and the wall doubles as a giant blackboard for hours of drawing fun for the children.

Learning in the Lap of Nature, an inspired outdoor classroom designed and constructed by Sonita Young, received the top Water Wise award. Picture: Garden World

◆ Pot up and show off. Shelf gardening is a new vertical gardening trend that makes the most of usable space, especially in smaller gardens. Shelves are positioned outdoors and stocked with plants in trendy containers. Reuse the shelving you have available – an old wooden bookshelf or dresser, or repurpose garage shelving with wooden slats or bamboo. Pots can be elegant and traditional, like urns, or rustic and weathered. In the Designed to Delight garden, a variety of containers are filled with plants of different colours and textures.

A white concrete urn looks stylish in a formal garden. Picture: Garden World.

◆ Add wall art. Picture frames, window frames, shutters, wrought-iron sheeting or artwork can instantly turn a wall from drab to fab. Position the frames on the wall and nail or glue-gun in place. Use a box frame and fill with succulent mix. Arrange your favourite succulents and place vertically on a wall.

◆ Get creative with bark chips. Simple and natural, a bark chip pathway provides a practical place to walk at a fraction of the cost of a brick pathway and gives a rustic feel. Before placing the chips, lay weed guard for ease of maintenance.

◆ Add a tea nook. In smaller gardens a table and two chairs will create a space to enjoy a cup of tea, but don’t overlook the idea if you have a larger garden. In addition to your main entertainment area, find a space that gets morning or afternoon sun and add a wrought-iron table set – a space for quiet contemplation.

Pelargoniums are water-wise candidates for a low-water zone. Picture: Lukas Otto

◆ Go water-wise. A rainwater tank is an investment in the future. Rand Water’s display in the Water is Life garden suggests water-wise systems to implement in your home and practical ways to save this precious resource. Plants in the garden are zoned according to their water requirements. The garden, which got the festival’s only high gold award, was landscaped and constructed by ornamental horticulture students under the mentorship of Carly Blankevoort.

Grow a beautiful garden 

A natural rock pool creates a serene atmosphere in the Crimson Serenity garden. Picture: Garden World

This year’s Spring Festival is currently on at Garden World in Muldersdrift, Gauteng, with the theme, See My Garden Grow.

New and make-over designer gardens showcase the latest gardening trends and provide clever solutions for small outdoor spaces, using a diversity of plants and natural hard landscaping products.

Talks and workshops will be held every Saturday next month. Booking is essential.

Dates: Open until Sunday, September 1 Venue: Garden World, Beyers Naudé Drive, Muldersdrift, Gauteng.

To book, contact Garden World at 011 957 2545; 011 956 3003; 083 997 6142, or visit for more information.


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