Easter egg art

    This Easter weekend, many people and families will celebrate by decorating and hiding chocolate Easter eggs. In the Ukraine, during this perior of the year, the eggs are traditional eggs and are rather seen as works of art and symbols of life.

Painting or rather "writing" on eggs usually starts as a hobby at a young age in the Ukraine. Some successful egg writers become popular and turn this art form into a business that crosses continents.

It all starts with plain old grocery store eggs, a few light lines (diagonals, verticals and horizontals), some main lines, a bit of colour and a design is born - mixing the old world traditions with new.

But it is not as easy as it sounds, to be a successful egg painter, one has to have a lot of patience as it is a time consuming effort. Each line has to be individually protected with small pieces of wax. As the design progresses the new areas have to be protected as well, and areas to be painted are to be cleaned and dried. The main design is protected while the rest of the design is covered in with colours, lightest to darkest. Once the full egg is completed, the wax is melted off, a little at a time, and the finished egg is coated with varnish to keep the colours bright.

The designs of the eggs are as vast as the painters' imagination. Each egg celebrates old traditions and new life.

Easter Eggs

Eggsperiments by the bored scientist

Put a group of bored scientists together in a lab with chocolate Easter eggs over the easter weekend and the result is crash tests being conducted on the unsuspecting easter eggs.

For Donal McNally and colleagues at the University of Nottingham, their time was spent watching a Cadbury Creme Egg crash into a board, get crushed, dropped and even scanned in an MRI machine. Even though the tests were just for fun, McNally still generated some results.

In the compression test, when an egg was crushed, it deformed by 12% before its surface cracked. Once a crack had started, the load needed to continue its failure, dropped until the egg had compressed to about half its original height.

After that, the force required to displace the gunge sideways to allow continued compression, started to go up. For those that enjoy seeing the results in a picture format, a graph shows how the force needed to continue compressing the egg, changes once it cracks and then again when its creamy interior starts to squirt out. The energy to initial failure was about 0.3J compared to 712,000J of chemical energy (170 Calories) it contains.

At higher speeds of compression (Charpy test) there is less time for the viscous centre to move out of the way so it has to move faster and therefore the viscous losses are much greater. In this case it turned out to be 11-14J compared to the 1.8J in the compression test for a similar level of disruption.

In the drop tower test, with (150J) kinetic energy of the impacting weight, interestingly, the weight of the weight is about the same as the quasi-static failure load in the original compression test.

The impact contact time in the crash track test is very short and the energy considerably smaller, and the result was that the egg was hardly damaged by the impact at about 39 kilometres per hour. Its kinetic energy was 2.4 Joules.

The difference between chemical energy density and mechanical energy density is huge. A creme egg would have to be moving at more than 6000ms-1 (Mach 20) for its kinetic energy to match its chemical energy. This team of scientists say that this is why petrol (and creme eggs) make excellent fuel.

Source: Sixty Symbols

Crash test egg

Down duvets get a feather-light lift

If you are a person that enjoys the finer things in life and if quality is of utmost importance to you, then you are most likely to have at least one down product in your home. Down is natures' greatest insulator - it is lightweight, warm and long lasting, allowing humidity to pass through while simultaneously absorbing the air.

Goose down is generally accepted as being more efficient than duck down as it provides more warmth with less weight. Goose down clusters are larger than duck down clusters enabling more air by volume to absorb body heat. The added size brings with it added strength.

The down duvet is a favourite down product amongst many people, providing that feeling of luxury and comfort, light in weight while sleeping, warm and cosy in the winter and just down right self-indulgent. But over the years a down duvet can start to show its age: its feathers compress and become compacted, air is not captured between the feathers as well as what it should and ultimately the effectiveness of the duvet deteriorates overall.

Instead of throwing old down products away, send them to Makoti Down Products in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape. They can improve any down product by cleaning, dedusting, sterilising and refilling the product with new down, restoring it back to its original state and effectiveness time and time again.

Makoti Down Products was established in 1989 on the Noorspoort farm in the arid Karoo after 12 years of drought. What started out as a small family business steadily grew over a period of 21 years into a fully-fledged industry that today employs about 26 people. Makoti (still family run) sources its down from local farmers - many of whom have received personal training from Makoti. The company's ethic is to accept only the finest quality down for use in its products while at the same time providing business in the impoverished local rural areas.

Their products reflect the sentiment of its Xhosa name, meaning 'bride' or 'trousseau', by providing precious products with a lifetime's worth of service and enjoyment. All products are fully washable, flame resistant, have a no-mite label and contain a high fill power. The down cover is manufactured from finely woven imported 100% cotton and each section / compartment is separated by baffles. The duvet is hand-filled with superior filling and sealed for limited movement, preventing cold spots. The down is specially treated, sterilised and de-dusted during processing with a specialised machine from Germany and strict quality control measures are in place to ensure their products are hypo-allergenic.

Visit Makoti's website for more information on their new down products, their refilling services or to see why down products are eco-friendly.

Makoti Down Products

Walk to the elephants' eye

A lovely walk on the top of the mountain, that children and dogs will thoroughly enjoy is the walk in Silvermine to the elephants' eye.

This walk is located in the nature reserve at the top of Ou Kaapse Weg, and when visited during Spring has a display of a variety of fynbos plants, flowers and a hub of wildlife. During other times of the year, the views are superb.

The views that can be seen during this walk extend from peering down into Tokai and its forest to gazing into the far distance at Stellenbosch, Gordons Bay and a little closer to Muizenburg.

The walk itself requires a little bit of effort, but as half of the walk is along a gravel road, most of the upward climb is gradual. When at the far parking area, take the far right gravel road in the direction of the Constantiaberg mast, passing a stone building on the left a few minutes later. Just after the crossroads, take the grassy route on the right to join up with a gravel road parallel to the first. When the gravel road joins the grassy route, turn left and continue along the path winding its way up the hill. When you reach a point where the road is reinforced with a double concrete strip leave the road and traverse along the path leading off to the right.

This pathway will lead you through various scenic points where a burnt out forest, headwaters of the Prinkasteel River, Tokai Forest Fire Lookout hut are just a few of the items of interest. The lookout hut is the first place where a little breather can be had, but don't get too close to the edge or else you will lose your breath again - without any effort incurred. The view over Constantia vineyards on a clear day is spectacular and if looking carefully enough, the cable station at the top of Table mountain can also be seen - from behind.

The route from the lookout hut is up and to the right - following the signs to the cave. The last 25m before reaching the cave requires a little bit of rock scrambling, but it quite easy to do. Once in the cave, a huge gaping eye in the side of the mountain, look back out - the view is very nicely framed by the shape of the eye, and Princess Vlei on the left, Zeekoevlei in the centre and Rondevlei are major havens for birds of all shapes and sizes.

This cave got its name from the shape of the mountain - an elephants head and trunk - and the position of the cave is exactly where the elephants' eye would be found.

Elephants' eye

Hot News

Product Catalogue coming soon

We will be launching our online product catalogue soon, providing a range of products that can be bought at the click of a mouse from us - your reputable landscape designer.

This selection of products are items that we have proposed to our clients during the design of their landscape or exterior living spaces, and come with our quality and "design orientated" approval.

Featured Plant

Phylica Ericoides

Phylica Ericoides
(Heath Phylica)

Family :


Description :

Indigenous shrublet with small white flowers that grows to 1m.

Flowering time :

All through the year

Conditions :

  • Full Sun
  • Little water
  • Evergreen
  • Wind resistant
  • Frost resistant
  • Well drained sandy soil

View more detailed information on this plant in our plant directory.

Wine of the month

Wine of the month

Gabrielskloof Magdalena 2009

Winery : Gabrielskloof
Winemaker : Kobie Viljoen

Description :

The Grand Dame of this Bot River Estate, blended from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes.

Aroma : Subtle perfume of tropical primary fruit settles into layers of gooseberries, pineapple and kiwi fruit.

Palate : Gentle use of French and Romanian oak creates an elegant, full-bodied wine with layers of caramel and vanilla accompanying the fruit from the nose.

Winemaking : This stylish wine reflects the richness and minerality of the Bot River soils, the fruit perfume of the cultivars from their maritime climate and the excitement and creativeness of the human spirit.

Food Pairing : A definite food wine, best with a "meaty fish" or white fish with cream based sauce and shelffish.

If you want to purchase or require more information on this wine, or if you are interested in a private or corporate tasting, please email Karen or visit her website.

Planting Guide

Herb or Veggie

Seeds can be sown or plants can be planted for the following herbs and veggies this month:


  • Broad Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Leek
  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Swisschard
  • Turnips
  • Herbs

  • Coriander
  • Chamomile
  • Mustard
  • Oreganum
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Watercress
  • View our full planting plan in our resources section of our website.

    Brain Teaser

    We all love a chance to test our own brain capacity with brain teasers. Try see if you can figure out this one...

    Brain Teaser

    March's Teaser Answer :
    "Making up for lost time"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82