Ads of the Past

    Have you ever spotted a ghost sign and wondered about long times past? What is a ghost sign? A ghost sign is an old hand-painted advertising sign that has been preserved on a building for an extended period of time. The signage may be kept for its nostalgic appeal, or simply indifference by the owner.

Ghost signs (also known as fading ads and brickads) are found across the world and if you look with an observing eye, you can find many surviving examples. Sometimes, old painted advertisements can occasionally be discovered upon demolition of later-built adjoining structures. Throughout rural areas, old barn advertisements continue to promote defunct brands and quaint roadside attractions (most of them being for items that were in high demand from the 1890s to 1960s) like flour, coca-cola, cigarettes, beer, sweets and the services of small businesses.

The painters of the original signs were called "wall dogs" and the artwork was painted using oil based house paints. The paint that has survived the test of time most likely contains lead which keeps it strongly adhered to the masonry surface. Ghost signs were often preserved naturally with the repainting of the entire sign once the colours had faded, and when ownership changed a new sign would be painted over the old one.

As signage advertising formats changed, less durable signs appeared in the later 20th century leaving ghost signs from that era less common today and therefore, nowadays owners are being asked to preserve the original signs rather than painting over them. New products for consolidation are available that structurally stabilize both the components of the paint and the masonry substrate.

Conservation treatments saturate the original colours to bring back the intensity of the design and make the underlying signs more visible to the naked eye, with the sole purpose of leaving the viewer with a heightened appreciation of their history and place in the contemporary urban streetscape.

View History of Advertising Trust website for their Archive of UK Ghost signs or search Flickr for ghost sign images online.

Ghost signs

Nasa's Satellite imagery

One of the best places to study Earth and its transformations is from space. While NASA's satellites continually orbit the globe, they are aiding us in doing just that by collecting information about Earth's ocean, atmosphere and land surfaces.

Satellite imagery provides the greatest benefit to the most people when it can be analyzed by anyone with an interest. NASA Earth Observations (NEO) makes global satellite imagery accessible to anyone, to picture climate and environmental changes as they occur on our home planet. Satellites can even monitor the activity of life forms, such as phytoplankton, from their remote vantage points.

On NEO's website you can browse and download imagery of satellite data from NASA's constellation of Earth Observing System satellites. Over 50 different global datasets are represented with daily, weekly, and monthly snapshots, and images are available in a variety of formats including JPEG, PNG, Google Earth, and GeoTIFF.

Recently, NASA's Earth Observatory has run its second annual photo competition and the top five images captured over the last year have been revealed. The winning pic is of a the Canary Islands off the Northwest coast of Africa, captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA's Terra satellite in June 2013. Named Trailing the Canaries, the image depicts the string of islands with wake behind them - as if they're literally sailing through the ocean. The effect is causes by the shimmer of the sun's rays reflecting off the water and back at the satellite.

View News 24 website for the full article or visit Earth Observatory for more interesting satellite imagery.

Top 5 Satellite images

Bizarre mushrooms

The word "mushroom" describes a variety of gilled fungi, with or without stems. The term is used even more generally, to describe both the fleshy fruiting bodies of some Ascomycota and the woody or leathery fruiting bodies of some Basidiomycota, depending upon the context of the word.

Mushrooms may be deadly or delicious, beautiful or bland, magical or mundane but never have such strange and beautiful mushrooms from all over the world crossed the paths of our imaginations.

For example:

  • Bleeding Tooth fungus (Hydnellum pecki) is commonly found in pine forests of the American Pacific northwest and in central Europe, though it has also been noted recently in Korea and Iran. Also known as Devil's Tooth or Strawberries and Cream, Bleeding Tooth fungus are not poisonous but instead manage to put off predators both human and animal by their extremely bitter taste. As for the striking "blood" young specimens exude, analysis has revealed it contains an anticoagulant called Atromentrin which exhibits properties similar to the natural organic anti-clotting agent heparin.
  • Bearded Tooth mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus) look nothing like any other mushroom you've seen. This edible mushroom grows on both living and dead trees (usually hardwoods) and when cooked is said to have a seafood-like color and texture. Bearded Tooth mushrooms (also known as Hedgehog mushrooms or Satyr's Beard) have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicines. These mushrooms have recently been found to have anti-oxidant properties and can reduce glucose levels in the blood. Scientists are currently investigating whether mushrooms of the genus Hericium may harbor compounds that can be used to formulate anti-dementia drugs.
  • Indigo Milkcap (Lactarius indigo) is a purple beauty that can be found in the coniferous and deciduous forests of eastern North America, East Asia, and Central America. When the mushroom is cut or broken open, the milk, or latex, that oozes out is a beautiful indigo blue. Though it looks quite poisonous, it is reportedly edible and is sold in some markets.

Source: Web Ecoist, All thats interesting and Treehugger.

Bizarre Mushrooms

Bottomless wine

The Nuy Valley, a celebrated wine and olive region located along the Worcester Wine and Olive Route is celebrating its 6th annual festival on 10 May 2014. Festivities will be hosted at the four Nuy Valley estates; Leipzig Country House, Nuy Winery, Willow Creek Olive Estate and Conradie Family Vineyards. Adding to the endless amount of award-winning wines, olive products and fine country food to delight in, fun atmosphere and country feel, there will be wagon and tractor rides to provide patrons safe travelling between the different venues.

Four Nuy Valley venues - Leipzig Country House, Nuy Winery, Willow Creek Olive Estate and Conradie Family Vineyards - situated halfway between Worcester and Robertson (and about an hour and a half's drive from Cape Town) open their doors for feasting and festivities fun for the young, old, energetic and laid-back in celebration of the yearly harvest.

Things kick off rather adventurously with a fun run and mountain bike challenge, maybe to prepare attendees for the copious amounts of eating and drinking that will be done over the two days. There will be a cooking demonstration by Jenny Morris, The Giggling Gourmet Chef, while a traditional Farmer's Market at the grounds may pique plenty an interest. Beer and German-style country food, Birkenhead draft beer, local cuisines paired with local vinos, olive and delicatessen tasting and possibly best of all, bottomless (that's right, bottomless) wine and guests will be treated to the flowing sounds of local muso, Francois Louw.

The Leopard Foundation as represented by Penhill Manor will offer visitors interesting information on these gracious animals, while Eagle Encounters situated on Spier Wine Estate, and in collaboration with Penhill Manor will present visitors the opportunity to photograph and interact with the raptors.

For more information visit Batonage

Nuy Valley Festival

Hot News

New employee

Living Matter welcomes Laura Bose to the company. Laura starts her first project with us working on the landscape design of a courtyard in Paarl.

New employee

Featured Plant

Tecoma Capensis

Tecoma Capensis "Rocky Horror"
(Cape Honeysuckle)

Family :


Description :

Indigenous climber to 2 m with bright red flowers.

Flowering time :

Autumn / Winter

Conditions :

  • Full sun
  • Little water
  • Evergreen
  • Wind resistant
  • Frost resistant
  • Any soil

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

Design idea feature

Design idea feature

Create a decorative feature next to your fireplace or braai by cutting wood of similar thickness to the same lengths and stacking them neatly in an "open cupboard".

Planting Guide

Herb or Veggie
Red Onion

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 :
    "Inflated Ego"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82