Spreading the love

    An SA artist has found that sharing and spreading the warm fuzzy feeling is as easy as leaving a positive message in a place it is not expected. And this is the start of her socially interactive campaign called HeartVeld where she leaves hearts with interesting messages on them to be found by unsuspecting recipients.

The messages are left in public locations (in South Africa) for her to connect indirectly with other unseen individuals (her thoughts: what message to use, where to leave it, who will find it, don't be seen leaving it, photograph it, share it, smile about it).

Artist Laura Glover's messages are all positive and aim to promote love, happiness and things of the heart, and hopefully (as Laura will never see who finds them) the finder of the heart will also enjoy and share the warm fuzzy feeling (their thoughts: what's this, what does it say, is it meant for me, should I leave it, take it, smile about it, leave it somewhere else for someone else to find).

Hearts, matters of the heart and connecting with the heart again are currently being emphasised and incorporated into our lives : home decor items, clothing, photo's and messages like HeartVeld's.

HeartVeld hearts have been found in Pretoria, Jo'burg and in Cape Town, and the concept has organically grown with Facebook fans posting other pictures of hearts that are encountered in their daily lives onto HeartVeld's page, thus sharing and extending the happiness and love further.

See more about HeartVeld on the HeartVeld Blog and Facebook Page.


Paper stronger than steel

In a time where "save the trees" is a familiar mantra, US Forest Services is saying that sawdust, twigs and bark, can now be used instead of wasted, in a new material called Nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC).

Plant cellulose (a long sugar molecule) is a principal component of plant cell walls and is the most common organic compound on Earth. In plant cell walls individual cellulose molecules bind together to produce fibres around 20 nanometres in diameter, 5000 times thinner than a human hair. These fibres form strong tough networks that provide the cell walls with structural support.

Previously, scientists have used cellulose as a cheap filler material and have ignored its mechanical properties. The mechanical processes used to pulp wood and process it into paper damages the individual cellulose fibres, greatly reducing their strength. But, scientists have now developed a gentler process that preserves the fibres' strength and transforms it into stronger NCC.

Production of NCC starts with 'purified' wood, which has had compounds such as lignin and hemicellulose removed. It is then milled into a pulp and hydrolysed in acid to remove impurities before being separated and concentrated as crystals into a thick paste that can be applied to surfaces as a laminate or processed into strands, forming nanofibrils. These are hard, dense and tough and can be forced into different shapes and sizes.

When freeze-dried, the material is lightweight, absorbent and good at insulating, and its tightly packed array of needle-like cellulose crystals which have a strength-to-weight ratio that is eight times better than stainless steel. Mechanical testing shows it has a tensile strength of 214 megapascals, making it stronger than cast iron (130 MPa) and almost as strong as structural steel (250 MPa). Films made from nanocellulose have been shown to have high strength (over 200 MPa), high stiffness (around 20 GPa) and high strain (12%).

The secret to the nanopaper's performance is not only the strength of the undamaged cellulose fibres, but also they way they are arranged into networks. Although strongly bound together, they are still able to slip and slide over each other to dissipate strains and stresses. NCC could replace metal and plastic car parts and could make non-organic plastics obsolete in the not-too-distant future.

Health, safety and environmental aspects of nanocellulose have been recently evaluated. Processing of nanocellulose does not cause significant exposure to fine particles during friction grinding or spray drying. No evidence of inflammatory effects or cytotoxicity on mouse or human macrophages can be observed after exposure to nanocellulose.

The results of toxicity studies suggest that nanocellulose is not cytotoxic and does not cause any effects on inflammatory system in macrophages. In addition, nanocellulose is not acutely toxic to Vibrio fischeri in environmentally relevant concentrations. In addition, the human body can deal with cellulose safely, so NCC is definitely less dangerous all around than inorganic composites.

Source : Wikipedia and New Scientist

Nanocrystalline cellulose

Natural insecticide and fungicide

Often described as the most medically useful tree of all time, the Neem tree (Azadirachta indicahas) has been valued by the people of many parts of Asia and Africa for more than 4000 years. The neem tree is part of the mahogany family (Meliaceae) and it is one of two species in the genus Azadirachta, native to India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Almost all of the tree can be used: the bark, leaves, twigs, seeds and sap are used to create anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, astringent, insecticide and fungicidal products. Although studies have not been conclusive on the toxicity of the internal use of neem products, with external applications, neem has been found to destroy a wide range of parasitic organisms and is an effective insecticidal compound.

Cold-pressed neem oil has many complex active ingredients that, in effect, block the insects natural hormonal processes. The insects stop eating, mating and laying eggs and the population eventually dies off.

Organic farming widely use neem formulations as a bio-pesticide, as it repels a wide variety of pests including the mealy bug, beet armyworm, aphids, the cabbage worm, thrips, whiteflies, mites, fungus gnats, beetles, moth larvae, mushroom flies, leafminers, caterpillars, locust, nematodes and the Japanese beetle. Neem oil is not known to be harmful to mammals, birds, earthworms or some beneficial insects such as butterflies, honeybees and ladybugs if it is not concentrated directly into their area of habitat or on their food source.

Neem oil controls black spot, powdery mildew, anthracnose and rust (fungus). Add a couple of teaspoons to your watering can or spraycan water. Neem oil does not mix with water without an emulsifier, so also add a couple of squirts of liquid soap or shampoo to the water, then water or spray the infested plants leaves or soil by the roots early morning or late afternoon.

It can also be used as a household pesticide for ant, bedbug, cockroach, housefly, sand fly, snail, termite and mosquitoes both as repellent and larvicide. Neem oil can also be used safely on pets to eradicate fleas, mites and dry skin. Just add a few drops of the oil to a handful of their shampoo when bathing them.

Neem oil is an excellent skin care oil, as it adds moisture and elasticity to the skin and is known to heal many skin disorders like acne, athlete's foot, dandruff, head lice, psoriasis, ringworm, scabies and warts. Mix one teaspoon neem oil to half a cup of carrier oil, like almond, olive, coconut or palm oil. Neem oil has a strong garlic/sulphur smell, so add a few drops of lavender or lemongrass essential oil to mask it.

Source : Wikipedia and Essential Oils or Bioneem

Neem oil

A place to go to calm the mind

The hippie town of McGregor is a small town that has many unfound secrets. One of them being the quiet and serene Temenos, a retreat that is found in masses of colourful flowers, visited by many birds and insects and peacefully surrounded by rolling green hills.

This paradise of beauty and tranquility is all the work of the owners who take pride in their gardens and sow colour with love. Each season they sow a range of wild flowers and this in itself promises to display different swatches of vibrant colours each time the retreat is visited.

In winter time, sunny days, starry skies, winter walks and log fires are very appealing, as is relaxing in front of the fire with a book from their library. Summer time is time for detoxing or indulging in pampering with bodywork sessions, aromatherapy, energetic healing, yoga, meditation and other healing modalities offered by Temenos.

Temenos has many locations that are hidden away, secret contemplative gardens to find and explore and secluded corners for private reflection and meditation. In the sweet territory of silence one can touch the heart of mystery. It is the place of contemplation, and the place where one can connect with the deep knowing and to the deep wisdom way. They offer varying retreats, silent, meditative and wellness being some of the most popular, but if it is just time away for personal rejuvenation, that can be organised as well.

They have Cape garden cottages or quiet library suites that are self catering. Each cottage has en-suite bathrooms and are fully equipped with a kitchenette, a fireplace and a private patio. With a restaurant on the premises, dinners and breakfasts are yummy and in tune with the natural aspect that this retreat strongly endorses. Their natural produce is all locally sourced and most of it is grown in their own organic veggie garden.

Temenos has the wonderful gift of silence to give time to reconnect. For more information visit their website or call them on (023) 625 1871.

Temenos Retreat

Hot News

Newlands project starting

The implementation of Living Matter's landscape design in Newlands will commence in September.

Newlands Project

The project includes decking, a water feature, trellis work, planting and lighting and will be implemented by our preferred partners, while managed by ourselves.

See some of our other work previously done.

Featured Plant

Adenandra Uniflora

Adenandra Uniflora
(Shepherd's Delight)

Family :


Description :

Indigenous sub shrub to 400mm with small white flowers.

Flowering time :

Winter - Spring

Conditions :

  • Full Sun
  • Average Water
  • Evergreen
  • Wind resistant
  • Some frost resistance
  • Well drained soil

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

Wine of the month

Wine of the month

Shiraz 2011

Winery : Groote Post
Winemaker : Lukas Wentzel

Description :

A full bodied dry red wine from Darling using 100% of their own fruit for the first time.

Aroma : Displaying characteristic scents of white pepper and violets on the nose.

Palate : This full-bodied and generous wine has dark fruit and a full array of spices on the palate presented in a smooth and elegant style.

Winemaking : Some of the grapes only spent a week on the skins, while others spent almost 4 weeks. The idea is to achieve a very complex and versatile shiraz. The wine spent 12 months in 300l barrels, of which 20% was in American oak.

Food Pairing : This wine can be enjoyed with bold dishes such as oxtail or home-made steak and kidney pie.

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:


  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Mielies
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Sweetcorn
  • Swisschard
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Herbs

  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Chives
  • Chamomile
  • Dill
  • Parsley
  • Rocket
  • 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

    July's Teaser Answer :
    "Life after death"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82