Summer Gardening Tips - splash of colour

    If you are at home these summer holidays and wish to give your garden a quick splash of colour, focus on the entrance to your home, the edge of paths and your patio. Early summer is the ideal time to plant containers, such as patio pots, window boxes and hanging baskets, so take a quick trip to your local garden centre and select trays of seedlings or bagged plants already flowering to provide you with stunning colour within a short space of time.

At your entrance, welcome your visitors with pots of brightly coloured flowers. If the entrance is sunny, choose from (indigenous and non-indigenous plants) marigold, salvia, nicotiana, petunia and vinca, with trailing lobelia and alyssum to soften the edges of pots. The Madeira series of Marguerite daisies (argyranthemums) are compact in growth and full of flowers, making them ideal for containers.

Plants suitable for shady entrances include hydrangeas in half barrels or large pots and in smaller pots: fuchsias, bedding begonia, impatiens and the wishbone flower (Torenia). Torenias are compact (30cm) bushes with dainty flowers of blue, purple or pink with yellow throats, suitable for borders, beds, hanging baskets and window boxes.

For your patio, have large containers overflowing with plants that are more eye-catching and require less watering than small pots. Add water-retentive granules to the potting soil to retain moisture.

Pots of scented dwarf gardenia, liliums and nicotiana will add to the pleasure of being outdoors. Both ivy leaf and zonale pelargoniums are suitable for pots and hanging baskets, and a delight to any touch are the scented pelargoniums with leaves smelling of rose, citrus, nutmeg or peppermint when crushed.

Because they are continuously on show, plants on patios need to be deadheaded, old foliage removed and fertilised regularly. Water daily during dry weather. Dead heading is generally listed as a spring chore, but you should continue to dead-head flowers throughout the summer as this increases flowering time and strengthens the plant.

Summer Gardening Tips

Exceptional local art with the intensity of life

Taking a walk up Long street in Cape Town on a lazy day, affords one the opportunity to meander in and out of shops that would otherwise not be noticed whilst driving up the road on the scout for parking or on the alert for other motorists in the busy street.

One gem of a find is The African Portrait Gallery which showcases artworks of local artists Grant Oxche, Rampedi Molefe and Mekhala. All of the artwork captures the warmth of the African face. The knowledge of the natural world, the understanding of the way of life and the sorrow of the past is captured in the subjects' eyes and wrinkles.

For Grant, the utmost important thing is to capture the essence of a human being in his paintings. He feels that his paintings must transcend just being a picture and become something more than that. He wants his subjects to seem alive and breathing. This is why he pays particular attention to the eyes in a portrait, because it is the eyes that are the window to the soul, with a fire of life in them to show that the subject is alive.

He is also influenced by the lighting principles of Chiaroscuro which gives the paintings a greater emotional intensity. In the 15th century, renaissance artists like DaVinci and Caravaggio discovered that by applying a succession of lights and shadows to different planes in their images they were able to add the illusion of dimensional depth on an otherwise flat canvas. This innovative lighting technique is known as 'Chiaroscuro'. In Italian it means light and dark.

Grant is working exclusively for The African Portrait Art Gallery. This allows him to concentrate on developing his artistic skills which in turn creates financial stability and exposes his work locally, nationally and internationally.

The African Portrait Art Gallery is located at 59C Long Street (cnr Long & Hout street), Cape Town. Tel: 021 426 1886

African Art

Mathematical shapes in nature

Over many centuries, it has been observed that some of the shapes naturally occuring in nature are spirals (logarithmic spirals).

A logarithmic spiral, equiangular spiral or growth spiral is a special kind of spiral curve that was first described by Descartes and later extensively investigated by Jacob Bernoulli, who called it Spira mirabilis, "the marvelous spiral".

Although this curve had already been named by other mathematicians, the specific name ("miraculous" or "marvelous" spiral) was given to this curve by Jacob because he was fascinated by one of its unique mathematical properties: the size of the spiral increases but its shape is unaltered with each successive curve, a property known as self-similarity. Possibly as a result of this unique property, the spira mirabilis has evolved in nature, appearing in certain growing forms such as nautilus shells and sunflower heads.

Jakob Bernoulli wanted such a spiral engraved on his headstone along with the phrase "Eadem mutata resurgo" ("Although changed, I shall arise the same."), but, by error, an Archimedean spiral was placed there instead. The logarithmic spiral can be distinguished from the Archimedean spiral by the fact that the distances between the turnings of a logarithmic spiral increase in geometric progression, while in an Archimedean spiral these distances are constant.

In several natural phenomena one may find curves that are close to being logarithmic spirals:

  • The approach of a hawk to its prey. Their sharpest view is at an angle to their direction of flight; this angle is the same as the spiral's pitch.
  • The approach of an insect to a light source. They are used to having the light source at a constant angle to their flight path.
  • The arms of spiral galaxies. Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, has several spiral arms, each of which is roughly a logarithmic spiral with pitch of about 12 degrees.
  • The nerves of the cornea of the subepithelial layer terminate near the superficial epithelial layer of the cornea in a logarithmic spiral pattern.
  • The arms of tropical cyclones, such as hurricanes.
  • Many biological structures including the shells of mollusks. In these cases, the reason may be construction from expanding similar shapes.
  • Logarithmic spiral beaches can form as the result of wave refraction and diffraction by the coast. Half Moon Bay, California is an example of such a type of beach.

Source: Wikipedia - Logarithmic spiral and Archimedean spiral


African Chic

With their bold colours and strong, contemporary designs, Mielie products are a departure from traditional African craft to African chic.

Their products are hand-made using locally produced materials, they re-use pre-consumer textile waste such as off cuts and end of rolls, upcycling and reclaiming the unwanted to make funky bags, cushions and home accessories.

Mielie strips - from which the bags and other products are woven - are a byproduct from cotton mills. The fabric of the Mielie range is reclaimed (woven from pre-consumer waste fabrics gathered from local factories) and the finishes (cotton thread, needles, genuine leather handles etc) are locally produced.

South Africa's unemployment rate stands at about 23.5%, which roughly translates to 10 million people unemployed. This desperate challenge for South Africa was the main reason for Adri Schutz to create Mielie. Mielie started in 2002, in Adri's dining room and has since grown to a company that provides regular employment to 45 women and men in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

The employment created at Mielie is sustainable and allows people to work from home. Each week, the weavers gather for Sebenza day and are issued with blank Hessians and a list of designs that are to be completed. Using hand-selected coloured Mielie strips, they interpret the designs, weave the orders at home and then bring them back completed the following week for quality checking and finishing.

Before being sent out into the world, every Mielie product is labeled with the name of the weaver who made it - creating the opportunity for a connection between buyer and maker and because the shades of materials vary every week and seasonally, each product is 100% unique.

For more information on their products view their Mielie's website.

Mielie Products

Summer rooftop experience

Comfy couches in an upmarket lounge bar found in a hidden rooftop garden of a tall building in the City of Cape Town, lends the feeling of being transported to the high-style of New York living.

Grand Daddy Hotel has been showcased in various magazines and on tv, but actually being up there on the roof is an experience that a person has to see and feel for themselves. Viewing the bustling city below, while drinking a cocktail and watching the sun go down, one can only say: "This is the life".

Plush and playful, the legendary, luxurious Grand Daddy hotel is an award-winning creative project that mirrors the talent, style and flavour of the Mother City.

The rooftop is one of the most popular places in the hotel, it hosts:

  • Its famous Airstream Rooftop Trailer Park, a collection of seven glinting, individually-themed trailers parked around the 3 sides of the roof, surrounded by neat landscaping and decked pathways leading from one area to the next;

  • The Sky Bar, comfy couches under a tented structure, a friendly bartender and the most common cocktails available at your request;

  • Lunch or Dinner in a separate decked area of the trailer park, tasting the delicious menu of this unique establishment;

  • The Pink Flamingo Cinema, a central area where every Monday evening classic movies are shown on a big screen, served with sweets and freshly made popcorn; and

  • Rooftop Rocks, where the central rooftop area is transformed to host the selected bands that are brought in at sunset to liven up Friday evenings.

    Visit their website for more information or read these interesting facts about The Grand Daddy Hotel.

    Grand Daddy Hotel

  • Hot News

    Seasons Greetings

    Living Matter would like to extend a big Thank You to all of our loyal clients and suppliers, for without their support and enthusiasm for transforming landscapes, our world would be a very dull place :-)

    We wish you all safe journeys and happy holidays with your loved ones wherever you might be.

    Welcome 2012! May it be a year that exceeds expectations!

    Closing and Opening dates

    Please note :
    Living Matter will be closing on Thursday 15th December and will be reopening again on Monday 16th January.

    Featured Plant

    Bauhinia Galpinii

    Bauhinia Galpinii
    (Pride of De Kaap)

    Family :


    Description :

    Indigenous creeping shrub to 3mm.

    Flowering time :

    Summer to Autumn

    Conditions :

    • Full Sun
    • Average water
    • Deciduous
    • Wind resistant
    • Some frost sensitivity
    • Enriched soil

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

    Wine of the month

    Wine of the month

    Chenin Blanc Reserve 2008

    Winery : Teddy Hall
    Winemaker : Teddy Hall

    Description :

    Lighted wooded, medium bodied white wine from low yielding bush vines.

    Aroma : Abundant nougat, pineapple and summer fruit.

    Palate : Distinct dryness with the vanillins from the oak counterbalancing tropical fruit and baked apple flavours. Underlining the wines pedigree is an intense finish which lingers long after the mouthful has been swallowed.

    Winemaking : Only free-run juice is used. Kept on lees in French oak barriques for 14 months (35% new with remainder 2nd & 3rd fill). Will continue to improve and best drunk between 2011 and 2013.

    Food Pairing : Suitable versatile this wine will pair with a range of seafood, chicken, or vegetarian dishes. Even as varied as a wild mushroom risotto or a creme brulee dessert .

    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
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Mielies
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Sweetcorn
  • Swisschard
  • Turnips
  • Herbs

  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Chives
  • Chamomile
  • Dill
  • Mustard
  • Oreganum
  • 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

    November's Teaser Answer :
    "For instance"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82