Summer Gardening Tips - Water-wise grey leaf plants

    Indigenous plants offer a range that are most suited to our dry conditions in South Africa and should therefore cope better during periods of prolonged drought. However, some indigenous plants originate from areas that receive a very high rainfall and should therefore only be utilised in or around a water feature or in the high water use zone.

Hardy plants are ideal for low water zones in water-wise gardens, and plants with grey foliage are often very hardy. Grey plants:
  • Generally don't require large amounts of water
  • Reflect light and are therefore cooler
  • Contrast against green in design creating a focal area
  • More impact to plants of other colours e.g. red = more red
  • Assist to colour coordinate different colours (blend)

Summer gardening tips

Retrospective ambiance

Hoi P'loy (a vintage lighting company based in Cape Town) is the result of creatives Ploy Phiromnam and Guy van der Walt coming together in 2013. Originally from Bangkok, Ploy's experience has been in buying, importing and exporting for leading fashion brands. Guy is a native Capetonian and has worked as an animator and designer since 2002.

Both Ploy and Guy have a great love for travel and finding hidden gems off the beaten track. Having the opportunity to live and spend time in cities like London, Bangkok, Chicago, New York, Tokyo and Ghent has exposed both Ploy and Guy to a global revival of vintage aesthetics through contemporary subcultures.

There is often a common misconception that the phrase 'hoi polloi' suggests the elite of society. In fact it is the exact opposite, with the translation of 'hoi' meaning 'the' and 'polloi' meaning 'many' i.e the term rather refers to the masses.

Ploy and Guy quite enjoy this misunderstanding and have created lighting products that bridge the gap between what would have once been a standard household product and a sophisticated appreciation of retrospective ambiance. Light plays an undeniably important role in the atmosphere of our lives and it is the love for a warm nostalgic glow from the past which inspired them to offer products that reflect forgotten traditional values in today's modern world.

Their vintage light bulbs are based on some of the original bulb designs of the great Thomas Edison. The range of hand crafted antique style bulbs have been made from high quality materials and are available in different shapes and sizes with a variety of element styles.

Hoi P'loy's products would be the perfect Design element (as featured in our November newsletter) for an outdoor space or dining area needing glass designer lighting.

View more information or to buy their products visit Hoi P'loy website.

Hoi P'loy

Centenary celebration of the discovery of Proxima Centauri

To mark the centenary of the discovery of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Earth not including the Sun, a scale model of the distance between the Sun and Proxima Centauri was built with corresponding plaques in both the Cape Town and Johannesburg observatories - the size of the stars as indicated on the plaques is to-scale with the distance between the observatories.

Astronomers use the parallax effect to calculate the distance to nearby stars - Parallax is the apparent movement of a nearby object relative to a distant background when the observer changes his/her position.

Thomas JA Henderson, at the then Royal Observatory at the Cape, now SAAO, knew of α-Centauri's large proper motion, and suspected that it was close to the Sun. He observed α-Centauri from the Royal Observatory at the Cape from 1832 to 1833.

In 1834, using his data from the Cape, he calculated that α-Centauri was 3.25 light years away. He wasn't confident of this distance and as a result didn't publish his results. Justified in a way, as the distance later turned out to be 26% too small. Henderson only published his results in 1839.

Robert Thorburn Ayton Innes took up the position of Director of the Transvaal Meteorological Observatory in 1903 which became the Transvaal Observatory in 1906, and he was later appointed the first Union Astronomer of the new Union Observatory in 1912.

Innes was aware of the large proper motion of α-Centauri and was interested in finding others stars with similar high proper motions, in the belief that often stars were accompanied by one or several more stars nearby.

In 1909 a British amateur John Franklin-Adams donated his 10" astrographic camera to the Union Observatory. Using the Franklin-Adams camera Innes found another star with a similar proper motion to α-Centauri in 1915 and using parallax calculations reasoned that this group of stars was the closest to the Sun.

He felt that his newly discovered star was closer than α-Centauri, and in 1917 he named it Proxima Centauri - the closest star to the Sun. This was later confirmed in 1928 by Harold Lee Alden at the Yale observatory station in Johannesburg.

No closer star has been found to date, so Proxima Centauri remains the closest star to the Sun - another South African first.

Source: Astronomical Society of South Africa.

Proxima Centauri

Understanding water restrictions

Johannesburg residents were notified of water restrictions being imposed in November 2015. The city of Cape Town announced that level 2 water restrictions will be implemented from January 1 2016, to save 20% of the city's daily water usage.

Cape Town generally has level 1 imposed at all times, which is to use water sparingly as a mitigation measure.

Level 2 water restrictions mean:

  • No watering and irrigating gardens between 06:00 and 18:00.
  • No filling of swimming pools.
  • No using of hose pipes to wash cars, paved areas, etc.

Level 3 water restrictions mean:

  • Supply of water at stipulated times a day only.
  • Water will not be supplied outside the stipulated times.

How to utilise less water:

  • Reprogram your irrigation controller to water early hours in the morning, or late at night, and decrease watering periods;
  • Check all your taps for leaks and replace washers / tap fittings;
  • Replace all taps, shower heads and other plumbing components with water efficient parts or technologies;
  • Use borehole water and bath water, or grey water, for gardens;
  • Don't water gardens during the day to prevent wastage from evaporation;
  • Wash vehicles with buckets of water rather than hosepipe;
  • Take shorter showers;
  • Do not leave water running when brushing teeth; and
  • Do full loads in washing machines and wash dishes by hand.
For more information on water restrictions visit How to manage your water or view waterwise ways for your garden.

Water restrictions

Yummy pizza in the Winelands

For most Capetonians, when someone mentions Melissa's, they automatically know exactly what is being referred to, however, the concept of saying lets go to Melissa's is a new one to those living in or visiting the Worcester / Rawsonville area.

Yes, Melissa's has expanded past the borders of Cape Town and are reaching into the netherlands of the Winelands to bring wholesome food to the farming / camping areas. Their new restaurant has been perfectly located on the Rawsonville road at the Du Toitskloof Wine Cellar, enticing any Capetonian visiting the area over weekends to get the last bit of Cape Town styled food before they "rough it" at a nearby camp site or before they venture further onto Robertson and Montague, to nourish the cycling enthusiasts and their supporters when Wineland cycle races or off-road cycle events are on, to broadcast to tourists that rural food can be civilised and elite, or to remind the Capetonians why they love Cape Town and its food so much.

Mark and Melissa van Hoogstraten opened their first Melissa's store in August 1996 in Kloof Street, Cape Town. The opening of their first Melissa's store happened very much at the beginning of their life together and the business mirrors their lifestyle, values and appreciation for the classic and quality things in life. It was these values which inspired them to create the Melissa's stores and products which are classic, timeless and true to their understanding of the value of quality.

Today Melissa's The Food Shop is a retail store which also offers a restaurant experience. In their stores you can shop for the unique Melissa's Food and Home Ware or enjoy breakfast, lunch and early suppers alongside a wonderful selection of freshly baked cakes and artisan coffee which is served all day. Du Toitskloof Melissa's even have their own onsite pizza oven to make those yummy pizza's on demand.

View Melissa's website to some of their products online or download some yummy recipes, or visit Du Toitskloof Wine Cellar Website.


Hot News

Seasons Greetings

We would like to thank all our clients, partners and fans for their support this year.

Our best wishes for the Festive Season and a prosperous New Year.

Living Matter's offices will re-open on Monday 18 January 2016.

Featured Plant

Cotyledon Orbiculata var Elk Horn

Cotyledon Orbiculata var Elk Horn
(Elk Horn)

Family :


Description :

Succulent to 40cm with red-orange flowers on stalks.

Flowering time :

Winter - Summer

Conditions :

  • Full sun
  • Little water
  • Evergreen
  • Frost resistant
  • Wind resistant
  • Well drained soil

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

Design idea feature

Create a calm soothing space in your garden by surrounding two simple architectural chairs by greenery.

Design idea feature

The green backdrop of plants will contrast against and will emphasise the simplicity of the architectural styled seating, enhancing the impact of the design of the chairs in their intended setting.

Design idea feature

The style of the chairs should be simple and elegant, singular in colour, unusual in shape, but comfortable.

Planting Guide

Herb or Veggie
Sweet Rocket

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 :
    "Square Meal"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82