Winter Gardening Tips for your bonsai

    During winter, deciduous trees bare their souls, showing how well (or not) ramification has developed during the growing season. Watch out for snails and slugs on the prowl, killing healthy leaves on bonsai - especially in the Cape.

During July, when the trees are totally bare, start with winter pruning and complete any major reconstructions before new shoots are formed again in spring.

Also start with re-potting the deciduous trees before they shoot new leaves. The time to re-pot Japanese maples and Swamp Cypresses is June/July. White Stinkwood/Chinese Hackberry, Acacias, Elms, Bougainvilleas and Chinese maples can be re-potted in July/August, while Olives can be re-potted from May to August.

Remember not to feed during the winter months, except indoor bonsai such as Figs and Brush Cherries which may be fed with a weak solution of Nitrosol.

For more information on pruning your bonsai, contact Heine from Bonsai Care SA

Bonsai Pruning

MyCiTi Bus station artwork is more complex than meets the eye

A few years ago, Hannah Williams and Mark Henning of Black hat and Nimbus embarked on a project of creating a set of inclusive, integrated public transport maps for Cape Town.

After gathering information from larger stakeholders such as bus and taxi operators as well as the City of Cape Town, they consolidated this information and explored the options for visual information structures which could display relevant local street level detail as well as show transport options around a wider area.

The fact that a large proportion of public transport needs in Cape Town and South Africa are satisfied by less formal minibus taxi operators makes their exercise of mapping transport in an integrated manner challenging. They hope to develop a methodology which can be used as the basis for developing similar public transport maps in other South African cities.

Through this self initiated project, Hannah and Mark were introduced to the transport department and have put their creative and unique stamp on the local transport system. Regular travellers along the R27 in Cape Town will have noticed the artwork that miraculously appeared a short while ago on the MyCiTi bus stations. Hannah and Mark are the brains behind some of these creative displays.

The images might seem simple from the outside, however should you have the opportunity to travel on the MyCiTi bus, take a look at these graphics from the inside of the station while waiting for the bus. They are visual representations of statistics for Cape Town. The wind patterns for Cape Town over a period of a year is visually displayed in various levels of complexity - direction, speed and so forth. Birthdays are colourfully plotted out, allowing the viewer to see how many other people in the area share their birth date. Population growth and diversity of race since original occupation of the Cape Town area is interesting and simply displayed for anyone who has an interest in the city.

For more information on the transport mapping project visit the transport mapping website.

My CiTi Bus
Photo's : Emielke Photography

New ceramic hob cuts down on electricity

In this day and age where home owners are looking at alternatives to decrease energy consumption, the induction hob is definitely something to consider.

Unlike other traditional stovetops, heat is generated directly in the pot or pan (cooking vessel) through induction, as opposed to being generated in the stovetop by electrical coils or burning gas.

A coil of copper wire is positioned in the hob directly below the location of the cooking pot/pan. An alternating electric current flows through the coil, producing an oscillating magnetic field. Cooking on the hob with a pot/pan that is made from ferromagnetic metal induces an electric current in the pot, producing resistive heating which heats the food.

Induced current can heat any type of metal, but the magnetic properties of a steel vessel concentrates the induced current in a thin layer near the surface, which makes the heating effect stronger. In non-magnetic materials like aluminum, the magnetic field penetrates too far, and the induced current encounters little resistance in the metal. Practical induction cookers are designed for ferromagnetic pots that will stick to a magnet.

An induction stovetop is faster and more energy-efficient than a traditional electric hob for the following reasons:

  • Even though the current is large, it is produced by a low voltage.
  • It allows instant control of cooking energy similar to gas burners.
  • The induction effect does not heat the air around the vessel, resulting in further energy efficiencies; some air is blown through the cooktop to cool the electronics, but this air emerges only a little warmer than ambient temperature.
  • Since heat is being generated by an induced electric current, the unit can detect whether cookware is present (or whether its contents have boiled dry) by monitoring how much power is being absorbed. This enables keeping a pot at minimal boil or automatically turning an element off when cookware is removed from it.
  • The time to boil a certain amount of water is inversely proportional to the power; a 3,600-watt induction element is three times as fast as a 1,200-watt element. The actual time depends upon the amount of water but it is typically a few minutes. Heating is much faster without water e.g. for stir frying, a thin pan containing three tablespoons of oil may heat up to stir-fry temperature in as little as ten seconds.
Induction cookers are easy to clean because the cooking surface is flat and smooth, even though it may have several heating zones. Since the cooking surface is not directly heated, spilled food does not burn on the surface.

Additionally, since the surface of the cook top is only heated from contact with the pot/pan, there are no flames or red-hot electric heating elements as found in traditional cooking equipment and because induction heats the cooking vessel itself, the possibility of burn injury is significantly less than with other methods.

Source : Wikipedia

Induction Hob


Pescetarianism is the practice of a diet that includes seafood but excludes other animals. In addition to fish and/or shellfish, a pescetarian diet typically includes all of vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, beans, eggs and dairy. The Merriam-Webster dictionary dates the origin of the term "pescetarian" to 1993 and defines it to mean: "one whose diet includes fish but no meat". Pescetarian is probably a neologism formed as a portmanteau of the Italian word pesce (fish) and the English word "vegetarian".

One of the most commonly cited reasons is that of health, based on findings that red meat is detrimental to health in many cases due to non-lean red meats containing high amounts of saturated fats. Eating certain kinds of fish raises HDL levels, and some fish are a convenient source of omega-3 fatty acids and have numerous health benefits in one food variety.

Many coastal regions tend to eat this way and these features characterise the traditional Mediterranean diet and the diets of many countries in Asia, Northern Europe and the Caribbean.

Pescetarians are sometimes described as vegetarian or pesco-vegetarian, and often people unfamiliar with vegetarianism believe the pescetarian diet to be vegetarian. In common with vegetarians, pescetarians often eat eggs and dairy, in addition to fruits, vegetables and grains.


Quiet peaceful cabins and camping spots overlooking the beach

If a quick weekend getaway is on the cards, then this quiet location is a definite must. Individual log cabins perfectly located facing the sea (each hosting their own braai facility) with a deck overlooking the nearby beach and ocean, truly inspire a weekend of sitting back, relaxing and watching the natural world at its own slow peaceful pace.

About 60 kms out of Cape Town on the West Coast road, Ganzekraal Coastal Resort and Caravan Park is within easy reach for a weekend or overnight stay. You can choose between self catering cabins (4 - 6 people each) and 2 groups of caravan/camping sites, both of which are right next to the rocky shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean.

Sites 1-24 are close to the office and conference centre but still have great views of the ocean. Sites 25-40 are a short walk away and are separated from sites 1-24 by a hill and west coast scrub. The dashing of the ocean onto the rocks nearby mask any sounds erupting from the conference facility's lapa.

The sites are thickly grassed and there are sufficient taps and power points. Despite its open exposure to the sea the sites are pretty well protected from the prevailing winds. Both areas have well designed ablution blocks.

With the Bokbaai eco-trail and graves of the ship wreck British Peer nearby, the local area has some interesting history. Visit these websites for more info on Caravan/Camping or the Ganzekraal Resort


Hot News

Upcoming Events

The Stellenbosch Wine Festival 28-31 July 2011 gives visitors the opportunity to sample fine wines and gourmet cuisine whilst exploring the town itself.

And the Knysna Oyster Festival 1-10 July 2011 is a celebration of good life and sport.

Featured Plant

Pelargonium Crassicaule

Pelargonium Crassicaule

Family :


Description :

Indigenous succulent shrublet with small white flowers with stripes that grows to 200mm.

Flowering time :


Conditions :

  • Full Sun
  • Little water
  • Deciduous
  • Some wind resistance
  • Some frost
  • Well drained sandy soil

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

Wine of the month

Wine of the month

Nabygelgen Scaramanga 2010

Winery : Nabygelegen
Winemaker : James Mckenzie

Description :

Red blend - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec & Tempranillo - from grapes grown in Wellington.

Aroma : Subtle nose of leather and black currant.

Palate : Aromas follow through to the palate mingling with sweet berries and pepper. An extended finish with soft, ripe tannins.

Winemaking : Post fermentation the wine is placed in selected French Oak to develop for 6 months. It is bottled without filtering to maintain as much flavour as possible.

Food Pairing : The mouth presence of this wine will go well paired with Tapas to keep the Spanish Tempranillo at home.

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:


  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Swisschard
  • Turnips
  • Herbs

  • None
  • 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

    May's Teaser Answer :
    "Once in a blue Moon"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82