Winter gardening tips - harvesting vegetables

    Winter is a great time to harvest those root crop veggies for delicious hot soups and chasing away the cold. Harvest your root vegetables such as carrots, beetroot, potatoes, garlic, radish and turnips.

The onion family (spring onions, leeks, brown onions and red onions) grow well in winter. A useful tip is to plant onions (alliums) around the perimeter of your vegetable garden, like a ring of defensive, smelly, pest control. Another great benefit is that the moles do not like the smell either.

Plant companion plants like rosemary with the brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts), peas with carrots, parsley with lettuce, beetroot with swiss chard / spinach, and potatoes with mint (although remember mint's invasiveness warrants it be planted in a submerged pot).

Gardening tips

Mandela tribute in bronze

Appropriate for the upcoming July month, a magnificent new sculptured bust of Nelson Mandela (Mandela's birthday is 18 July) has been created by the internationally acclaimed sculptress Jean Doyle. Jean has been commissioned for numerous high profile statues and monuments worldwide. The importance and stature of Madiba is of course well known and the respect and admiration for this international icon is universal.

Many individuals, corporations and other institutions wish to be associated with Madiba and his incredible legacy and so in response to this demand Jean has created what is truly a remarkable bronze that is a superb tribute to his memory.

This iconic bust which measures 700mm high by 500mm wide is produced in an edition which is limited to 9 for Africa, 9 for Europe and 9 for America. The sculpture is available on a first come first served basis at R 185 000. As it is a limited edition (total 27 worldwide) it is likely to have large investment potential.

Jean created the life-size statue of Mandela that is positioned outside the Victor Verster prison (Drakenstein Correctional Centre) between Paarl and Franschhoek from where he was released. Thousands of tourists visit this statue annually and it has become one of the most photographed statues in Africa.

Jean Doyle was commissioned to sculpt this prestigious sculpture and Doyle Art Foundry produced the statue over a period of 12 months. As much as 450kg of bronze was used in the casting process and 12 trained foundry-men ranging wax makers to mould makers, casting technicians and fettlers were involved in the process.

This monument was unveiled in August 2008 by Nelson Mandela himself. A 3m replica of this statue has also been erected outside the South African Embassy in Washington.

View more information on Jean Doyle and her sculptures.

Jean Doyle - Mandela bust

No more unknown large craters

Mars is pocked with more than 300 000 craters created by asteroid impacts, while the moon is blanketed with millions more, too many to count.

The surface of Earth, constantly eroded by wind and rain, hides its history and thus, only 128 confirmed impact craters have been spotted on Earth's surface. However, a new study suggests that this low number is not the result of lazy searching; all of the big impact craters on the planet's surface have been found, leaving none to be discovered.

In 2014, Brandon Johnson, a planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, led a similar study, which found that for craters 85 kilometres in diameter and larger the geologic record ought to be complete. Based on the rate of impacts and the age of the crust, his team predicted eight craters this size, and there are six or seven that have been confirmed.

These giant craters are deep enough to survive erosion, but they can be destroyed by plate tectonics, which splits apart, subducts, or otherwise jumbles up the crust the craters sit on - a process Johnson's study examined. He does , however, point out that the current study examines just surface craters. There are also 60 documented craters that have been buried, and preserved, in basins, underneath deep piles of sediment (for example Chicxulub, in Mexico, the remnant of the dinosaur-killing impact and another large crater lies underneath the Chesapeake Bay in the eastern United States).

Now, Stefan Hergarten and Thomas Kenkmann, geophysicists at the University of Freiburg in Germany, have taken the analysis further and found that the documented record is complete down to much smaller impact craters. They combined estimates of asteroid impact rates with rates of erosion, and compared the resulting theoretical crater distribution with what geologists actually see. For the 70 craters larger than 6 kilometres across, the record is complete.

Researchers and crater hunters are changing their focus, giving up the search for big ones and focussing on finding the smaller ones between 0.25 kilometres and 6 kilometres wide that still remain undiscovered.

In spite of ever-improving remote sensing techniques, which enable almost anyone to search for circular features on Earth's surface, fewer and fewer true craters are turning up.

Source: Science Magazine

Large craters

Planning for trees - Roots vs Canopies

Tree professionals suggest that, in order to plan enough space for your tree, you plan on root growth extending between 2 and 3 times larger than the spread of the canopy at maturity.

Roots and canopy do not share the same growth rate. The roots set the pace because they are needed to provide adequate water, oxygen and minerals to the growing tree. Roots are likely to develop more rapidly and spread faster than branches, because the area under the canopy becomes dryer than the surrounding area (the main volume of water is shed outside the 'circle' formed by the branch system and leaves in the same way as does the umbrella), and therefore the trees root growth has to match and exceed the growth of their branches to make sure that the tree gets sufficient water to sustain its growth.

Here are few points that can be taken into consideration when determining the size of the root system of an existing tree or a potential future tree:

  • Roots are opportunistic. There will be more roots when conditions are favorable. Fertile, moist, uncompacted soils will have more fibrous roots.
  • In dry, compacted soils with no organic matter, roots are fewer but larger and able to grow further distances from the plant.
  • Open-grown trees often have a wider root system than trees closely planted together.
  • Root systems may grow wider when downward growth is restricted, such as by a high water table or perhaps bedrock.

For more information visit Green Infrastructure and eHow.

Tree roots

Metal, rust and wood galore

If organic, natural materials, with a little rustic feel to them appeal to your decor senses, then venture down to Lakeside area, traveling along the main road towards Muizenberg, there is a small shop on the side of the road, called the Rust Bucket.

Make sure you stop in there with a little bit of time on your hands, as inside the shop and outside in their yard are some hidden gems of pieces to include in your garden or home.

Rustic, old containers galore! Expect exactly as the shops name suggests. A lot of the items in the shop are aged, banged up and rusty - all with the aim of providing you with the full rustic experience - but amongst all this derelict, there are some repurposed or upcycled items that would add value to a "farmstyle" or "organic" house or garden decor style.

Their main items are decor for the garden and patio, which include wrought iron furniture, patio cupboards, benches, chests and coffee tables. All made in the "rustic" design finish and with natural materials.

They also display a variety of unique containers. These containers can be paired up with a specific plant, or can bought already with a chosen plant in it. Their range of interesting colourful succulents and plants are a delight.

For more information visit The Rust Bucket.

The Rust Bucket

Hot News

Mystery is in the air

Taking place at various restaurants in Cape Town until October 2015, thrilling supper events invite lovers of crime novels and murderous tales to wine and dine while immersing themselves in a mysterious plot rich with treacherous characters.

Murder Mystery Dinner Parties

See the calendar of mystery parties Murder Mystery Dinner Parties.

Featured Plant

Euryops Virgineus

Euryops Virgineus
(Honey Euryops)

Family :


Description :

Shrub to 1.5m with showy yellow flowers on the ends of stems.

Flowering time :

Winter - Spring

Conditions :

  • Full Sun
  • Little water
  • Evergreen
  • Frost resistant
  • Wind resistant
  • Well drained sandy soil

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

Design idea feature

Design idea feature

Soften your stepping stones, or geometrically placed pavers with a little greenery inbetween. Modern large pavers equally spaced would be best with between 70 - 100mm of greening space between that can be planted up with the most appropriate ground cover.

Design idea feature

Wonder lawn (Dichondra repens), Viola (Viola pallens), soleirolii (Soleirolia soleirolii), penny royal (Mentha pulegium), dwarf mondo (Ophiopogon japonicus "Nana") or even normal lawn can be used effectively.

Planting Guide

Herb or Veggie
Baby Spinach

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

    May's Teaser Answer :
    "Very interesting"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82