Floral art

    Floristry itself, can be traced as far back as Ancient Egypt and even though it has adapted and changed with the trends and time, one thing that is still very clear and visible in modern floral art, is the inclusion of the elements of design (line, form, space, texture and color) and the principles of design (balance, proportion, rhythm, contrast, harmony and unity).

    Odette Paxton, one of Living Matter's client's, has a talent to create the most inspiring floral art sculptures and designs. Initially coaxed into creating a flower arrangement for her daughters' schools prize giving ceremony, she realized that she wanted to fill the gap in her knowledge and subsequently enrolled on a flower arranging course presented by the biology teacher at Pinelands High School. After being taken into the school grounds and told to look at the plants and trees, to open her eyes, to notice things, to find the plants' sculptural forms, she was hooked.

    She joined the Rondebsoch Flower Club, started experimenting with and creating floral art of her own and slowly the love affair that she always had with nature became a driving passion in her life.

    Her perspective now of ordinary items is different from her previous everyday views, she enthusiastically searches for the right item to use in her floral art, and finds the search as exciting as creating the item itself. She looks at individual items, finds the beauty in each item, takes it, moulds it, changes it, and with passion that is very infectious creates award winning floral sculptures.

    Odette is working towards completing her National Design Diploma in Floral Art and in September, submitted her entry into the "recycle, resue & reinvent" category of the South African Flower Union (SAFU) Congress held in Gordons Bay. Her floral art entry, humourously and most aptly named "Recyclia" won second place in the category.

    Using old shutters, a chunk of sleeper wood, barricade tape, a rusty hose frame, polystyrene balls covered with banana leaves and chrysanthemums, and finally palm fronds scupltured into an aesthetic and artistic form, the piece inspires all of us to see the things we would normally glance over, in a new light.

    For more information on SAFU or to get in contact with the Rondebosch Flower Club visit the SAFU website.

    Floral Art

    Lighter coloured roofing will reduce global warming

    Various studies have been made into whether light-colored rooftops and roads really curb carbon emissions and combat global climate change. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory using a detailed global land surface model from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, which contained regional information on surface variables, such as topography, evaporation, radiation and temperature, as well as on cloud cover, have found that implementing cool roofs and cool pavements in cities around the world can not only help cities stay cooler, they can also cool the world, with the potential of cancelling the heating effect of up to two years of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions.

    This study is a follow-up to a 2008 paper published in the journal Climate Change, which calculated the CO2 offset from cool surfaces by using a simplified model that assumed a global average for cloud cover. The earlier paper, co-authored by Akbari, Menon and Art Rosenfeld, a Berkeley Lab physicist who was then a member of the California Energy Commission, originally found that implementing cool roofs and pavements worldwide could offset 44 gigatons of CO2 (24 Gt from roofs and 20 Gt from pavements).

    The Berkeley Lab researchers and their collaborators have now found that increasing the reflectivity of roof and pavement materials in cities with a population greater than 1 million would achieve a one-time offset of 57 gigatons (1gigaton equals 1 billion metric tons) of CO2 emissions (31 Gt from roofs and 26 Gt from pavements). That's double the worldwide CO2 emissions in 2006 of 28 gigatons.

    Their justification is simple and easy to understand - because white roofs reflect far more of the sun's heat than black ones, buildings with white roofs will stay cooler. If the building is air conditioned, less air conditioning will be required, thus saving energy.

    In a built-up environment where there is no air conditioning, the heat absorbed by a black roof heats the space below, making the space less comfortable. This heat is also carried into the city air by wind, raising the ambient temperature in what is known as the "urban heat island" effect.

    Additionally, there's a third, less familiar way in which a black roof heats the world: it radiates energy directly into the atmosphere, which is then absorbed by the nearest clouds and ends up trapped by the greenhouse effect, contributing even further to global warming.

    Rosenfeld says, "If all eligible urban flat roofs in the tropics and temperate regions were gradually converted to white (and sloped roofs to cool colors), they would offset the heating effect of the emission of roughly 24 Gt of CO2, but one-time only. However, if we assume that roofs have a service life of 20 years, we can think of an equivalent annual rate of 1.2 Gt per year. That offsets the emissions of roughly 300 million cars for 20 years!"

    In both studies, the researchers used a conservative assumption of increasing the average albedo (solar reflectance) of all roofs by 0.25 and of pavements by 0.15. That means a black roof (which has an albedo of 0) would not have to be replaced by a pure white roof (which has an albedo of 1), but just a roof of a cooler color, a scenario that is more plausible to implement.

    Source: Green Building SA

    Lighter roofing

    Once in a blue moon

    Once in a blue moon is a popular English saying, however, not many people know the background to this saying and how misinterpreted it actually is.

    Traditionally, folklore gave each moon a specific name according to the time of the year it appeared, which aided in defining when sowing and harvesting seasons officially started.

    Most years have twelve full moons that occur approximately monthly. In addition to those twelve full lunar cycles, each solar calendar year contains roughly eleven days more than the lunar year of 12 lunations. The extra days accumulate, and therefore every two or three years (7 times in the 19-year Metonic cycle), there is an extra full moon. A moon that came too early had no folk name, and was for that purpose called a blue moon, retaining the correct seasonal timings for future moons.

    Similarly since the 1500's, the Clergy, when calculating the start date of Lent (using the moon cycles) named this extra moon as a "betrayer moon" (belewe moon), thus enforcing Lent moon to be present at its expected time.

    In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Maine Farmers' Almanac listed blue moon dates for farmers. For farmers, in the season where there were four full moons, instead of the normal three (early, mid and late moons), the third full moon became the blue moon, so that the last moon could continue to be called the late moon.

    The March 1946 Sky and Telescope article "Once in a Blue Moon" by James Hugh Pruett misinterpreted the 1937 Maine Farmers' Almanac. "Seven times in 19 years there were - and still are - 13 full moons in a year. This gives 11 months with one full moon each and one with two. This second in a month, so I interpret it, was called Blue Moon."

    Widespread adoption of the definition of a blue moon as the second full moon in a month followed its use on the popular radio program StarDate on January 31, 1980.

    Seasonal Blue Moons

    Using the Farmers' Almanac definition of blue moon (meaning the third full moon in a season of four full moons), blue moons will occur on :

    • November 21, 2010
    • August 21, 2013
    • May 21, 2016

    Calendar Blue Moons

    Two full moons in one calendar month. Unlike the astronomical seasonal definition, these dates are dependent on the Gregorian calendar and time zones:

    • 2010: January 1 (partial lunar eclipse), January 30, only in time zones east of UTC+04:30.
    • 2010: March 1, March 30, only in time zones east of UTC+07.
    • 2012: August 2, August 31
    • 2015: July 2, July 31

    The next time New Year's Eve falls on a Calendar Blue Moon (as occurred on 2009 December 31) is after one Metonic cycle, in 2028. At that time there will also be a total lunar eclipse.

    Source: Wikipedia

    Blue Moon

    Chalets surrounded by blossoming flowers

    One of the most popular places at the start of the flowering season is the West Coast Nature Reserve and the Postberg Nature Reserve. But timing the display of flowers can sometimes be a hit and miss, especially since flowering times are never the same year-on-year. Blooming time each year is dependent on the weather patterns leading up to spring, as well as the weather at the time of an intended visit. Differing species also flower at different times.

    One way to ensure a full viewing of the kaleidescope of colours as the different varieties come into bloom, is to stay for a week or two in the reserve itself.

    Duinepos is one such delightful place for accommodation. Situated in the West Coast Nature Reserve itself, the chalets ensure privacy, peace and tranquility. Each chalet sleeps 4 people comfortably (maximum 6 people) in 2 bedrooms, has an open plan kitchen, lounge, fire place, shower, toilet and an outdoor braai area. Other facilities include a swimming pool, communal braai and boma area.

    Keeping in line with being nature loving, Duinepos has an eco-friendly building philosophy. Sand bag building methods have been used for the building of new chalets as part of this community-based tourism project. This construction method has a low environmental impact and offers good thermal insulation and is consistent with the principles of sustainable development. Their philosophy is to live in harmony with the natural environment.

    They have also introduced measures for efficient water use on site and are committed to not wasting or polluting this precious regional resource. They only use eco-friendly cleaning products to wash the bed linen and towels and only have showering facilities in each chalet as it is more water efficient than bathing. The terrain at Duinepos was also designed in a water efficient way, using indigenious plants to blend the buildings in seamlessly with the surrounding natural environment.

    For more information visit the Duinepos Chalets website or contact them directly - tel number: (022) 707 9900, e-mail :


Hot News

Order your bark for Summer

Summer is always a hot and dry time of the year for the Western Cape residents. One way to reduce the evaporation of precious water from your garden is to top the soil with bark. This also keeps the weeds to a minimum, and as the bark breaks down, adds nutrients back into your soil and gives it good drainage capabilities.

You can now order your compost, potting soil, lawn dressing and/or bark to be delivered to your door in 50dm bags through Living Matter.

Ordering bags is so much more convenient than bakkie or truck loads, as the bags can be easily transported around the garden and the surplus bags neatly stored for convenient accessibility at any time.

Please email us your order form confirming the required details and we will process your order. Determine the quantity of compost required by calculating the area that requires composting in m2 (width x breadth).

Compost - R 32 per m2
Potting soil - R 32 per m2
Bark - R 36 per m2

Please note that a minimum order of 30m2 is required. Cape Town and immediate surrounds only.

Featured Plant

Watsonia Marginata

Watsonia Marginata
(Pink Watsonia, Suurkanol)

Family :


Description :

Indigenous half-hardy herbaceous perennial that grows up to 2m.

Flowering time :

Spring / Early Summer

Conditions :

  • Full Sun
  • Lots of water
  • Deciduous
  • Wind resistant
  • Frost resistant
  • Well drained soil

Wine of the month

Wine of the month

Louis 2010
(Sauvignon Blanc)

Winery : Louis Wines
Winemaker : Louis Nel (ex Hidden Valley)

Description :

First ever release of his zippy Sauvignon Blanc made from Darling grapes.

Aroma : Tropical fruit, lithci, passion fruit and guava with fresh garden herbs.

Palate : Broad with a fullness and softness from 10% Semillon and great length on aftertaste.

Winemaking : Semillon crushed with Sauvignon Blanc, left on the lees for three months with 10% in oak.

Food Pairing : Sushi, asparagus spears with Hollandaise sauce or fresh crayfish.

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
  • Squash
  • Sweetcorn
  • Swisschard
  • Tomatoes
  • 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
    September's Teaser Answer :
    "He's beside himself"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82