Spring Gardening Tips - Roses

    Growing roses is not as difficult as we've been lead to believe. Roses will keep growing and blooming even if gardeners neglect them entirely. But they do benefit from some TLC and the efforts you make in caring for your roses in the early spring will mean that many fewer problems to tend to during the growing season.

The first thing to do in spring is to remove any winter rose protection that was installed last autumn. Rake off any soil or mulch used to protect the graft union and rake up and remove any debris or leaves used to insulate the bushes for winter.

Not all types of roses need to be pruned, other than for clean-up and size control, but if you are going to prune your roses, early spring is the perfect time. Pruning before the leaf buds open causes the rose bush to put its full energy into new growth.

Prune repeat blooming hybrid tea, floribunda, grandiflora and miniature roses by at least half and shrub and other varieties of roses by at least a third. If the rose only blooms one time per year, wait to prune until after it blooms, as these roses only bloom on previous year's growth. Also prune repeat blooming climbing roses after first bloom.

Remove any dead wood, die back as well as any spindly or crossing canes.

Spring tips - rose care

Living landscapes

Stan Herd is a simple man from Kansas, whose life ambition is to turn patches of land into living canvases. His work (sometimes called living sculptures) are best seen from above - they are huge artworks painted onto the landscape by means of planting, mowing and sometimes burning, or plowing the land.

Stan's first Kansas installations were the 160 acre (0.65 km2) portraits of Kiowa War Chief Satanta completed in 1981 and Will Rogers in 1983.

His artworks have created such a stir internationally, that his 1994 transformation of an acre of property owned by Donald Trump in New York City from a trash-strewn, barren lot near a graffiti-laced underground railway tunnel that was inhabited by the homeless, into an inspiring image of a pastoral Kansas landscape called Countryside, has been presented in an award-winning film (Earthwork by Chris Ordal filmed on location in Lawrence and New York City), and has been recognised at more than 50 film festivals in the United States alone.

Additional installations that Stan has created are :

The Boston Shock Top earthwork that was creating utilizing 483 square metres of flotillas built at the Boston Harbor Arts and then tugged into the Boston Harbor for Boston residents and visitors to see. The installation incorporated ingredients found in the Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat beer, including pumpkins, cut wheat, oranges and limes.

In 2005 Stan produced an artwork of the Kansas quarter depicting the Kansas state animal (the American buffalo or bison) - and state flower (the sunflower).

The Circle, a medicine wheel design, was created on the campus of Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. The design grew from a collaboration with Native American faculty at Haskell and is used for ceremonies and meditation by students.

Iowa Countryside was a 4 acre earthwork created for the Iowa Sesquicentennial and a tribute to regionalist artist Grant Wood.

Visit his facebook page to see some of his earthworks or review the Earthwork Movie.

Stan Herd's Earthworks

Heat your geyser via induction

A new breakthrough in geyser technology has now after extensive testing obtained SABS Test Compliance. This technology utilises electrical energy to create a magnetic field (induction) within the geyser to maximize the heating process and delivers the exact amount of hot water as a conventional geyser in a third of the time saving over 60% in power consumption while heating the water.

The unit has a Class 2 safety rating primarily because there is no transfer of alternating current (AC) into the water or the holding tank. The risk of rupture of the geyser is eliminated as a factory installed built-in temperature pressure valve forms part of the unit. The electrical configuration of the unit is such that the likelihood of switch leakage malfunction is reduced, as is the build-up of pipe rust iron content in the water.

The unit includes a high density thermal insulation layer around the storage tank, which is made stainless steel and magnesium for increased product life.

The geyser draws between 2kw - 4kw of power depending on the size of the geyser. To heat a conventional 150 litre geyser from 20 degrees C to 65 degrees C takes two and a half hours and uses 7.8kw of electricity. To heat the same amount of water via the induction water heater will take approximately 1 hour and uses approximately 2.5kw of electricity, making the operating cost approximately a third of the cost of a conventional geyser.

The beauty of this induction geyser is not only in the energy saving but also the space taken to install and the price. Planning for smaller installation areas and an increase in living space is now possible.

Source: Solar Sense and Harver Split Magnetic Water Heater.

induction geyser

The Importance of Trees

Since the beginning, trees have furnished us with two of life's essentials, food and oxygen. As we evolved, they provided additional necessities such as shelter, medicine, and tools. Today, their value continues to increase and more benefits of trees are being discovered as their role expands to satisfy the needs created by our modern lifestyles.

Trees contribute to their environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, climate amelioration, conserving water, preserving soil and supporting wildlife. During the process of photosynthesis, trees take in carbon dioxide and produce the oxygen we breathe. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people."

Trees, shrubs and turf also filter air by removing dust and absorbing other pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. After trees intercept unhealthy particles, rain washes them to the ground.

Trees control climate by moderating the effects of the sun, rain and wind. Leaves absorb and filter the sun's radiant energy, keeping things cool in summer. Trees also preserve warmth by providing a screen from harsh wind. In addition to influencing wind speed and direction, they shield us from the downfall of rain, sleet and hail. Trees also lower the air temperature and reduce the heat intensity of the greenhouse effect by maintaining low levels of carbon dioxide.

Both above and below ground, trees are essential to the eco-systems in which they reside. Far reaching roots hold soil in place and fight erosion. Trees absorb and store rainwater which reduce runoff and sediment deposit after storms. This helps the ground water supply recharge, prevents the transport of chemicals into streams and prevents flooding. Fallen leaves make excellent compost that enriches soil.

Many animals, including elephants, buck and giraffes eat leaves for nourishment. Flowers are eaten by monkeys and nectar is a favorite of birds, bats and many insects. This process helps disperse seeds over great distances.

And of course, hundreds of living creatures call trees their home. Leaf-covered branches keep many animals, such as birds and squirrels, out of the reach of predators.

For more information visit Green Pop


Bright and amazing mixture of colours

Anyone who has had the pleasure of exploring Butterfly World just outside Cape Town, will confirm that the array of the colours of the butterflies there is breathtaking. Birds of Eden offers the same wonderlike experience in their unique two hectare dome (the World's largest) that spans over a gorge of indigenous forest just outside Plettenberg Bay.

The first 5 metres after passing through their entrance door will take at least 10 minutes, as the bright coloured feathered friends are eager to see who their visitors are for the day and the array of bright colours of the macaws and parakeets make lovely photographic snaps.

The decision to develop Birds of Eden stems from the need to create a safe environment in which to release a large collection of free-flight African birds and miniature monkeys. The sanctuary also enables bird owners to apply to release their pet birds into the sanctuary, after undergoing rehabilitation, should they not be able to care for them anymore.

These birds find sanctuary in this large aviary in as natural a habitat as is possible given their history. The rest of the release process is instinctive and absolutely remarkable; all the birds instinctively know which area of the aviary suits their needs, how and where to look for and find food and water and shelter from weather conditions. Species recognition is immediate for e.g. when a new Ringneck is released into the aviary, all the other Ringnecks gather to have a look at the newcomer.

The sanctuary has its own mysterious ruin with its own walk-behind waterfall, it has a wooden swing bridge that hangs above the misty clouds and an amphitheatre, which has the ability to seat over 200 visitors.

The pathways in this sanctuary are well thought out and cleverly placed showcasing each area within the sanctuary. Each area is focussed on providing accommodating housing and protection for specific species, ensuring that a variety of birds are seen as visitors traverse through this colourful delight.

Since Birds of Eden opened it's doors to the public December 2005, it has increased its population to over 3500 individual birds and 220 different species that thrive in their new homes at the sanctuary.

For more information visit the Birds of Eden website.


Hot News

September is arbour month

"The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago; the second best time is now" ~ confucius

Arbour month

In 2013 the trees being highlighted are:

Common: Virgilia oroboides
Rare: Grewia occidentalis

Featured Plant

Aloe Aristata

Aloe Aristata
(Torch Plant)

Family :


Description :

Indigenous succulent to 40cm with yellowy-orange flowers.

Flowering time :

Spring / Summer

Conditions :

  • Full Sun
  • Little water
  • Evergreen
  • Wind resistant
  • Some frost tender
  • Well drained soil

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

Wine of the month

Wine of the month

Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Winery : Hidden Valley
Winemaker : Emma Moffat

Description :

A 100% Sauvignon Blanc picked at different levels of ripeness to ensure freshness and complexity of flavour.

Aroma : Delicious tropical melon, passion fruit, litchi, guava and freshly picked herb aromas.

Palate : A smooth, mouth-filling palate layered with sweet gooseberries, nettle and faintly mineral notes.

Winemaking : The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks at low temperatures and then kept on the lees for 3 months to enhance mouthfeel.

Food Pairing : Ideally paired with light grilled fish dishes, crisp salads, steamed crayfish or oysters.

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

    August's Teaser Answer :
    "Broken Heart"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82