Spring Gardening Tips - splash of colour

    Spring is a great time of the year, when all of a sudden, splashes of colour are seen to pop up everywhere. This is the perfect time of the year to have a look at our own gardens and see where colour could be "sprung from barren land" year after year, marking the beginning of a new warmer season and sunny days to come.

The typical mistake that enthusiastic gardeners make, come spring, is to be attracted to the brightly coloured petunias, violas, pansy's etc that are on display at the local nurseries. Be aware that these type of plants are annuals i.e they only last for 3 months and need to be replenished with new stock each year, making spring colour an effort and costly exercise each year.

Rather focus on buying evergreen indigenous flowers that are there all year round. Plants like Arctotis, Gazanias, Dymondia and Lampranthus are all ground covers that will bring that spring colour to your garden.

Spring gardening tips

Street art at its best

Graffiti has evolved from traditional spraypainting blasphemous or religious words, or name tagging on a blank beckoning wall and has sprung forth an art form of urban or street art. One of the most visible street artwork being seen around South Africa and is being spoken about in various circles, is urban artist (a local gal from Cape Town) Faith47.

Following an active street art career spanning more than fifteen years, Faith47's work can now be found in major cities around the world. Faith has received recognition for her work beyond South Africa and has participated in gallery shows and projects world-wide.

Through her work, Faith47 attempts to disarm the strategies of global realpolitik (political realism or practical politics, especially policy based on power rather than on ideals), in order to advance the expression of personal truth. In this way, her work is both an internal and spiritual release that speaks to the complexities of the human condition, its deviant histories and existential search.

Her signature style is clearly recognisable from her street work. Earlier this year, Faith47 completed a large-scale mural in Cape Town in collaboration with Design Indaba and Thingking. The mural, entitled "Harvest", is painted near one of Cape Town's busiest highways and aims to combine street art and social awareness. This project, #ANOTHERLIGHTUP, is a crowd-funding campaign to raise funds and install much needed street lights in the Monwabisi Park informal settlement in Khayelitsha. Every time a donation is made, the mural lights up for an evening.

The intricate lighting pattern is an artistic endeavour that also serves as a reminder that there are communities in the city that lack the luxury of light, which is a major public safety concern.

View Faith47's website or visit Another Lightup Website for more information on this rural improvement project.


Samsung beats Apple to the punch

Samsung Electronics Co says its latest Galaxy Note 4 smartphone will go on sale in China and South Korea later this week. Samsung's announcement marks the first time the Korean company has released a flagship smartphone in China before other markets.

Apple's iPhone 6 is yet to arrive in China, the world's most populous country. But Apple still chalked up 10 million sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models in the first three days after the phones went on sale.

Samsung moved forward its launch schedules for the new Note phone from October after Apple announced the iPhone 6 with a bigger screen. US sales of the Galaxy Note 4 will start on 17 October.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is expected to have bright and clear images with an advanced camera, the ability to freely select the text content on any screen, edit it and make notes with an S pen (stylus) and fast charging, high capacity usage, amongst others.

Sources : Miami Herald, The Next Web, and Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 webpage.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Healing properties of herbal tea

There is nothing like a good old cup of tea to soothe away the worries of the day. But by adding milk or sugar we lose much of the health quality of warm drinks, which makes herbal tea a great alternative to traditional tea. Plus, the healing properties of herbs is a wisdom that dates far back into our history, and still holds true today.

Green Tea This Chinese tea has many health benefits, some more controversial than others. As well as being said to lower risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer, green tea can help to boost the metabolic rate. Please note that this tea still contains caffeine, so use in moderation. Its bitter taste takes some getting used to - some like to add honey.

Chamomile Tea Made from flowers with relaxing properties, this tea is often recommended to help with insomnia or general anxiety. Can also help soothe the stomach as it is an anti-inflammatory, but not a good one for pregnant and nursing mothers. Enjoy before bed or on mellow Sundays.

Chai Tea An aromatic Indian tea created from a large variety of spices like cinnamon, cardamon, clove and black pepper. Although traditionally brewed with milk, sugar and black tea, it can also be enjoyed without. Depending on what spices are added, chai is a great digestive aid and can help boost the immune system. This tea can be fun to make at home.

Rooibos Tea A wonderful local brew, rooibos is full of antioxidants. It is also high in vitamin C and can help combat nervous tension, allergies and digestive problems. Otherwise known as Honeybush, this tea has been said to possess anti-fungal properties. Can be enjoyed with honey and milk as a healthy alternative to normal tea.

Peppermint Tea Best picked fresh from the garden, peppermint's menthol properties can assist with abdominal issues. Working as a muscle relaxer, some claim peppermint tea can ease nausea and headaches as well. Drink with other herbs like lemon balm for a delicious medley of tastes.

Buchu Tea An indigenous herb specifically good for urinary tract problems, the antiseptic properties of buchu make it good too for indigestion. Back in the day the Khoisan would chew the leaves to relieve stomach aches, but more recent findings add that buchu can help regulate the blood as well as reduce the swelling of joints. A great one to have growing in your garden.

Add a slice of lemon and ginger to your herb tea for added health benefits, especially against flus and colds.

For more herbal teas and their healing properties visit this website and Herbal Tea Benefits website.

Herbal Teas

Testing in the Kitchen

Sheer in-your-face virtuosity, gutsy innovation and flavour are the experimental, exciting and conceptual results of Executive chef and owner of The Test Kitchen, Luke Dale-Roberts's dishes.

The name Test Kitchen refers to the creative world of experimentation Luke wishes to forge in the space. From inception, the restaurant has involved collaboration with designers, artists and creatives to construct a space that will in turn encourage innovation in food: playing with flavours, combinations and ideas to challenge, inspire and surprise.

The Test Kitchen opened to rave reviews in November 2010 as Luke's latest offering since retiring from the role of executive chef at La Colombe on Constantia Uitsig farm. After only 4 years at La Colombe, Luke managed to secure a plethora of awards including Eat Out Magazine's best restaurant and chef in the country as well as placing 12th in the Acqua Panna World rankings in 2010.

The Test Kitchen promises a unique new dining experience - the best combination of fine dining, venue, wine and culinary theatre in the country. The casual, industrial-style setting belies the calibre of the cooking. Bespoke crockery, brushed steel tables, contemporary artwork and custom-made, hand-stitched leather seats only serve as the setting for an unforgettable experience: the main attraction being the gastronomic feast Luke and his team deliver.

No one can compete with Luke's thinking, flavours and artful presentation. A micro universe is offered on every plate, so it's difficult to choose highlights, but among them are Luke's XO sauce, cafe au lait beef, maple-braised shabu shabu, roasted bone marrow, langoustine and smoked quail, clam and green tea pasta, veal tongue and mussel pie, pig's head and blue cheese, and plum-cured foie gras.

Dinner (a choice of specific number of courses) can be merged with wine pairing. Lunch is a more laid back affair with an a la carte menu on offer which highlights the best daily produce from the local markets.

Booking is essential in this 30-seater space and the expected waiting period for dinner is estimated at being about 5 to 6 months. While tables are available, the unique attraction, and possibly the most coveted seat in the house, is the Kitchen Bar. Four high seats are available right on the kitchen pass where Luke works his magic in front of guests: one is so close to the action, the temptation to join in the plating is overwhelming.

For more information visit The Test Kitchen's website.

The Test Kitchen

Hot News

September is Heritage month

Heritage Day on 24 September recognises and celebrates the cultural wealth of our nation.

South Africans celebrate the day by remembering the cultural heritage of the many cultures that make up the population of South Africa.

Heritage Day

This year Heritage Month's theme is "Celebrating 20 Years of Democracy: Tell your story that moves South Africa Forward." The theme encourages South Africans to tell their stories as part of celebrating 20 years of democracy.

Featured Plant

Gazania Krebsiana

Gazania krebsiana
(Terracotta gazania)

Family :


Description :

Showy groundcover to 150mm white bright orange flowers on stalk.

Flowering time :

Late Winter - Summer

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

If you have a small wall in your exterior living space that needs a little something to brighten it up, install some floating shelves with a line of exactly the same sized, non-descript neutral pots and plant them up with a variety of interesting shaped, coloured or textured plants.

The uniformity and blandness of the pots will accent and highlight the interesting foliage in the pots, while the line of pots all equally spaced, will compliment the horizontal lines of the floating shelves.

Planting Guide

Herb or Veggie
Coriander seeds

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 :
    "The odds are overwhelming"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82