Grewia-licious – the indigenous edible shrubs you should have in your garden:

by Life Green Group and BotSoc

These six Grewia species of South Africa are not only a must have for a bird garden; attracting hordes of fruit-eating birds, the fruits they produce are also edible for humans. In traditional cultures the fruit of certain Grewia species are used to brew alcohol and eaten as a sweet treat.

All of the Grewia species are incredibly resilient and easy-going and a must have for any South African garden.The Grewia species was named after English physician Nehemiah Grew and form part of the Malvaceae family.

Life Landscapes, the landscaping division of Life Green Group uses them as screen plants and they make for attractive shrubbery with their yellow or pink flowers.

Mauve flowering Grewia species

Cross-berry (Grewia occidentalis)

The cross-berry has an incredible wide range across South Africa. The cross-berry is the tallest Grewia reaching six metres and 10 metres in ideal conditions. It does need some shear work to stay neat and tree-like. It is a rewarding shrub that flowers pinky-mauve blossoms all year round.

The fruits are consumed ravenously by bulbuls, barbets, mousebirds and other fruit loving birds. Humans can use the fruit to ferment beer and when dried and added to milk it makes for an excellent milk sweetener. In Zulu culture the wood of the cross-berry is used to make Assegai spears.

Read more about indigenous purple flowering trees by clicking here.

Karoo crossberry (Grewia robusta)

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grewia_robusta_-_Karookruisbessie_-_hedging_bush_of_South_Africa.jpg
Grewia robusta

Like the cross-berry the karoo crossberry also has wonderful bright pink blossoms that flower from August to December. The Grewia robusta is frost resistance and adaptable to all soil types, it does prefer a desert-like setting. It is best to grow them in moist clay and loamy soils and partially shady areas.

It makes for a good screen plants and a super addition to a bird garden. Its plum-like fruits have an acid tinge to them and are pleasant to eat, both cooked and raw.

Yellow flowering Grewia species

Brandybush (Grewia flava)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/berniedup/11422947756/in/photolist-ippA2T-ipprsE-ippAp7/
Grewia flava ©Bernard Dupont

The brandybush gets its name because its fruit can be distilled into a type of brandy or beer. This is the smallest of the South African Grewia species. It does not have an aggressive root system making it a good garden specimen. In the North West, Northern Cape and Limpopo wild animals rely on it for food. It has grey leaves that contrast its bright yellow flowers and spreads readily.

White raisin (Grewia bicolor)

The white raisin is a frost-hardy shrub that gets to nine metres. It can grow in most soils and is a water-wise choice. Its gets the second part of its Latin name from its bicolour leaves which are lighter on the bottom and darker on the top. The canary yellow flowers of the white raisin are smaller than the rest of the Grewia species and bloom from October to March.

Time to give the more tropical, less frost hardy, Grewias some yellow press:

Sandpaper raisin (Grewia flavescens)

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Grewia flavescens

The sandpaper raisin, like the brandybush, also has a sunny disposition with its sweetly perfumed, bumblebee yellow flowers.  It is tough and adaptable relies on wild animals for germination.  It can handle all types of soil and prefers a more temperate environment like the giant raisin. It is multi-stemmed and makes for a wonderful screen plant.

In Namibia the fruit is soaked in water to make a refreshing drink. It is also an essential bird garden plant for attracting frugivorous birds.  For more on how to attract fruit eating birds to the garden click here.

Giant raisin (Grewia hexamita) 

The giant raisin occurs on the Natal coast it has the largest flowers of the South African Grewia family and grows to about five metres high. This shrub is one of the most attractive Grewia species because of its large bright yellow flowers, rounded bushy crown and dark glossy leaves. Like all of the Grewia species the fruits can be fermented into moonshine. Birds and butterflies are attracted to its large scented flowers. It flowers ad-hoc all year round, especially in Summer. The giant raisin grows best and is more suited to a tropical environment with good rainfall like Natal. It is not easy to predict germination of seeds for this particular species, but once the seeds germinate, its growth is about 1 m high and produces fruits about 3 years later.

Go ahead and plant your own Grewia species.

Happy Gardening to all out readers!

 

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Do you realise just how special our backyard really is? Facts about The Cape Floral Kingdom

Written by Catherine Clulow

All too often we take for granted what’s right under our noses and for that very reason today we share some facts to remind, inform and/or highlight just how special our backyard really is. The facts shared in today’s blog are taken from SANBI Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, a wonder to visit to enjoy our amazing biodiversity and natural heritage.

So you may ask what’s a floral kingdom? Floral kingdoms are the largest natural units that can be determined for flowering plants. Regions that share the same combination of plant families form part of the same floral kingdom. There are six floral kingdoms of the world (Holarctic; Neotropical; Pelaeotropical; Australian; Cape; and Antarctic).

So what’s so special about the Cape Floral Kingdom? Here are 6 ‘wow factors’ for you:

  • It is the smallest of all the floral kingdoms
  • It is the only floral kingdom to fall completely inside the borders of a single country
  • It occupies about 90 000 square kilometres- that’s only 0.04% of the surface area of the Earth
  • It contains nearly 9000 species of flowering plants- that’s about 3% of Earth’s species
  • Two out of three species in the Cape Floral Kingdom are endemic, meaning they occur nowhere else on Earth. This is the highest level of endemism in the world!
  • The Cape Floral Kingdom is a World Heritage Site

The Cape’s vegetation is termed Fynbos. Yes many of our readers know what this is, but we share a bit more about Fynbos for those who may not, and you may too learn a thing or two you didn’t know or may not remember.

What’s so fine about Fynbos?

  • Fynbos is the vegetation that is found growing naturally on the mountains and coastal plains of the south-western tip of South Africa, unique to the area.
  • The name comes from the Dutch ‘fijn’ and ‘bosch’ meaning fine bush, referring to the very small leaves and flowers of many of the species.
  • Fynbos makes up 80% of the Cape Floristic Region/ Cape Floral Kingdom
  • Fynbos is characterised by the presence of four main plant groups: restios, proteas, heaths and geophytes, as well as seven plant families that only occur in fynbos
  • It’s amazingly diverse, and exceptionally rich in species, and occupies a relatively tiny area of land
  • Over 7000 species occur in 41 000 km2, and 80% of them occur nowhere else on Earth.
  • The Cape Peninsula alone has 2 600 species- that’s more than the total number of species in the British Isles- crammed into an area smaller than London
  • To emphasise the diversity try these comparatives, let’s blow your mind with some numbers: Comparing species diversity with other heathland communities in Australia and California, and with the rest of South Africa:

Cape Floristic Region/Cape Floral Kingdom- 94 species per 100 km2

Australia- 14 species per 100 km2

California- 12 species per 100 km2

The rest of SA- 8 species per 100 km2

Marvel in the Cape Floristic splendour, how can you not? Appreciate and safe guard our amazing biodiversity. We live in a truly special place and need to remember that and remind each other from time to time.

King Protea (Catherine Browne, Botanical Society of SA)
©Catherine Clulow

The Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc) is an NGO focusing on biodiversity conservation and awareness and environmental education and for over 103 years has been working with passionate partners and persons to conserve the natural heritage and flora of southern Africa. BotSoc’s mission is “ To win the hearts, minds, and material support of individuals and organisations, wherever they may be, for the conservation, cultivation, study and wise use of the indigenous flora and vegetation of southern Africa, for the benefit and sharing by all”. Find out more about BotSoc here and consider joining the BotSoc family.

Go out and learn about, appreciate and enjoy our Floral Kingdom and be proud of it!

Go Green: make a choice, make a change

Written by Catherine Clulow

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it”                 – Robert Swan-

In the ever changing world we live in and with the imminent risks our planet faces in light of climate change, we all need to do what we can to make a difference.

Here the Botanical Society of South Africa shares day to day ideas of what each of us can do to make a difference in going green, making the planet a better place, one day at a time. We don’t propose you must do each and every suggestion but you’ll see that many are easy and with a little reminder and thinking we can all contribute to greening our lifestyles.

32 Tips to get you thinking and being green in and around your home and garden

In the home:

  1. Switch off the water when you’re brushing your teeth
  2. Place a bucket in the sink and shower to collect water for watering your plants
  3. Set your washing machine to 30˚
  4. Drip-dry your clothes
  5. Put a brick in your cistern to save on water and use less water each flush
  6. Leave your geyser alone; concentrate your power savings elsewhere.
  7. Insulate your house properly
  8. Put on an extra layer of clothing before turning up the heat
  9. Shower rather than bath
  10. Clean and defrost your freezer regularly
  11. Use white vinegar, bicarb and water as a general cleaner
  12. Recycle & reuse
  13. Reuse your shopping bags- keep them in the boot of your car or handbag
  14. Go paperless but back up your data
  15. Understand what you’re doing with carbon offsets
  16. Walk more
  17. Carpool
  18. Once in a while have dinner in the dark, an unplugged evening

In the garden:

  1. Ensure you have permeable paving
  2. Start a compost heap and/or an earthworm farm
  3. Install drip irrigation instead of sprays
  4. Plant indigenous plants that are adapted to the natural water regime of your area
  5. Collect grey water for use on your garden
  6. Be bird-friendly but don’t overfeed your birds
  7. Minimise the amount of lawn in your garden
  8. Get to know your garden
  9. Grow your own veggies and herbs
  10. Embrace bees
  11. Install a water butt to catch roof water
  12. Companion plant
  13. Plant a tree on special occasions
  14. Expose your kids to nature and have dirty kids- and fewer allergies

So there you have a few ideas, there are so many ways in which we can live greener lives. Share your ideas with us in the comments below.

With the end of year around the corner, why not think of green gift ideas. Rather than bunches of cut flowers, how about a pot plant? How about planting a tree together as a family to remember the holidays and good times together? How about purchasing a BotSoc membership for your loved ones? Find out all about BotSoc membership here, your membership subscription contributes towards the operations of our NGO which strives to support biodiversity conservation and environmental awareness and education. Members enjoy great benefits for a full year. You can sign up and/or gift membership online here or visit the BotSoc Head Office or bookshops at Kirstenbosch.

May we together strive to live greener lives and each take a stand to safeguard our precious planet, we’ve only got one. Reuse, reduce, recycle! Go green: make a choice, make a change.

Plants never give up: the tale of Scadoxus multiflorus growing in London

Written by Gloria Gross and Catherine Clulow

We received this contribution from a loyal Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc) member, currently residing and gardening in London, England. Gloria regularly shares with the BotSoc Head Office the joys and trials of her passion for gardening. Her passion and fascination in plants is exciting to share, so here you have a short tale of Scadoxus multiflorus growing in London.

Who’s Gloria?

So by means of introduction firstly let us share a little about Gloria. Gloria is a designer and illustrator by profession, South African born and now retired and living and loving gardening in London. She left SA in her early years after completing her studies and traveled and worked around the world. Post 1994 she started returning to her birthland, SA and around about the same time joined the Botanical Society of SA.

Gloria remarks: Each year I turn up at Kirstenbosch for my ‘fix’! Standing in that wonderful January sunshine and heat and think – if only…As I reconnected with my roots I started to realise how much I loved native SA plants. The affinity I have with them. I feel a need to have them around me, in my garden. I also love the challenge of struggling with them in this climate especially to over-winter but with few exceptions – I have had some terrific results.

And here we share one example of one of her terrific success stories growing plants far from their homes.

Scadoxus multiflorus, commonly known as the blood flower, Catherine wheel, poison root or Fireball lily, is an indigenous South African plant, and member of the Amaryllidaceae family. With its strikingly showy floral display and evergreen foliage, this beauty is a real treat when its single flower blooms for the season. These plants albeit their beauty are poisinous.

Here’s Gloria’s experience growing this plant far from its home.

In April this year I bought a couple of Scadoxus multiflorus bulbs to replace one that had outgrown itself over the years. Being 7,000 miles away from their natural home they are obliged to live in my studio at the top of the house in London.

They’re not lonely up there because they have the company of several tropical favourites of mine – a Guava tree grown in a pot to make it possible. I planted the seed about six years ago and it’s been fruiting over the past few years. This year the fruits – all three of
them, were amazing in size and flavour. There are several Vygies, and a beautiful Hibiscus Rosa ninensis cooperii. In the winter – they have more company although my Proteas which are in pots seem to prefer remaining on the patio with bubble wrapped pots and fleece hoods at any sign of frost.

I first encountered Scadoxus some years ago in Camphor Avenue at Kirstenbosch and was blown away by it’s stunning colour and showiness. I was well tutored by Alice Notten whose knowledge is daunting and to whom I am really grateful.

The very healthy, large bulbs arrived in a box which I duly opened and left safe for planting. Now fast forward to September. These bulbs which I had unintentionally neglected had remained in their box growing strongly but very white as the box they were in shut out virtually all the light. It was also September and I had bought these to plant in April/May, being Spring here, and my guilt was mounting. There were three choices – plant them, hold to April or fling them. The third was discounted pretty quickly because the bulbs were so spectacular so I decided to plant there and then in pots to live as their predecessors had, in my studio as there’s no alternative in this climate.

That was 10th September. It’s been something of a manic race to complete their cycle. They absolutely had to flower no matter what. I find it incredible how they shot off as if nothing had happened, one far ahead of the other. The light was getting very low and autumn was beginning to close in. The first shoots turned green in a matter of days and on September 24th, the first flower was in open bud and fully opened on the 27th while the second plant was still very much in tight bud form.

 

But, not to be left behind in this survival race, and incredible by the 29th there was a beautiful flower waiting to open. On the 3rd October this second one opened whilst it’s companion was starting to droop.

8th October the first lot of crisp green leaves were stretching skywards and the competition arrived on the 14th. Now, on the 25th October just a month from starting this, the leaves are glossy and beautiful with two, now, withering flowers.

It feels like I have been watching a sped up movie. I wonder how long they will take to die down and rest before the next show and whether that will be back to the correct timing of April/May 2017? Isn’t it extraordinary how plants never give up.

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Isn’t that inspiring? It really is true, plants never give up and we ought to  take a lesson from them.

Happy gardening to all our readers! Until next time…

For more information:

Please visit PlantZAfrica here.

A bit about sun loving plants: the wonders found on one little hillside in Limpopo

Written by Sandra Lennox & Catherine Clulow

This is a small selection of plants in flower on a granite ridge in the Limpopo province during spring, some of which could suit water-wise gardens. This particular ridge seems to be a frost free area, as the cabbage tree, Cussonia spicata and the misty plume bush, Tetradenia riparia are sensitive to frost.

  1. A bit about the sun-kissed beauty, that is Bushman’s tea (Athrixia phylicoides), Asteraceae

This little bush, made more valuable by pruning to increase the shrubby density, can be used to make a refreshing health tea (by brewing its leaves and twigs), which is used as a stimulant in traditional herbal medicine in Venda, Limpopo Province. The wood is useful and the branches may be bound to form brooms for the patio or garden.

  1. The cabbage tree (Cussonia spicata), Araliaceae

In the garden the cabbage tree is drought resistant, having succulent roots. Although evergreen it is sensitive to frost. The tree may be grown in large pots, which also restricts the ultimate size.

In nature the cabbage tree is found on forest margins, in wooded grassland and on rocky outcrops.  Being hardy it occurs from the coast to mountains. It is evergreen but frost tender.  It occurs as an occasional tree approximately 4m tall. The crushed leaves have a faint carrot-like aroma. Cabbage trees have been found growing on a gentle west-facing slope in unburnt wooded grassland on granite and in full sun, where there is a tree with a thick trunk. These trees are in the savanna but in the forest nearby – northern mistbelt forest – there is a particularly large Cussonia spicata. The cabbage tree in the Woodbush Forest near Haenertsburg has grown to champion size having a trunk over 7.6 m (25 ft) in circumference, in addition to having an extraordinary height and crown spread. This particular tree grows in a hot, wet climate in the kloof and is recorded as one of the remarkable trees recorded by Thomas Packenham author, dendrologist/tree-fundi and historian, while “on safari in southern Africa”.

The subterranean, succulent roots provide moisture. In folk medicine the bark, leaves and roots have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Beware, as the roots are poisonous, although traditionally having been used medicinally against malaria, digestive and reproductive system ailments. The hollow, split stems have been used as trays, the wood is light and can be hollowed out, particularly for fodder and possibly for plant containers.

  1. The Cape beech (Rapanea melanophloeos), Myrsinaceae

This is an evergreen tree which grows up to 20m tall, though the small tree in flower and fruit can grow in a cottage garden as the roots are not aggressive. In nature, the Cape Beech occurs on forest margins, in bush clumps and often in damp places. It is a pioneer tree which occurs from the coast to mountains.

The wood is hard, pinkish brown, moderately heavy and suitable for carving, particularly for violins and other musical instruments. The Cape Beech has edible fruit. In folk medicine, bark is used as an expectorant and an emetic, with anodyne and tonic properties, the caveat being that these require development by the pharmaceutical industry, so probably should not be tested at home without supervision. The bark of the Cape Beech is used in folk medicine for protection.

The Cape Beech grows easily from seed and seedlings are transplanted readily. The trees are moderately drought resistant and can withstand a fair degree of frost. Trees grow in shade, full sun and tolerate onshore coastal winds. The fruit attracts birds such as barbets, guinea fowl, louries and pigeons.

  1. The African protea, white sugarbush (Protea gauguedii), Proteaceae

This is a spreading multi-stemmed shrub or small, gnarled tree. In nature the white sugarbush or African protea occurs in grassland and bushveld, in rocky places. The flower-head (inflorescence) is usually solitary and up to 110mm in diameter.

  1. Broad leaved boekenhout (Faurea rochetiana subspecies speciosa), Proteaceae

This is a small to medium, deciduous tree, with a crooked trunk, grey crown and reddish autumn colours which occurs in high grassland and woodland. There is a broad leaved boekenhout tree, ± 3 m tall with gnarled trunk, inflorescences ascending, growing on a gentle W-facing slope in unburnt wooded grassland on granite, in full sun in the Mamabolo Mountain Bushveld, near Houtbosdorp, Limpopo.

In folk medicine the roots of the broad leaved boekenhout are utilised. Faurea rochetiana (A.Rich.) Chiov. ex Pic.Serm. was named after C.L.X. Rochet d’Hericourt, a French chemist who explored Ethiopia (1839-1845).

  1. The straw everlasting, sewejaartijie (Helichrysum krausii), Asteraceae

This is an aromatic shrublet, growing up to 1m tall, which occurs in coastal grassland and in open woodland. For example, the straw everlasting is a common herb, ± 40 cm tall with yellow flowers, growing on a rocky ridge in unburnt wooded grassland on granite, in full sun in the Mamabolo Mountain Bushveld.  The straw everlasting is visited by honey-bees. It is easy to grow, may be grown from seed and needs full sun. The Helichrysum krausii was named after Christian Krauss, (1812-90), German scientist and collector, in South Africa (1839-40).

  1. Phymaspermum athanasioides (Asteraceae)

This is a common herb ± 40 cm tall with yellow flowers, growing on a rocky ridge in unburnt wooded grassland on granite, in full sun in the Mamabolo Mountain Bushveld.

  1. Misty plume bush or ginger bush, Tetradenia riparia, (Lamiaceae)

This is a robust, slightly succulent shrub, or occasionally small tree 1-3m high, up to 5m which occurs on wooded hillsides, in frost free areas. It occurs near rocky outcrops or at margins of evergreen forest, often near water. The flowers emerge, July to September, before leaves. The plants are dioecious, with male flower spikes 2-8cm long and with denser, female flower spikes 1-2.5cm long. The plants are lavender scented, used in folk medicine for coughs, sore throats, stomach aches and malaria. These hardy plants are easily grown from cuttings.

In conclusion, on this particular hillside, amongst the plants rapidly collected by a small group of plant enthusiasts, were a crow-berry (Searsia pentheri, Anacardiaceae) and a climbing numnum (Carissa edulis, Apocynaceae), several cabbage trees, broom and cluster leaved asparagus (Asparagus virgatus and A. laricinus, Asparagaceae) and an Aloe sp. (Asphodelaceae). There were at least seven species of Asteraceae including silver oak, straw everlasting, small leaved fluff bush and small-head camphor bush. Trees included the common spike thorn and the koko tree (Gymnasporia buxifolia and Maytenus undata, Celastraceae), blue guarri trees (Euclea crispa, Ebenaceae), Cape Beech (Rapanea melanophloeos, Myrsinaceae) and African wild olive (Olea europaea, ssp africana, Oleaceae). Useful plants included the African protea or white sugar bush, (Protea gaguedi, Proteaceae), Anthospermum welwitschii, (Rubiaceae), the lemon bush or fever tea (Lippia javanica, Verbenaceae) and the ginger bush (Tetradenia riparia, Lamaiaceae).

It seems that, just on this small hillside, there are trees and shrubs which may be used for fuel, there are those with edible fruit or from which tea may be made, there are plants with medicinal properties and there is wood which may be used for carvings or which were used historically for structures such as wagons. In terms of environment, this ridge probably would not have experienced frost and the vegetation is bushveld, savanna although there is mistbelt forest within walking distance. The diversity is surely worthy of appreciation and hence conservation and that is only the plants, there are also birds, lizards and more.

Biodiversity in our country is diverse and fascinating! We hope you learnt something from and enjoyed the sharings of this blog post from the BotSoc Limpopo branch. Find out more about the Botanical Society of South Africa here.

Acknowledgements

This blog has been written with gratitude for the field notes and plant identifications by Barbara Turpin, Buffelskloof Nature reserve, Lydenburg and Bronwyn Egan, Curator, Larry leach Herbarium, University of Limpopo. Most photographs are courtesy of Pat Lennox, though the photographs of the Cape Beech, Rapanea melanophloeos are by Barbara Turpin.

References

Boon, R. 2010. Pooley’s Trees of Eastern South Africa. Durban: Natal Flora Publications Trust

Champion Tree Project (2002 onwards). Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).  (Internet: http://www.championtrees.co.za/files/26111/championtreesofsamay2016.pdf; accessed September 2016).

Coates-Palgrave, M. 2002. Keith Coates Palgrave Trees of Southern Africa, 3rd edn. Cape Town: Struik.

Packenham, T. 2007. In search of remarkable trees. On safari in southern Africa. Jonathan Ball, Johannesburg.

Pooley, E. 2005. A field guide to wildflowers KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern region. Natal Flora Publications Trust, Durban.

Vandecasteele, P., Godard, P. 2006. In celebration of Fynbos, gardening, healing, cooking, decorating. Stuik, Cape Town.

Van Wyk, B.-E. & Gericke, N.  2000. People’s Plants. A Guide to useful Plants of Southern Africa. Pretoria: Briza Publications, p 102, 103, 312.

Van Wyk, B. & Van Wyk, P. 2013. Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Nature.

Venter, F. & Venter, J-A. 2002. Making the most of indigenous trees. Briza, Pretoria.

 

 

Roots of Sustainability Garden- come see us at the CT Flower Show (*Giveaway up for grabs*)

Hello readers. You may or may not have heard yet that The Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc) will be participating in the unmissable Cape Town Flower Show at the Castle of Good Hope 27-30 October 2016.

show-garden

BotSoc have collaborated with Metro, and brought partners Reliance on board to bring visitors an awesome show garden at the Cape Town Flower Show this year- the Roots of Sustainability Garden– where we’ll be showcasing easy and effective ways to harvest rainwater and irrigate your garden, as well as tips for being water-wise and choosing indigenous plant options. There will be a variety of inspiring ideas on creating your perfect water-wise garden and making indigenous plant choices. View your roof in a whole different light and make your home sustainable.

Water is a scarce and dwindling resource, and South Africa is a dry country with unpredictable rainfall and an ever increasing demand for it. As the demand for this precious resource grows, so will its price along with legislation discouraging excessive use. It is, therefore, important to garden for the future.

Water-wise gardens cut down water usage but are still beautiful and, as there are so many indigenous options to choose from, water-wise gardening should be the norm.

Metro Roof|Solar|Electric, Reliance and BotSoc all fully support this notion and so have collaborated to participate in this year’s CT Flower Show to demonstrate to the general public tips and ideas on how to garden water-wise and sustainably. Visit our Roots of Sustainability Garden at the show (Garden 11), where we hope to educate and inspire. Be sure to pick up our brochure on 7 principles of water-wise gardening too.

We will highlight energy harvesting methods and water-wise gardening tips.

You can also find out all about BotSoc membership and add to your collection of natural heritage books at the BotSoc Bookshop. They will be located in the exhibitors’ hall and are sure to have an array of spectacular choices available, including authors from some of the CT Flower Show workshops and presentations. A great spot to get a gift and/or to spoil yourself with a book, BotSoc membership and/or a goodie or two.

Please remember to bring your plastic as the event is cashless, using WAP only. For all visitor information, please read here.

*WIN WIN WIN*

Stand the chance to WIN 2 TICKETS to the Cape Town Flower Show! Trust us you don’t want to miss out on this event. There’s something for everyone!

How to enter:

Simply comment below what the Metro/BotSoc/Reliance Roots of Sustainability Garden will be highlighting to visitors.

Terms and Conditions:

  • This prize may not be won by any staff member of BotSoc or their direct family members or any associated companies to the Cape Town Flower Show.
  • The prize is redeemable at the complimentary ticket counter at the Castle of Good Hope and valid for one day’s entrance only.
  • Giveaway entries close Wednesday 19th October 2016.
  • Please note that you can only enter once and the winner will be chosen by random.org. We will contact you via email and your name and contact will be shared with the CT Flower Show organising team to ensure you’re on the guest list, and they’ll get in touch with you regarding redeeming your tickets.

Best of luck! And if you don’t win, no need for FOMO, you can get your tickets here or at the door.

Follow, like and engage with the BotSoc family on Facebook and Twitter. Find out more about and engage with the lovely folk from Reliance on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. Engage with the sustainable Metro team on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you and see you there. It’d be great if you could share this blog with others so they to can stand a chance to win.

 

 

 

Bring the birds singing into your garden

Written by Catherine Clulow

What’s better than waking up to the chirping, chittering and song of birds in the garden? And not only waking up to those melodies but having regular visitors, enjoying your garden with you, helping with pests, pollinating, offering fascination, beauty and diversity…. Birds are a joy and today this blog shares some tips to bring the birds singing into your garden

Meet birds’ 3 easy-to-cater-for basic needs and they will come

  1. Food

Plant trees and shrubs that offer fruits and berries, seeds or nectar that our flying friends love. And/or incorporate plants in your garden that encourage and attract insects that birds in your area feed on.

  1. Water

Provide a birdbath, pond or water feature and you could double the number of visiting birds. Ensure that there are ample perching options for the birds to enjoy these wet wonders.

  1. Shelter

Create spaces where birds can hide from predators, take refuge in bad weather, and build their nests. Trees, shrubs and tall grasses, as well as piled up logs, hollow tree trunks and made-to-order bird houses all provide excellent shelter.

Kevin Sields (2)
Cape White-eye © Kevin Shields

Who might you meet…

Orange-breasted sunbirds are attracted by brightly coloured tubular flowers, like ericas, aloes, leonotis etc.

Orange Breasted Sunbird - Mark Booysens
Orange breasted sunbird © Mark Booysens

Plants like the sweet pea bush (Podalyria calyptrata) attract insects, which will attract birds like the Cape Batis.

Cape Batis- Kevin Shields
Cape Batis © Kevin Shields

The Cape White-eye feeds on many garden pests like aphids and scale insects, as well as fruit and nectar.

Cape White-eye- Kevin Shields
Cape White-eye © Kevin Shields

May you soon be whistling and singing along with your flighted friends. Happy gardening! Share with us in the comments below which birds you’ve had the pleasure of hosting in your garden.