Winter is soon coming to an end and spring madness is quickly approaching. Good times, warm weather and ‘socially distanced’ South African braais are hopefully around the corner. This shouldn’t, however, distract you from what you need to do to get your garden ready for the season too. I’ve put together a little ‘To-do list’ of the more important tasks to help you get started. (more…)Read More
by Johandie Slabbert
With August being Women’s month, I decided to write a piece about a couple of thousand special ladies, but through the eyes of a very talented rose expert, Ludwig Taschner. (more…)Read More
If you’ve made the change to working from home recently you may find that you have a bit more time on your hands to spend around the house rather than commuting to and from work. We spoke to Kerwyn Fourie, Chairperson of the Guild of Landscape Designers and Director and Co-Owner of Purple Turtle Concepts, about current landscape trends and the best way to care for your winter garden.
There’s a misconception that gardening or landscaping during winter is unthinkable. However, nothing could be further from the truth and not doing some winter gardening means you are missing an opportunity to make the most of your garden year-round.
Autumn and winter are the best times for pruning, splitting, transplanting and planting new frost-hardy plants in preparation for the upcoming growing season. In general, we tend to not make enough use of our garden in the colder months, but I think it’s crucial we begin to change that idea, especially during lockdown.
Create Outdoor Rooms
The garden can be a temporary escape to clear your mind. If possible, try to move your office or workspace outdoors occasionally to make working at home more bearable. We suggest even attempting to divide your garden into different “rooms” for various activities or members of the household. Areas like specific play areas for kids, reading nooks, a sunny spot for breakfast or a warm drink, herb and vegetable garden, entertainment areas and the “outdoor office” as mentioned above. Linking these “rooms” will also create an interesting meander through the garden, instead of seeing everything in one go from your living room window.
Start a Vegetable Garden
We’re seeing increased interest in edibles, which has created a boom in herb and vegetable sales for gardens. Vegetable and herb gardens should be a garden feature. Far too often they are designed in a utilitarian way or exiled to the far outskirts of the yard, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It pays to be a bit more creative and brave when designing these spaces. Also, nothing is more rewarding than saying “I got this straight from my own garden” when prepping meals for friends and family while cutting down on trips to the grocery store.
Even in winter, it is possible to harvest a bounty from your garden. You can sow hardy things like cabbage, cauliflower, lettuces, spring onion, broccoli, peas, perpetual spinach and kale. In terms of herbs, you can’t go wrong with rosemary, thyme, parsley and mint.
We are, however, quite prone to frost, especially on the Highveld, but dealing with it is not as difficult as one might think. It just takes some planning.
Consider planting more frost-hardy plants in your garden and staying away from more tender varieties. But if you absolutely must have those more fragile plants, then consider moving plants in pots to more protected areas and use frost covers to protect larger, immovable or extremely sensitive plants.
Unfortunately, if you do have a lot of plants that need to be covered your garden will look like a mass of spider webs, which isn’t the prettiest thing to look at. Even with effective protection, native plants may get a bit damaged from frost, but we like to look at it as nature’s way of pruning and toughening them up.
Find more gardening info on our website here.Read More
Winter comes with a set of maintenance jobs that simply need to be done to ensure your home stays in tip-top shape over the colder months. We share a few of the most important jobs that need to be done here.
Fireplaces and Insulation
Your fireplace is going to bring you a lot of joy this winter. From traditional to electric fireplaces they all need their type of maintenance to remain in good condition. Traditional fireplaces require a proper clean including the chimney. If you use your fireplace, have it cleaned by a chimney sweep. You should also check for any debris and cracks in the chimney. Beware of creosote buildup and debris such as leaves and bird nests could become a fire hazard.
Your electrical fireplace is much easier to clean as it does not require a chimney and does not have any debris from burning logs. A quick clean over with a damp cloth will do the trick for your electric fireplace.
It is also vital to make sure your home is properly insulated. This is something you may have to do in late summer already, but you still have time. Good insulation will save you lots of money this winter. Read more about insulation here.
This may not be an important maintenance job for you if you do not live in the Western Cape where winter brings a lot of rain. The first thing to do is to make sure there is a clear path for water to move away from your home. Check your exterior pipes and gutters to make sure they are free from debris. Also, check for leaks and breaks that could make gutters and pipes less effective.
Your roof is vital in protecting your home from water damage. Check for broken or moved tiles and possible weak spots. Watermarked ceilings are an indicator that your roof needs a repair. Look out for damp spots, mould or bubbling paint on the interior and exterior walls. Although most homes have waterproofing systems, older homes are most susceptible to issues such as rising damp. Damaged pipes, irrigation systems, wall placement and roof issues could be the source of your waterproofing problem.
Trim and Store
Your winter home maintenance checklist should include trimming any dead tree limbs so they don’t fall and damage your home during the dry winter. If you need to remove large limbs or remove a tree, it may be best to hire a professional to help you with the job.
Now is also a good time of year to store seasonal garden equipment. Lawnmowers and edge cutter can be cleaned and put away for the winter. Make sure all seasonal tools such as rakes, pruning shears and garden shovels are stored inside your garage.
Need help with your winter preventative maintenance? Find an expert in HOMEMAKERS to help you get the job done.
Mamela sengoloa sena ka Sotho mona (Listen to this article in Sotho here)Read More
From the dry landscapes in Alexander Bay and the hot temperatures in Vioolsdrif, to rainy climates like Franschhoek, and Sutherland, the coldest place in South Africa – it seems that every province comes with its own climate. Every region has a grass type that works the best for that region. Whether you need widely adapted (exotic) or indigenous wild grasses, there is a lawn grass solution for absolutely every possible application in Southern Africa! This should be great news to those who struggle with their grass. MayFord shares some great insight with us, so take a look and identify which grass type will suit your lawn the best.
MayFord has become a household name as the trusted and tested seed brand. The MayFord packaging comes with easy to follow planting instructions and the expiry date printed on the packaging gives the customer the insurance that the seed is always fresh.
Waterwise Indigenous Grasses:
LM Berea is indigenous to South Africa and originally found on the KwaZulu Natal coast and into Mozambique. It performs very well in shady to semi-shaded conditions, but it can also be planted in the sun. The name ‘LM Berea’ derives from the former name for Maputo (Lourenco Marques) and Berea, a suburb of Durban. LM is heat tolerant and can recover from drought and heat stress through its creeping growth habit. LM is a water-wise shade-tolerant creeper that promises rapid establishment from seed.
Princess is an indigenous fine-textured Cynodon Dactylon grass variety. Perfected on the golf course, Princess is the most advanced Cynodon variety available and has a creeping growth habit with a medium-fine texture with excellent colour. Princess is suitable to plant in the full sun and has excellent drought, heat and wear tolerance which makes this grass very suitable to the home garden as well as bigger landscape areas, sports fields and golf course fairways.
Buffalo Grass (Stenotaphrum Secondatum) is a unique grass seed that is indigenous, Waterwise, and tolerates both sun and semi-shade. Buffalo is a perennial creeper grass and is heat tolerant and drought tolerant. Sounds a bit like LM Berea right? The difference is that Buffalo grows naturally in most coastal areas and is therefore very well known all over the Cape region. A perennial creeping grass with long stolons, it forms a dense coarse mat. Leaf-sheaths are prominently flattened. It is therefore slightly more coarse than LM Berea with a lighter green colour. Buffalo grass grows naturally in coastal regions, always near the coast or close to some source of water. It grows in all types of soils. It is also found inland as a lawn grass.
Cool Season Grasses:
MayFord’s cool-season grasses have been locally trialled and tested for 30 years to develop a perfect mixture of lawn seed specifically focused on South African conditions. They are referred to as cool-season grasses as they prefer to be planted in cool seasons ie; spring and autumn, and since they do not creep, you will never need a weed-eater! Watch for correct (much higher) cutting height. These grasses have become brands in their own right and are the only grasses available in South Africa in both seed and instant lawn. Ask for them by name!
All Seasons Evergreen®
All Seasons Evergreen® has been designed to grow in full sun and semi-shade conditions. Unlike the creeping grasses, this grass mixture will stay green throughout the year, no matter how cold it gets. All Seasons Evergreen® can thrive in a wide variety of growing conditions and reduced susceptibility to disease without compromising the overall uniformity of the lawn’s appearance.
Shade-Over® has been designed to grow in full shade and semi-shade. The combination of All Seasons Evergreen® and Shade-Over® thus covers the whole spectrum from shade to full sun while maintaining a uniform appearance. Shade-Over® has been designed to cope with low light intensities under trees and on the south sides of walls. This grass mixture will also stay green throughout the year.
LM Berea is currently the most popular and best-selling MayFord lawn grass. MayFord is the first seed company that can supply LM grass in the form of seeds. The fact that LM Berea grass is indigenous, means it can be planted in full sun, semi-shade and shaded areas. It is relatively heat tolerant and Waterwise making it the top-seller grass that considers South Africa’s climate.
Kikuyu remains a popular grass largely due to ease of maintenance. It is not indigenous to SA (indigenous to East Africa) and is therefore not exactly Waterwise. Either way, Kikuyu is easy to establish from seed provided the sowing guide on the seed packet is followed carefully. Kikuyu tends to ‘thatch’ and therefore needs a fair amount of attention in early spring including scarification every other season.
Biomosome™ grass has been developed according to the various biome areas of South Africa. They represent a significant advantage on the all-purpose veld seed mixtures which are easily available. The initial purpose of these veld grass mixtures was to rehabilitate natural veld, but they can also be used within the landscaping environment to create an aesthetic effect in bigger landscape areas. These grass mixtures can be planted in shaded or sunny areas and are both heat and drought tolerant.
Top Tips for the Coming Summer
Mowing defines a lawn. Do it right and the result is a healthy, manicured and dense lawn. The practice of mowing is highly stressful for the grass plants. Never remove more than ⅓ of the blade length at a time. The mowing frequency will depend on the growth rate of the grass.
MayFord suggests cutting grass growing in full sun at about 40 to 50 mm and grass growing in shade between 50 and 80 mm – the deeper the shade the higher the cutting height.
The amount of irrigation needed will largely depend on the type of grass that was planted. Overwatering causes waterlogged soils that encourage diseases. The soil in shade areas often tends to be over watered and thus is often too wet and generally of poor physical condition. Creeping grasses should be watered during their growing season. The correct irrigation frequency and quantity will also depend on prevailing temperatures. Deep and less frequent irrigation will encourage deep root growth. Shallow irrigation confines the roots to the upper soil levels where they will be regularly exposed to dry conditions. This stresses the plants, slows the growth rate and increases their susceptibility to disease.
Lawns are some of the most densely planted areas – if you think about it, it is thousands of plants that grow together in limited space in the ground. The soil nutrient carrying capacity of permanent lawns is quickly exhausted. A fertilizer programme will ensure that the plants have the necessary nutrients available to sustain growth during the growing season by providing the correct nutrient environment in the soil. We recommend organic fertilizer and ‘Bio Ganic Lawns’ from Atlantic Fertilizers is a perfect companion for our entire range of grasses. For a more detailed fertilizer programme, consult any leading garden centre or retailer.
Did You Know?
MayFord is a proud member and sponsor of various associations within the green industry, that include SANA (SA Nursery Association), SAGIC (SA Green Industries Council), Cape Green Forum and SALI (SA Landscapers Institute). MayFord is also a proud sponsor of an annual SALI award, awarded to the landscape company with the best use of colour in a landscape project.
MayFord has a team of specialists that are always on standby to give lawn advice and with a professional after-sales service. The MayFord website under the “Grasses” section is also a fantastic guide filled with information and guidelines on the soil preparation, planting and caring for all the various MayFord grass varieties.
For the full product range and planting instructions please visit the MayFord’s website.
by MayfordRead More
Growing your own vegetable and herb garden is not only a fantastic sustainable way to live but also surprisingly rewarding – even for those without green fingers. You can start off with easy growing vegetables like tomatoes, carrots and herbs such as basil, parsley and mint. As you gain confidence you can try others that may take more skill to grow successfully. (more…)Read More
March is time to get your garden ready for autumn planting. The current lockdown in South Africa means you won’t be able to buy new plants just yet (the days are still a bit too hot anyway) but the extra time is a chance to prepare your garden for planting. (more…)Read More
Renovations and remodelling is always welcomed by the homeowner. Updating your home and keeping it up to date is always a good idea, especially when selling is on the cards in the future. There are a few things that home buyers and real-estate appraisal experts love to see when they are on the lookout for new homes. From revamping kitchens to updating bathrooms – we look at what types of renovations can increase the value of your home.
A fully functional and newly renovated kitchen is always important when it comes to increasing value. An outdated kitchen can easily bring down the value of your home. If you are considering a kitchen revamp carefully consider the cost of your materials versus the value of the kitchen afterwards. A big project like a kitchen revamp is not something you want to lose any money on in the end.
One of the first things people look out for before buying a home is the condition of the bathrooms. Old bathrooms with outdated tiles can really put potential buyers off. Adding an extra bathroom is always a good idea if you have the space. If not, update the fittings, fixtures and amenities in your current bathrooms.
Everybody loves a study in a home. Having to convert a bedroom into a study is not always convenient, so creating the space for one by additional building, is a sure way to increase the value of your home.
A beautiful garden can sell any type of home. If a garden is well kept and creatively designed, you can be guaranteed that it will increase the value of your home. A large garden with lots of lawn, a pool and a patio is a seller for sure. Whether you are selling or not, a home that looks gorgeous from the street is what every homeowner strives for.
Epic Braai Areas
Believe it or not, but outside entertainment areas or epic braai areas are an important element that will add to your home’s overall value. Multifunctional outdoor entertainment areas are something buyers are always looking for.
Looking to renovate? Find an expert right here on HOMEMAKERS.Read More
Autumn can be a tough time for many people. It is the reluctant change to cooler weather with a distant memory of hot summer days by the pool. Besides that, there is also a very real situation, we as South Africans find ourselves in. With the scary COVID-19 virus hitting South Africa pretty hard, we do not have a choice but to stay at home.
That being said, autumn brings a lot of jobs to start doing around the house. We have compiled a list of preventative maintenance jobs to try this season. Now is the time to get started on and oversee projects which have long needed your attention.
Inspect The Roof
This is a good time to inspect your roof and see if there is any debris accumulating from the leaves that are falling from the trees. Inspect your roof, or get a pro to do it for you! Have general look over on your roof and check for wear and tear. Check pipes and chimneys. If you have any leaks or gaps you could be in trouble. Gutters are also important to check this time of year. Clogged gutters can cause all kinds of problems, especially when water can pool in and around it.
Check for pests and insects too. You do not want anyone else other than your family settling in for winter.
Give all your garden tools and machinery a good clean down. The usual maintenance jobs slow down in your garden and things like mowing the lawn become much less. Trim dead branches and get raking. Rake or blow the dead leaves off the lawn or, better yet, use a mulching mower to shred them into fine pieces.
Put the raked leaves in the compost pile or use as a mulch. Fallen leaves are an excellent source of nutrients.
Doors and Windows
The cold creeps in everywhere. A window or door that cannot seal properly when closed is going to result in cold air infiltration and unnecessary drafts. Check for glazing putty around window glass that may be cracked or is already crumbling. Repair this as soon as you can.
Check the condition of exterior caulk around all doors by looking for cracks that could ultimately lead to the cold creeping in, as well as critters. Mice are tiny and can easily sneak into your house given the opportunity.
Need help with your autumn preventative maintenance? Find an expert in HOMEMAKERS to help you get the job done. You can also visit our Facebook page to get inspiration for daily activities at home.Read More