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Art in the landscape

Picture: DDS Projects

When Michael and Rose Jordaan of Bartinney wine estate, on the Helshoogte Pass outside Stellenbosch, decided to restore a terraced vineyard to its natural, steep slope, effective water and soil management became critical. Instead of planting a cover crop, they decided to re-introduce endemic fynbos among the new Chardonnay vines. Landscaper Danie Steenkamp of DDS Projects was responsible for the ambitious scheme and harvested seeds of hardy, local Renosterveld species to be propagated. Stellenbosch land artist Strijdom van der Merwe came on board to create the Bartinney emblem, the mythical winged figure of Elevage, in the landscape. “Elevage is a French wine-making term that reflects the art in the creation of a wine by liberating the grapes to reveal their most noble characteristics,” explains Rose. “The winged figure also reflects the great heights that we farm at – this vineyard reaches 550 metres above sea level.” When it came to reproducing the figure in the landscape, survey pegs were laid out to mark its shape. “The vines were planted across, then inside the silhouette we planted low-growing helichrysum. Outside we planted endemic fynbos, various grasses and lots of bulbs,” explains Danie. It’s an artwork that will change with the seasons. “It’ll look its best in winter when the vines die back and the Chasmanthe floribunda bulbs flower en masse.”



t’s been a busy start to 2014 and, with each month that whizzes by, I feel saddened by the sight of my vegetable garden, which is in much need of love and attention. If, like me, you enjoy the idea of an organic crop but never seem to get around to tending your own veggie patch, then visit one of the community gardens that are popping up around our city. It’s remarkable to see how productive these gardens are; and not only do they encourage us to learn how to grow our own, but they also bring neighbourhoods together. You can take inspiration on page 14. One exciting community project is the new herb, vegetable and fruit garden currently under construction at The Company’s Garden. Cape Town was originally established to provide fresh produce to passing ships, and now the City has taken the decision to turn an old parking lot in the gardens back into a Dutch-period produce garden. The Dutch Garden will act as an educational resource for individuals and communities


interested in urban agriculture by sharing and explaining appropriate food gardening methods, plus it will teach visitors young and old about the medicinal properties of herbs and vegetables. We’ve included the landscape plan below and will keep you posted on its development. There is also a strong focus on natural gardening in our city. We take a closer look at a mature example on page 10 that demonstrates how these type of gardens can create long-term, sustainable solutions to the challenges of our coastal landscape. Then nothing beats the magical sound of moving water. In Fix Your Space on page 26, John Richardson looks into how modern materials are being used to shape imaginative water features. I adore flowering climbers and I use them whenever I can to soften a façade or create shade. There is nothing like a tumbling creeper to greet you at the front door. Marijke Honig shares some of her favourites on page 22. We would love to hear about your favourite projects, plants and gardens, too. Send your thoughts and ideas to

The landscape plan for the new Dutch Garden at The Company’s Garden

ISSUE 12 . AUTUMN 2014



gARdening on the Cape coast

Water by

design WinTeR HARVesT Cape Town produces

Cover: A Llandudno garden that integrates with nature (see page 10). Picture by Claire Bunkell.


5-9 In Brief: Industry news and views 30 Profile: Clare Burgess talks plants and design 32 Objects: Upcycling


A no-garden garden in Llandudno A peaceful oasis in Oranjezicht


Edible gardens transforming the city


22 Plant Palette: A guide to climbers 24 Vegetate: How to grow olive trees 26  Fix Your Space: Imaginative water features EDITOR Cara Smith: MANAGING EDITOR Anne Duncan: DESIGNER Tamzon Woodley: PHOTOGRAPHY Claire Bunkell: ADVERTISING BOOKINGS Jackie Mitchell: 021 762 5414 / 079 978 9969 Tamzon Woodley: 083 635 9919 WEBSITE LIKE US ON FACEBOOK pages/Landscape-Design-and-Garden-Magazine CIRCULATION AND DISTRIBUTION 10 000 biannually throughout the Western Cape We take care to ensure articles are fair and accurate and cannot accept any responsibility for loss or damage that may arise if readers act on advice given. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written permission.

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IN SIDE Providing your plants with optimum nutrition has just become a whole lot easier. To obtain lush, healthy growing plants, gardeners need to ensure that the plant available food closely matches the seasonal requirement of their plants throughout the growth cycle. Mulitcote’s unique controlled release fertilizer, Multicote (8) 15-3-12 Mg + Me (K7996 Act 36 of 1947), can be applied as a single application now - and still provide the ideal rate of nutrition several months later at the end of the growing season. This means that, irrespective of the time of season or the growth rate of your plants, your garden will have the nutrients available for healthy growing. The technology allows for an increased release rate of nutrients as soil temperature increases; always closely following the growing and feeding requirements of your plants. Thereby ensuring strong, healthy and happy plants while also promoting optimum nutrient use efficiency and minimal losses or adverse environmental effects. Gerrit Burger, Agronomist of Haifa South Africa, explains: “Due to Multicote’s unique controlled release technology, the release rate will be higher with high soil temperature and slower with cooler temperatures, always closely matching the nutritional demands of your plants under such conditions.” Multicote (8) 15-3-12 Mg + Me is a well balanced fertilizer that meets the needs of most garden and indoor plants when grown in balanced growing mediums and soils. Even beginner gardeners can now grow lush, beautiful plants if they follow the guidelines below: Potted plants: Apply 3-7g per litre of growing medium. Mix the required dosage into the growing medium prior to filling the pots for the best results, or dose each pot individually. Flowerbeds: Apply 30-50g per square metre. Be sure to spread it evenly before turning into the bed, or cover with suitable mulch or compost. Small ‘trees’: Apply 300g (small tree) up to 1kg (large tree). Divide the dosage per tree into four portions and apply into slots 5cm deep radiating around the wetting area of each tree. A general rule is to always use a lower dosage for sensitive plants and the higher one for heavy feeders. It is always best to incorporate Multicote into the growing medium or cover with a suitable mulch or compost. Do not apply Multicote directly against the stem or roots. Lastly, it is important to water your plants carefully to ensure they get just the right amount. The advantages of using Multicote are: • Easy, precise application of nutrients for each plant. • Most advanced fertilizer use efficiency • No contamination of ground water •

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5 minutes with...

Eric Cherry

Bound for Chelsea


he 2014 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, held in London from 20-24 May, will see two Cape Town exhibitors this year. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens will be back for its 39th show, with designers David Davidson and Ray Hudson presenting their 21st exhibit – and hoping for yet another Chelsea gold medal. Their theme this year is ‘In Harmony with Nature’ and the exhibit will feature vegetation from four natural habitat types integrated with outstanding examples of nature-

Above: David Davidson and Ray Hudson show their 2013 Chelsea gold medal. This year they’re exhibiting for the 21st time.

inspired design. These include a forest habitat featuring the new Kirstenbosch treetop walkway, a savanna habitat with a bird’s nest hide, a contemporary fynbos garden and a pristine mountain ravine ecosystem. There’ll also be “a unique tribute to Madiba” they say. Brand new to Chelsea is the City of Cape Town, which will be celebrating its status as 2014 World Design Capital with a special exhibit.

WDC status for Intaka


ntaka Island Environmental Education Centre has been selected as a World Design Capital (WDC) Cape Town 2014 project. It’s been hailed as a prime example of urban development and nature conservation working together to provide innovative, sustainable solutions, and maximising these into educational opportunities. Intaka not only preserves a wetland ecosystem, but also helps to clean the water in the Century City canal system by filtering it through a series of ponds. The Education Centre, built in 2010, has recently been added to with a new energy classroom, designed by DHK Architects, that demonstrates energyefficient building practices to groups of visiting school children. “Eight sun tubs or solar panels have been installed

on the roof to harvest sunlight and to supply the classroom with electricity, while large glass sliding doors have been installed to reduce the need for artificial lighting,” says Environmental Manager Alan Liebenberg. “We’re also installing wind turbines which, together with the solar panels, should allow the building to operate completely off the grid.” The classroom is built from polystyrene bricks, which have greater insulation properties than regular bricks; vents and windows allow for optimal natural air flow; and a vertical garden on the north-facing wall also helps to keep the classroom cool. As a WDC project, Intaka will showcase its story with daily guided tours on foot and by ferry. • See for more info


Horticulturist Eric Cherry owns Urban Landscape Solutions and wholesale production nursery, New Horizen Farm. How did you get started in landscaping? Ever since I was a toddler, I’ve grown and collected plants. I started in the industry in 1979 with a horticultural apprenticeship with the South African Railways in Pretoria. How has the industry changed over the years? When I started in the business, there were no landscape architects and gardens were planted with exotic plants. The industry is now far more professional, with a strong emphasis on waterwise and indigenous planting. This is evolving into an interest in endemic or specific/ specialist garden types, like coastal thicket or strandveld. Food gardens have become very popular, and there’s a lot more hard landscaping. How do you strive for sustainability? I feel very privileged to have been involved in projects such as the rehabilitation of the Lourens River in Somerset West and now Cogmanskloof outside Montagu. We save as much plant material on site as possible, and propagate from this material to ensure that the gene pool of our plants is endemic to the site. This propagation also allows us

to bring rare plants onto the market. What are the projects you are most proud of? For me, one contract that is really a long-term legacy is Green Point Urban Park. Very few people will get the privilege to build a 12,5-hectare world-class park in the middle of a city like Cape Town. I have also built gardens on some of the most exclusive private residences in the city. I’m now proud to be building the new Dutch Garden at The Company’s Garden. What projects have presented the biggest challenges? The Lost City gardens at Sun City were challenging just because of their sheer size and complexity. Then there was preparing the new Erinvale Golf Course for the 1996 World Cup of Golf, and the One&Only project, where the contract was accelerated by nearly a year. We were given an effective 10 weeks to complete it! What do you think the city still needs to focus on in terms of good landscape design? Green Point and Khayelitsha Harare Precinct 3 have set a high standard for public parks. The city now needs to upgrade many of its older, outdated parks. •

Green Point Urban Park



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Picture: Claire Bunkell


Framing the mountain


ook out for large yellow frames appearing around the city in 2014. As part of an official World Design Capital 2014 project, and to celebrate Table Mountain being named one of the New7Wonders of Nature, local artist Porky Hefer has designed an interactive artwork that

will frame the mountain from key view sites. The bright yellow frames are 2.8 metres tall by 4 metres wide and have so far been erected at the V&A Waterfront, on Signal Hill and at Eden on the Bay in Blouberg. When the project is complete, there’ll be seven frames in total.

Conference explores design The 2014 conference of The Institute for Landscape Architecture in South Africa (ILASA) will take place at UCT on 4-5 September. To tie in with Cape Town’s 2014 World Design Capital status, the theme is Reflection and Innovation in Design, and keynote speakers will reflect on and explore innovation in both education and practice.

Perking up produce


he Vineyard Hotel in Newlands has launched a pilot programme in which gourmet mushrooms are grown on waste coffee grounds – and a month in has already harvested 15kg of perfect pink oysters. Head of sustainability, Chris van Zyl says, “Our Food and Beverage outlets generate 150kg of coffee grounds in an average month. We place a high premium on sustainability practices, so we knew we had a perfect fit when urban farming specialists,

Artisan Mushrooms, approached us with their ‘no waste’ idea for growing mushrooms. They’re now considering project extensions to allow for a greater selection and seasonal varieties.” The hotel’s coffee grounds are collected and delivered to an off-site production unit, where mushrooms are grown, harvested and delivered back to its restaurant within six weeks. In January and February, the hotel also harvested 40kg of produce from its vegetable and herb garden.

THE CONSTANT GARDENER We bring you advice from the experts in this column in every issue

Winter vegetables Nurseryman Pedro Arends of Ferndale Nurseries in Constantia gives advice on how to get a bumper harvest from your garden this winter.


s the yields of your summer crop start thinning out, it’s time to start planning your new winter veggie patch. Remember that location is a key factor. Most vegetables require a minimum of five to six hours of direct sunlight a day. So think carefully about where your veggie patch will get the most sun, especially in our cloudy and wet Cape winters, when the sun’s ray are less intense. Soil preparation is also paramount if you want a good yield. Adding copious amounts of well-rotted organic manure or compost is an absolute must to ensure healthy leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach. A sprinkling of bonemeal when planting also assists

seedlings to develop an extensive root system, thus enabling better uptake of water and fertilisers. Think about the practical aspect of accessibility when you plant, too. Create narrow drills so that plants are within arm’s length when you’re weeding or harvesting. Create wide, central pathways between each crop so that you do not compact the soil too much by standing between seedlings. Remember, earthworms and other beneficial insects require a well-aerated soil to be at their most efficient. Good winter vegetables to plant include anything from the brassica family, such as green and red cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Kale also grows well, as do


typical winter soup ingredients like parsnips, celery, onions and shallots. Use companion planting to deter pests. For example, chives and coriander will repel aphids. If you plant tansy along the perimeter of your veggie patch, you can steep the leaves in boiling water (leaving the solution to cool overnight) to create an organic spray that can be used liberally on and around the plants. Finally, remember to stagger your planting. If you plant in intervals of three to four weeks apart, you won’t get an oversupply of one crop needing to be harvested all at the same time. Who needs 12 cabbages for one meal? • Ferndale Nurseries, Brommersvlei Road, Constantia, 021 794 5144

New book for coastal gardeners Horticulturalist Allan Haschick, who lives in the ‘windy city’ of Port Elizabeth, has written a practical guide for gardeners who live on the coast, where strong winds and salt-laden air can play havoc with planting schemes. Whether you’re on the arid West Coast or in sub-tropical KZN, he has lists of appropriate plants and explains how to ensure they flourish. • Coastal Gardening in South Africa (Struik Lifestyle, R200)


ALL AREAS Tel: 021 949 5555


021 905 9415/6 •

Brommersvlei Road, Constantia 021 794 5144/75 Greening the Constantia Valley for more than 70 years

Monday - Friday: 08:00am - 04:45pm Saturday & Sunday [public holidays]: 09:00am - 04:45pm 8


IN BRIEF Pictures: Adam Harrower

Forest fest


ocial enterprise Greenpop is hosting its fourth annual Reforest Fest in Platbos this May. Situated near Stanford in the Overberg, Platbos is South Africa’s southernmost indigenous forest and boasts some native trees that are well over 1 000 years old. However, where the forest has been cleared, dense invasive alien vegetation has taken over. The Trees for Tomorrow reforestation programme harvests endemic seeds and then plants out the saplings to expand the forest. Greenpop’s Reforest Fests have become an integral part of the project, drawing crowds of people for a weekend of great music, fun activities – and tree planting. The fests have become so popular that this year there will be two: a Family Fest from 9-11 May and a Friends Fest from 16-18 May. Tickets are R590 (R390 for children under 12) and include camping, all meals, music and activities.

• See for more info

Beat the cost of living Grow your own.

Treetop walkway for Kirstenbosch


n exciting new treetop canopy walk opens in the arboretum in Kirstenbosch this April. Nicknamed the Boomslang, the 130-metre-long walkway slopes up from the forest floor and curves through the trees to give visitors a fantastic opportunity to experience forest dynamics from

up high, and see birds and animals that aren’t generally visible from the ground. At certain points, the walkway bursts above the canopy to provide spectacular 360-degree views across the surrounding gardens and out over the city and adjacent mountain slopes. “We wanted to celebrate our centenary

Giveaways 5 packs of Pink Geranium cannas

5 hampers of MayFord seeds


The Pink Geranium Nursery near Stellenbosch is giving away five packs of canna lilies. Each pack contains five cannas and is valued at R150. Canna Knysna has striking cerisepink flowers and grows to a height of about 70cm. Canna Marshmallow is a subtle baby pink and reaches a height of about 1,2m. Both are summer flowering and beautiful to interplant in beds. They are suitable for wet and dry areas. Winners can choose just one variety for their pack, or a mix of both varieties.

MayFord is giving away five hampers of seed packets. Each hamper is valued at R500 and includes six packets of vegetable seeds (beet, lettuce, onion, radish, tomatoes and cherry tomatoes), four packets of herbs (basil, moss-curled parsley, plain parsley and watercress), six packets of flowers (alyssum, marigold, nasturtium, pansy, portulaca and lobelia), five packets of mixed flower megapacks (shades of blue, yellow, cool and white as well as Summer Fruits), a 1kg shaker box of All Seasons Evergreen lawn seeds and a 30g bumper pack of LM (Berea) lawn seeds.

Summer issue winners

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in 2013 with a project that would be spectacular, unique and long-lasting,” says a spokesperson. “This walkway, built purely from bequest money, fit all the criteria and was a perfect way to mark the event with something permanent.” The walk is free to all garden visitors.


To stand a chance of winning in one of these two giveaway draws, send your answers to the questions below, with your name and telephone number, to by 21 July 2014. The winner will be notified personally and the name posted on the magazine’s Facebook page. Prizes will be delivered by the companies offering them. Pink Geranium question: What colour is Canna Knysna? MayFord question: What does MayFord specialise in?

Reliance bags of compost: Heather Young, Frank Swanepoel and Theresa McBurnie. Pink Geranium ‘Full Moon’ agapanthus: Anna Welthagen, Brian Moore, Jan Watkinson. Rain Queen: Penny Suckling, Hanlie Connan, Tony Tucker.



The natural solution Faced with challenging coastal conditions, the creators of this Llandudno garden looked to the surrounding landscape for inspiration. By Marion Whitehead Photographs by Claire Bunkell

Planting a vertical garden in the sides of the stone driveway and retaining walls, constructed from material on site, makes this Llandudno property blend into the landscape. 10



any people think gardening on the steep, boulder-strewn slopes of Llandudno, overlooking one of the Cape Peninsula’s most stunning beaches, is difficult. However, Giacomo Angelini, owner of a magnificent Sunset Avenue home, and landscape designer Patrick Watson took their cues from nature and have produced a ‘no-garden’ garden that blends seamlessly with the natural environment. The outlying suburb is completely surrounded by Table Mountain National Park and Giacomo’s site abuts the green belt running along the coastline. Today you can’t tell where his ‘garden’ ends and the bush begins. “And that’s exactly how we wanted it,” says Giacomo, who built from scratch after moving to Cape Town from Gauteng 10 years ago. Patrick Watson got involved at the design stage of the house so that the garden was visualised as integrating into the wild mountainside from the beginning. Rock blasted out to make the footprint for the house was kept aside and used in retaining walls for the driveway and to create vertical gardens, the natural material softening the visual impact of the building. Some of the Cape granite was also used to add roughness to the walls of the house, which are plastered with a grey aggregate. “From a distance, you can’t see the house at all, it just blends into the landscape. It’s part of respecting the environment,” says Giacomo. “The rock was a real gift.” Vertical gardens are trendy now, but 10 years ago hardly anyone had heard of them. Pockets for plants were created between the rocks of the retaining walls by inserting pipes and filling them with soil. “It was a very difficult job,” says Nick Hann of Wild Cape, whose team did the stone work and planting. They used tough helichrysums and a variety of succulents, such as trailing carpobrotus, spiky stapelias and fleshy crassula. Many of the plants, such as the striking LANDSCAPE DESIGN & GARDEN – AUTUMN 2014

Medusa’s head (Euphorbia caput-medusae) and chinkerinchee bulbs (Ornithogalum thyrsoides), were saved from the site before building started. Fierce, salt-laden coastal winds prune the bushes, which shelter colourful blue sage (Salvia africanacaerulea), polygala, pelargoniums, felicias and helichrysum. “Wind is a big factor here. It burns everything, so you must garden aerodynamically. For instance, you can’t plant single trees,” says Patrick. “If you don’t understand Cape winds, then you won’t grow anything.” Behind the house, sheltered from the northwester, are groves of trees clustered around a water feature, used to manage rainwater run-off on the steep slope; it also acts as a security barrier, much like the moats of old. The pond is home to Cape river frogs, which start chirping two days before it rains – Giacomo’s most reliable weather forecasters. Three large wild figs, Patrick’s trademark species, were the only full-grown trees brought to the site. Cranes were used to lower them into holes blasted out of the rock before the house was built and this helped screen unsightly building operations from neighbours. The rest of the trees – milkwoods (Sideroxylon inerme), camphor (Tarchonanthus camphoratus), butterspoon or rooi els (Cunonia capensis), Cape beech (Rapanea melanophloeos) and shrubby wild sage (Buddleja salviifolia) – were all grown from saplings and over 10 years have established a small forest around the house. “If milkwoods won’t grow at the coast, then nothing will,” comments Patrick. It took three to four years for the garden to get established and, as time goes by, it gets more integrated into the natural surroundings. “We’ve accented the best of what the coastal fynbos offers,” says Giacomo. “For instance, we used a lot of buchu because it smells so good. In spring, you see the fynbos in all its splendour and it’s just amazing.

Clockwise from top left: Nestled on a side patio is this lingam that Giacomo brought back from his travels in India – it represents the energy and potentiality of God; Wild Cape made the pavers for the driveway on site with some of the rock excavated for the home’s footprint, and laid them in a herringbone pattern interplanted with ground cover, which helps sink rainwater run-off; indigenous coastal plants have thrived along the top of the vertical garden. 11


Clockwise from above: It’s hard to tell where the wild garden ends and the greenbelt starts; fierce salt-laden winds have killed the top half of this tree growing through the deck, leaving a natural sculpture; the moat-like water feature at the back of the house helps manage rain water and sink it into the site, instead of creating stormwater run-off.


But in fynbos, there’s always something in flower throughout the year.” Most of the plants were sourced from Kirstenbosch and the Good Hope Gardens Nursery on the way to Cape Point as they specialise in supplying hardy, indigenous plants. While there is an irrigation system in place, Giacomo says that now the garden is established, he seldom uses it, except on the vertical garden, which needs water in the hot, dry Cape summer. Bird life is prolific, especially when the wild figs are fruiting, and a family of tortoises have made the

site their home, moving around to follow different food sources as the seasons change. “Sometimes I have to check the driveway carefully for baby tortoises before driving out,” comments Giacomo. “Indigenous gardens like this just get better over time. The birds bring in more plants and they naturalise,” says Patrick. “The real garden is wild nature; we don’t want to spoil it.” • Landscape designer: Patrick Watson 011 646 8970 • Landscape contractor: Wild Cape 083 232 9677 LANDSCAPE DESIGN & GARDEN – AUTUMN 2014


082 655 1776


Nick Hann: 083 232 9677 021 790 4196 / LANDSCAPE DESIGN & GARDEN – AUTUMN 2014

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Cape of Good Produce From the fertile slopes of Table Mountain to the sandy stretches of the Cape Flats, enterprising local gardeners are cultivating the soil to harvest their own fresh, tasty and organic produce. By Anne Duncan

This picture: Coco Van Oppens. OZCF overview: Glen Thomas. Other pictures: Supplied, Anne Duncan


Building a community with carrots


rganised neighbourhoods are much more resilient believes sustainability consultant Sheryl Ozinsky. Which is why this dynamic woman, a former CEO of Cape Town Tourism, has been a driving force in the establishment of Oranjezicht City Farm (OZCF), a neighbourhood non-profit project that celebrates local food and community. As far back as 2009, she and other Oranjezicht residents, among them organic farmer Mario Graziani, had identified an unused bowling green as being the perfect site for a community vegetable garden. With six of the Camissa springs bubbling up below, the land had once been part of the highly fertile Oranje Zigt farm, established in 1709 to provide fresh produce to ships docking in Table Bay. Then, as a neglected sports facility, it became a magnet for vagrants and crime. Something, many residents felt, needed to be done. “I had eyed the same piece of derelict land,” says landscape architect Tanya de Villiers, a partner at CNdV Africa. “So when I heard about the idea to plant something there, I offered to help with the 14

landscape planning. It was such a great idea.” Tanya organised a topographical survey then, with input from Mario, began the design process. “The original Oranje Zigt homestead was on this site – although sadly only the barn and some walls remain – so the design references the farm’s historical layout,” she explains. “It also depicts the diamond shape of the OZCF logo, designed by creative director Mark Stead. The oval fish pond in the centre is based on an original pond that photographs show once stood in front of the manor. The site also had to relate to Homestead Park next door, so the paths are constructed in similar stone and link to the paths in the park.” Approval for the project was granted in October 2012 and, with start-up funding of R100 000 from the Madame Zingara Group, the hard work of clearing the site began. “Because the farm was to be 100% organic, we couldn’t use chemical sprays to kill the grass, so it all had to be dug out and sifted by hand. Fortunately, after months of this, a civil engineer friend offered

to get a civils contractor to come in and help. With his large earthmoving equipment, everything came together much faster,” says Tanya. Once construction was finished, a volunteer programme was established to encourage local residents to help with the planting. The well-ordered beds are beautifully edged with hedges of lavender, thyme, rosemary and sage and filled with an everchanging crop of heirloom vegetables, and there are also fruit trees and vines around the large site. The farm employs three full-time assistants but much is still done by a steady stream of dedicated volunteers. Residents bring their kitchen scraps to the large compost heap and this, together with an earthworm farm, keeps the soil in top condition. “It’s been wonderful how we suddenly all started meeting our neighbours,” says Tanya. “We’ve drawn together a mix of volunteers, from all ages and cultures. It is amazing what a day of work under the sun does to unify us all.” The harvest is sold every Saturday at Market Day, which also features organic food producers from LANDSCAPE DESIGN & GARDEN – AUTUMN 2014

Walking the food to market


or Ben Getz, any unused space on a balcony, rooftop or lawn has the potential to become a flourishing edible garden. As the founder of Urban Harvest, he’s created literally hundreds of vegetable gardens around the Western Cape – for homes and businesses as well as for schools in poorer communities. “Whenever I see a piece of land that is unused, I think that should be a food garden,” he says. “It’s something I’m passionate about.” Which is what happened when he saw a square of scraggly groundcover under an old stone pine in a corner of The Constantia Village parking lot. “I literally went past one day, saw the land and walked into the centre to ask if I could use it,” he recalls. The result is a showcase for what can be achieved. “Setting up the garden was a lot of fun,” remembers Ben. “It took us two weeks in total, from clearing the site through preparing the soil to planting. We approached The Pole Yard for support, and they were incredibly generous, providing the wooden materials we used for free.” Ben designs all Urban Harvest gardens and believes strongly that a vegetable garden should be beautiful as well as productive. “Too often a veggie patch is relegated to a shady, unused part of the garden, which doesn’t work for a number of reasons. A food garden needs to have the right aspect, and it needs to be close to the kitchen. And if it looks beautiful, it becomes a feature in its own right.” For The Constantia Village garden, he prepared a simple grid of raised beds. “A good flow is very

important,” he emphasises. “Permaculture generally recommends that once the soil is prepared, you don’t disturb it again. So there need to be clearly defined beds and pathways from which you can harvest the crop without stepping into the bed.” Into these beds, he’s planted a diverse and everchanging variety of vegetables and herbs. “We harvest every Friday and literally walk the food to market in the shopping centre, where it’s sold and eaten within hours. It’s got no food miles! We supply a couple of restaurants and we also set up a table outside Organic Living. Some customers now return every week – they can’t get over how much better such fresh produce tastes.” • Urban Harvest 021 300 1766

Teaching future generations


orking with the soil is a passion for Sakhiwo ‘Saki’ Sityebi. Having grown up in the rural Eastern Cape “where many people grow their own food,” it seemed only natural that he would work in gardens when he moved to Cape Town 14 years ago. He joined horticulturalist and biodiversity farmer Beau Horgan, who trained him in the art and science of food gardening, and he’s not looked back. Since Beau moved to Australia, Saki has created his own business in the South Peninsula to help home gardeners establish and maintain their own edible gardens. “I find there’s an increasing demand for organic vegetable gardens, but people don’t always know what to plant when, or how to go about preparing the soil,” he says. Which is why, as well as creating vegetable patches in private gardens, he’s taking permaculture principles to the next generation. He’s a regular at The Enchanted Garden Playgroup in Noordhoek where he’s planted a series of beds that he uses to demonstrate food gardening to the kids. “We love Saki coming to the school,” says nursery school owner Julie Thomson. “The children pick the vegetables and take them home to their families. He makes vegetable eating fun!” • Saki Organic Vegetable Garden Service 083 762 2804

across the region. Together with garden tours, treasure hunts for children and the sale of compost, it helps raise funds for the farm. “Our goal is to be completely self-funding,” says Sheryl. “We’re getting there! One day we hope to develop a heritage museum and cookery school in the old barn, and take the concept of community gardens to other unused green spaces in the city.” • Oranjezicht City Farm, Upper Orange Street, Oranjezicht,


Clockwise from above: An oval fish pond sits at the centre of Oranjezicht City Farm, where there’s also a large on-site compost facility in one corner; farmer Mario Graziani, seen harvesting the crop, was instrumental in establishing the farm; Ben Getz among the raised beds that form Urban Harvest’s Constantia Village garden; Saki Sityebi with the crop he uses to demonstrate food gardening to Noordhoek nursery school children. 15


Bringing joy


rchitectural designer Julie Phillips has always believed in the benefits of homegrown organic vegetables. So when the local farmer who she bought her supplies from ceased trading, she decided it was time to create her own veggie patch and feed herself. She describes herself as “not a natural gardener” so she called in friend and vegetable garden specialist, Natalie Dorward of Organic Kitchen Gardens. Natalie’s brief was to create a whimsical herb and vegetable garden in the curved bed that Julie had designed to echo the organic shapes of her Kommetjie home. “In such a small space, I had to keep the design simple, so I opted for mulched pathways that echoed the shape of the space and a single, rustic, pyramid trellis to provide height and interest,” says Natalie. As Kommetjie soil is of a poor, sandy quality, good soil preparation was paramount. Natalie used the trenching approach, digging down to a depth of 600mm and filling in with cardboard, waste from Fruit & Veg City, kelp and dry compost from Julie’s existing compost heap, as well as additional soil conditioners to add minerals and macronutrients. Coastal winds provided another challenge, so she planted a windbreak of hardy indigenous shrubs and Mediterranean herbs to shelter the vegetables and help

build the nutrient density of the soil. Behind there’s a mixed planting of decorative heirloom vegetables that allows Julie to harvest a diverse array of produce. “The garden gives me so much joy,” say Julie. “I love just looking at the beauty of the flowering herbs, and there’s always something tasty to pick, whether it be tomatoes, gooseberries, carrots or salad greens.” • Organic Kitchen Gardens 072 429 2534

Providing an amazing, tasty crop


ooking is a passion for Lynne McLeanAnderson, so when she and her family moved to a large property on the Tarragona Estate in Hout Bay, creating a vegetable garden was high on her agenda. To help her achieve her dream, she called in Natalie Dorward of Organic Kitchen Gardens, who not only plants edible gardens, but trains clients how to manage them. From the start, Natalie worked in close collaboration with Lynne’s gardener, giving him


detailed explanations of everything from construction through to maintenance. She also provided a manual of food gardening guidelines and a calendar with clear ‘to do’ lists. “It’s been a huge success,” says Lynne. “We also love Natalie’s monthly newsletters telling us what we can do with our yield.” As Lynne’s home is in the Cape Dutch style, she wanted a formal garden that would complement the traditional architecture. Natalie’s solution was

to create a series of symmetrical raised beds using recycled plastic planks. “Raised beds are not only more accessible, but they maximise planting space and help to retain valuable topsoil and mulch,” explains Natalie. “Using recycled plastic rather than treated timber ensures the longevity of the beds, too.” Natalie dug in a large quantity of organic compost, together with gypsum to condition the clay soil, and planted a mix of vegetables as well as cut flowers and shade-tolerant plants in shady corners. A compost scheme, small worm farm and home-brewed liquid fertilisers ensure a holistic maintenance programme. “I’ve been blown away by our crops,” says Lynne. “There are some varieties of tomatoes I didn’t even know existed – and they taste so sweet and delicious. It’s such an unbelievably good feeling to go out into my garden and pick something organic and tasty.” • Organic Kitchen Gardens 072 429 2534


Creating a valued feature


usy Camps Bay businessman Gary Seabrooke wanted an aesthetically pleasing but hassle-free vegetable garden. For Ben Getz of Urban Harvest, the solution was simple – an easy-to-maintain container garden. “We decided a container garden surrounding the pool and entertainment area would work well to make the garden a valued and attended to feature that would also bring more life, warmth and fragrance to the area,” explains Ben. “The aloe was already a beautiful, central feature and we felt it would only enhance the space to ‘wrap’ the edible garden around it. The planters along the wall, meanwhile, use relatively unused space and soften the brightness of the structure.” In line with the brief for hassle-free maintenance, an irrigation system was installed. “Lifting the decking to lay the pipes was a challenge,” says Ben, but the investment has paid off. “The biggest reward is that, despite the strong winds, sun and sea air, this garden has not stopped producing bumper harvests, always looks full and is gorgeous with Camps Bay beach as a backdrop.” • Urban Harvest 021 300 1766

Clockwise from left: Levona and her assistant Justin with their just-picked crop; Charles in his lush front yard; Suelyla grows food for her family in a multitude of containers; Mike and Hilda harvest all the vegetables they need.

Living from the garden


food garden is an amazing benefit explains Charles Mathlay, whose home stands out as a green oasis on an otherwise dusty street in Lavender Hill. “There’s always life in a garden, and the things that grow here are beneficial for everyone.” Charles harvests everything from kale and tomatoes to butternut and beetroot in his small front yard. What he doesn’t eat, he sells to his neighbours, together with seedlings and organic compost. His goal for 2014, he says, is to create a proper nursery in the community. Charles learned his green skills from Soil for Life, a non-profit organisation that trains people in organic food gardening. Their goal is to empower impoverished communities to grow their own food, and develop skills they can use beyond the garden fence. “I know that what we teach has a big impact on people’s lives,” says Sandi Lewis, who is passionate about her role in the field. “I see how being able to grow food also allows people to grow in confidence.” Soil for Life’s three-month courses are taught in the community, at people’s homes, and demonstrate how even poor Cape Flats soil can be turned into fertile ground through methods such as trenching. Home gardeners are shown how to make their own compost and organic fertilisers, and are given start-

up materials of seeds, seedlings, mulch and compost. These materials are supplied by Food Garden Enterprises (FGEs), which are set up as mini training and resource centres in each of the communities in which the organisation works. Home gardener Levona Kleinsmith runs the FGE in Lavender Hill, where she tends a large patch next to the local school. The garden not only showcases different techniques but produces a bountiful crop. “I now eat fresh and healthy food,” she says, “and I sell to parents, teachers and other people in the community.” “One thing I always notice,” says Sandi, “is how hungry people are, so learning how to grow food is a valuable resource.” Suelyla Dya has containers of vegetables in every available space around her small shack and the fresh produce she harvests allows her to put healthy food on the table for her children. Mike Abrahams and his wife Hilda ParsonsAbrahams also get everything they need from their veggie patch in the Mandoline Place retirement home in Steenberg. Granadilla grows along the fence and there are berries, vegetables and even a bay tree in their well-tended garden. “We don’t buy any veggies anymore,” says Hilda. “We just eat from our garden.” • Soil for Life,

Clockwise from top left: This Kommetjie garden is an exuberant mass of flowering herbs and vegetables; a Camps Bay pool deck does double duty as a food garden with the addition of simple wooden containers; raised beds in a neat, symmetrical design provide a Hout Bay home with a bumper harvest. LANDSCAPE DESIGN & GARDEN – AUTUMN 2014



Simply peaceful

A lush Oranjezicht garden is an oasis of calm in the windswept, harsh and hilly City Bowl. By Kate Morris Photographs by Claire Bunkell




s with all gardens, the tranquil, green space Kate McCallum conceived and created in Oranjezicht has “a mind and will of its own”. Designed and planted in 1995 when her double-storey house was built, the Molteno Road garden was one of 10 open to the public during the first Open Gardens of Oranjezicht and Higgovale day in October last year, held in aid of Oranjezicht City Farm. “The idea was to show the range and diversity of gardens in the City Bowl, from Mediterranean, to indigenous, to English,” Kate explains. Gardening in this area is for the brave, the bold and the tenacious. “It’s a very difficult area to create a garden as it’s lashed by the southeaster, is blisteringly hot in summer and has soil that is decomposed granite – it drains well but has no nutritive value.” Faced with these challenges, Kate’s first priority was to create shade and privacy without blocking the arresting sea and mountain views. “I wanted a garden that was a place of peace and contemplation,” she says, “with places to sit and read and dream, the coolness and tranquillity of dark water, trees, grass, LANDSCAPE DESIGN & GARDEN – AUTUMN 2014

a hedge and flowers that echoed the purples and blues of the mountains and the sea, with creams and whites for contrast.” As Molteno Road is on a steep slope, Kate, a publishing consultant who was managing director of Oxford University Press Southern Africa for many years, was keen to avoid a garden that fell away from the house. “For me, a garden must be used, not merely looked at, and I felt if I created a sloping garden, I wouldn’t spend time in it.” As a result, the house was backed into the rear end of the plot and the excavated fill used to level the front, creating not only a garden that stretches out lazily from the sheltered terrace but also space for an inky-blue 25-metre linear pool. Kate’s planting plan was to contrast and relax the formal lines of the pool with lush, spilling plants. “Like many good plans, it went awry,” she laughs. Some things have flourished, other have stubbornly refused to grow.” A summer garden that peaks in December, mainly because that’s when Kate has time to garden

Opposite page: A mass of soothing green welcomes visitors to Kate’s tranquil garden. Clockwise from above left: Plantings of ferns, acanthus, plectranthus and Natal lily (Crinum moorei) soften the rectangular rigidity of the pool; the lawn is a “visual pool of quietness” surrounded by softly planted beds; herb and vegetable boxes flank a bench at the back of the house where Kate also makes compost. 19


From top: The pink blooms of Natal lily (Crinum

moorei) frame the view across the pool to the cool veranda where Kate experiments with plants in pots; flowering ribbon bush (Hypoestes aristata) and a perky yellow canna are companions in a deep bed at the edge of the curving lawn.


intensively, nearly all the plant material is either Mediterranean or indigenous. Here you will find lambs’ ears (Stachys byzantina), heliotrope and ribbon bush (Hypoestes aristata) mingling with Mexican sage (Salvia leucantha), holly ferns, irises, about six members of the plectranthus family and yellow clivias. With her keen sense of the aesthetic, Kate loves contrasting shapes and textures. At the edge of the pool, a cement bench, which is framed by a clipped, tiny-leafed myrtle hedge (Myrtus communis), lifts the eye to catch the glossy, broad leaves of the New Zealand laurel (Corynocarpus laevigatus) hedge and a sculptural frangipani tree. Then there’s the lawn which, in contrast to the long lines of the pool, ends in a gentle curve and provides a “visual pool of quiet” surrounded by plants that bloom in shades of calming blue, purple, white and cream. “For me, the essence of good design is simplicity, to pare things down to the essence. So I have tried to keep things simple – but I am a sucker for an interesting or unusual plant and these tend to subvert my design plans and I end up trying this here and that there, and moving them around until there is a place where they’re happy.” Her sheltered terrace is where she keeps pots and experiments. “It’s my nursery for delicate or new

plants. If they’re under my nose, then I can’t forget about them…” If they survive, she transplants them into the garden. Her use of colour is determined by pockets of shade or shards of sunlight. She’s planted pinks and oranges down the side of the garden and at the back to brighten the darker areas. Being what she calls a “greedy gardener”, she’s also managed to include macadamia, guava, brown fig, lemon, granadilla and pomegranate trees into the mix, and several varieties of herbs. Kate loves the creative genius of gardening greats such as Vita Sackville-West, Russell Page and Penelope Hobhouse and they’ve inspired her gardening choices, but at the end of the day, she’s philosophical about her low-maintenance garden as she travels often and works full-time. “I am an amateur gardener, and my garden would be more impressive if I had more time – but I garden for my own pleasure and only have a gardener twice a month. So my plants have to be survivors that will give me the pleasure of flowers, shape and form without my having to hover over them too much.” • The next Open Gardens of Oranjezicht and Higgovale, in aid of the Oranjezicht City Farm, will take place on 29 November 2014. LANDSCAPE DESIGN & GARDEN – AUTUMN 2014

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Main picture: Claire Bunkell Other pictures: Marijke Honig

Pandorea jasminoides provides an exuberant display over trellises at the Cellars-Hohenort.


glory Climbers bring colour and life to the garden and play a number of useful roles, from creating shade over a pergola to hiding an ugly structure and softening a wall. I find there is a lot of pressure on climbers to perform – people want them to grow and fulfil their purpose instantly! Here are some pointers to guide your selection. By Marijke Honig


limbers are perennials that can grow as large as trees or shrubs. However they don’t have their own woody frame so they need support. In nature, this is provided by surrounding shrubs and trees – the climbers have soft shoots that grow up and over other plants in search of light. It helps to be aware of the different types of climbers, and the support they require. Broadly speaking there are four types of climbers: Self-adhesive climbers produce small clusters of adventitious roots or suckers that attach themselves to a flat surface. Examples include the tickey creeper (Ficus pumila), ivy (Hedera spp.) and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). These climbers require no support and are ideal for growing on a solid surface such as a wall. Tendril climbers produce small flexible side shoots (tendrils) that can coil up like a spring. A tendril reaches out and grabs onto the supporting structure by curling and winding around it. Examples include granadilla, vines and wild grape (Rhoicissus spp.) Twiners use their stems and leaves to reach out and ‘grab’ onto a supporting structure. They are happiest on a mesh fence, or climbing over other plants. Examples 22

include wisteria, black-eyed Susan (Thunbergia alata) and the flame lily (Gloriosa superba). Scramblers are semi-woody shrubs with a spreading, rambling habit. Some, such as bougainvillea, do not require a support, but others grow best if allowed to grow up and over a support of some kind. Most indigenous climbers fall into this category. They tend to be vigorous growers, but they still need support – whether it’s a fence, pergola, an arch, a tree to ramble into, or some adjacent woody plants. Climbers that are not given enough support, or that are not firmly tied onto a structure, tend to flop around in the breeze and hardly grow at all. The minute they have a firm grip on the support, they can grow quickly – it is almost as if they need a firm support to propel themselves upwards. Providing enough support is especially critical during the establishment phase. It is important that a new climber is helped onto the support, by tying the leading shoots firmly onto the support. Sometimes a wire or mesh ‘ladder’ is required to bridge the gap between the plant and the wall or pergola pole. If you really want your climber to take off fast, go there a few times a week and weave new shoots into the

mesh/trellis, or tie them onto the support. Your efforts will be amply rewarded! Plant selection As always, when selecting a plant it helps to understand the conditions on site, and to be clear on your needs. Do you want an evergreen or deciduous climber? Are flowers important, or is it mainly for foliage? Would you like scented flowers? If you require shade over a pergola, do you want dense shade or dappled shade? Next be aware of the conditions in your garden, as this will be a major determinant affecting your choice. Is it exposed or sheltered? Sunny or shady, and what is the aspect? For example a west-facing aspect (sunny and hot) is very different to a south-facing one (shaded, cooler). If you experience frost or very harsh coastal conditions, this will immediately narrow down the options. Next think of the type of climber you want, and the support it will require. Here are some good choices for typical situations: Pergolas (to create shade): decorative vine, monkey rope (Rhoicissus tomentosa), wisteria, Port St John’s creeper (Podranea ricasoliana). LANDSCAPE DESIGN & GARDEN – AUTUMN 2014

Bauhinia galpinii (Pride of de Kaap) is excellent for screening large embankments. It’s evergreen in mild conditions and will tolerate poor soil and minimal watering once established, but water and feed it for the first few years.

Dipogon lignosus (Cape sweet pea, bosklimop) is a fast-growing climber, ideal for a mesh fence or gabion. It can grow in harsh coastal conditions but beware, it is rampant so needs to be kept in check. Plant in full sun or semi-shade.

Thunbergia alata (black-eyed Susan) is a very decorative and vigorous climber for mesh fences, as a ground cover or hanging basket subject. There are different flower colours, ranging from brick red to pale yellow.

Gloriosa superba (flame lily) is a small deciduous climber with gorgeous flowers in summer. Plant in a well-drained, sunny or semi-shade position, feed and water well in growing season (spring and summer). It is excellent for containers.

Rhoicissus tomentosa (monkey rope, forest grape) is a vine that produces edible grape-like berries that can be used for making jam, jelly and quality vinegar, and that are loved by birds. It is fast-growing in sun or semi-shade.

Podranea ricasoliana (Port St John’s creeper) is ideal for creating shady car ports and pergolas. Plant in well-drained, compost-rich soil and water well in summer. It needs less water in winter and is drought resistant once established.

Mesh fence: Thunbergia alata, Cape sweet pea (Dipogon lignosus), Jasminum spp., Gloriosa superba. Containers: Jasminum spp., bougainvillea, bower vine (Pandorea spp.), Gloriosa superba. Gabions (to grow onto mesh): Bauhinia galpinii, Plumbago spp., Senecio tamoides, Solanum quadrangulare, Jasminum angulare, Rhoicissus spp. Harsh windy conditions: Dipogon lignosus, Rhoicissus digitata, Rhoicissus tridentata, Podranea spp. To cover a wall or façade: tickey creeper (Ficus pumila), ivy (Hedera spp.), Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata), Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). Terraces and embankments: I think ramblers and scramblers are under-utilised for this purpose. They are vigorous growers (up to 5m), are semiwoody, long-lived and need plenty of space – ideal for spreading and flopping down terrace walls. Some (e.g. Plumbago spp. and Pandorea spp.) root at the nodes, which helps to stabilise soil on embankments. If you plant a mix of species, you will have greenery and colour throughout the year, and provide a fantastic refuge for wildlife of all sorts. The insects and birds will love you for it!

Soil preparation and establishment A climber or rambler deserves good soil preparation. It helps to think of it as a small tree because it produces a large amount of biomass, easily reaching 4 to 6m in height or spread. Prepare a 50 x 50cm x 50cm hole, add a generous handful of bonemeal in the root zone, and half a bag of compost mixed with the soil. After planting, mulch it with a thick layer of mulch. Top dress once or twice a year with a thick layer of compost as it will break down and slowly add organic matter and nutrients to the soil. Flowering climbers benefit from feeding during the growing season (e.g. with organic 2:3:2 fertiliser). One of the challenges I have found is that climbers often have to start off in the shade of a building or wall, and are very slow-growing at first, until they reach the sun or more light. It may be worth experimenting with the use of reflective surfaces and ways of increasing the soil temperature to increase initial growth rates. For climbers growing up a pergola pole, choose one or two leading shoots and remove all other side growth, to encourage the plant to grow up. Remember to tie the shoots securely onto a wire or other support.


Jasminum (wild jasmine) has sweetly scented, white flowers followed by small berries that attract birds. Plant different species to enjoy their scents during an extended flowering season. Jasminum angulare is a climber, growing up to 5m. Jasminum multipartitum (starry wild jasmine) is a woody scrambler, growing up to 3m.



Picture: Shutterstock

The noble olive The Western Cape’s Mediterranean-type climate is ideal for olive trees. Here’s how to grow your own – for serving olives at table or pressing into oil. By Marion Whitehead


hoosing the right cultivar depends on what you want to do with it, says Carlo Costa, ARC-Infruitec’s senior horticultural researcher at Stellenbosch, who wrote the handbook for local olive growers. Most home gardens have space for no more than a couple of these large trees, so will be growing table olives by default. In South Africa, Mission and Kalamata are the most popular black table olives, while Manzanilla is the preferred green variety. Most cultivars are self-sterile so, whichever you choose, plant a Frantoio olive tree nearby as it’s the most versatile cross-pollinator. If you want to make your own olive oil, you’ll need space for 10 to 20 trees, planted four to five metres apart, to produce a minimum of 100kg of olives to take to one of the smaller mills. Frantoio is one of the top-performing oil cultivars, says Carlo, who has a soft spot for this Italian variety as his grandfather selected it for its oil and disease resistance in the early days of olive cultivation in South Africa. When buying trees from a nursery, check that they are healthy and free of olive leaf spot, anthracnose, scale, tingid or any other pest, advises SA Olive, the industry association. Olives are happiest in stony soils with a high gravel content – if drainage is not good, the tree will be prone to root diseases, so heavy clay soils are not suitable. Bob Hobson, farm manager at Morgenster, the estate that consistently wins awards for its olive oil, recommends a pH of between 5.5 and 7 maximum. “Add agricultural lime if need be,” he advises. Planting: Prepare a one cubic metre hole adding rock phosphate and compost. Volcanic rock dust or Talborne Organics’ Vita Grow are good multi-mineral


boosters. Protect the trunk from sunburn and rodents with a carton-foil tube and stake it loosely with twine to avoid wind damage. Watering: Give young trees 15 to 20 litres of water a week during the first growing season. “It’s a myth olives don’t need water,” says Bob. “Once established, they can get by with very little water, but they produce much better when irrigated regularly.” Pruning: For the first few years, snip out only those branches that are in the way of others, or growing too near the ground. After that, select branches to form a semi-open vase shape, or go for a single main leader which is trained upright, with lateral branching encouraged so that a conical shape is achieved. “Don’t let the tree get too dense,” advises Carlo. “Keep it growing actively by pruning a bit every year.” Pests: Our healthy climate is the main deterrent, but watch out for olive leaf spot in warm and moist conditions, warns Carlo. This fungal disease causes sooty spots and yellowing of leaves, later resulting in leaf drop and death of shoots. Spray in spring and autumn with a copper hydroxide fungicide that is safe for the environment, he advises. Harvesting: Pick table olives by hand, making sure they are not damaged. Green table olives are made from unripe fruits and are picked when they are a good size and have turned from bright green to yellow-green and begin to show a light pink blush. Black are made from ripe fruits that have turned completely black, but before they become overripe and soften. Olives are preserved in a salt brine after soaking to remove the bitterness and then normally undergo a slow fermentation process. Oil olives can be stripped off the trees onto nets

on the ground when most of the fruit on the tree is ripe. The oil content rises with colouring as fruit ripens, then remains relatively constant. Don’t delay harvesting or you’ll get lower oil quality. “Press within 12 hours on a cool day, or the fruit will oxidise,” advises Bob. Olives bear biennially, in other words, a plentiful harvest one year is followed by a poor one the next. This can be offset somewhat by good feeding and watering, but don’t be surprised if your trees bear like crazy one year and act like lazy laggards the next. • For an olive processing recipe, see

Olive cultivars Mission: Hardy and adaptable, it originated in Spain and is good for black table olives. It yields a fruity, peppery and slightly bitter oil with a thick, velvety texture and an almond aftertaste. Kalamata: Greece’s principal table olive thanks to its size and fleshiness, it also yields good quality oil. Ideal as a black table olive, the tree is less adaptable than Mission. Manzanilla: This Spanish cultivar is suited to green table olive production, has a low oil content and softens on ripening. Frantoio: Originally from Italy, it is self-fertile and is used as a cross-pollinator for other cultivars. It produces high quality olive oil.


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Pictures: Water in Motion, Shutterstock


The wonder of water H uman settlements have always developed around fresh water, whether it be a river, lake, spring or well. And while these days we trust that water will flow from our taps, it seems we still have a primal instinct to be close to water – even if it is just the trickery of a tiny submersible pump recycling a gentle tinkle of water at the front door. “Water features and ponds make the difference between an ordinary garden and a great garden,” says Clive Giliomee of Water in Motion. Their flowing water adds a peaceful, natural sound, they attract an abundance of wildlife and, with added lighting, “they can give that extra wow-factor at night time that really changes the mood of the garden.”

Design options If the purpose of a water feature is purely architectural, then its form should reference the architecture around it and sit either in contrast with or in harmony to its built surroundings. In these architectural pieces, the water itself can be secondary to the overall design, but its inherent movement adds a striking contrast to the static form of the built structure around it. Think of a visually powerful wall with a thin film of water running down it, or a fine jet across a shallow rill. If you’re after a more naturalistic water feature, then it’s important to follow the lie of the land as much as possible, or at least modify the contours so that the water is seen to obey the laws of physics. There are few things more bewildering than seeing a natural pond next to the lowest point of the garden, when really it wants to be at the lowest point. Natural water features are better when they’re larger because 26

Of all the elements in the garden, moving water has the potential to be used most imaginatively – and with modern pumps and materials you can create some truly innovative features. By John Richardson

planting tends to encroach on the surface area, so be generous in your planning and go as big as you can. Adding a cantilevered deck or a rustic bridge over the water will also give you better access to the life that abounds in natural ponds. For small or difficult spaces, there are many alternatives to a conventional pond or pool. The simplest containers, like wine barrels and old gumboots, can be fashioned into a bubbling spring with a tiny submersible pump. And old pipes, pumps and watering cans can be transformed into a quirky faucet, out of which water can pour into a container below. Natural air-conditioning Even a small expanse of water has a significant cooling effect, as the designers of Islamic courtyard gardens knew well. By placing a pond surrounded by high colonnades in cobbled courtyards on the side of the prevailing breeze, they could cool the air significantly as it filtered through the building. Today colonnades can be replaced with trees and cobbles substituted with ground covers for a more natural alternative to the modern air-conditioning unit. Construction materials Water features generally comprise an outer shell that gives them shape and strength, and an inner lining, or skin, that provides waterproofing. The outer shell can be formed in brick, reinforced concrete, timber or any other solid material. The waterproof lining can be fibreglass, waterproof plaster or a cloth membrane painted over with a rubber-compound sealer – just be sure to follow the prescribed LANDSCAPE DESIGN & GARDEN – AUTUMN 2014

Clockwise from far left: Clive

Giliomee of Water in Motion designed these circular ponds for the Cavalli Estate near Somerset West. They’re made from Cor‑Ten steel, which weathers to a rust-like finish but doesn’t corrode. A low-Wattage pump draws water from the estate dam into the pools, which drain into a stream that feeds back into the dam; a lowered rim in the wall of a pool creates a small waterfall – a pump can circulate the water back to the top; an old wine barrel can be transformed into a rustic feature with a tiny submersible pump.

curing times. Remember that not all sealing materials are compatible with wildlife, so choose carefully based on what you want from your feature. While larger water features generally require the expertise of a professional, you can purchase any number of smaller DIY features at garden centres. These can be left free-standing, sunk (either partially or completely) or clad in a material of choice. Most features have an overflow outlet, a top-up inlet (which can be automated) to balance the loss to evaporation, and an electrical pump to circulate the water. Pay careful attention to the size of the pipes you install as you need to ensure that enough water arrives at the top of the feature. In general, don’t use anything smaller than 15mm diameter pipe for any water feature and, if the head is higher than 1.5m, use 25mm diameter pipe. Pump matters Large water features generally require large volumes of water to be moved and should be installed by professionals. For most small- to medium-sized water features, however, submersible pumps are readily available and easily installed. Submersible pumps are double-insulated and come with a five- or ten-metre rubberised cable attached to a three-pronged plug. The pump sits in the water at the bottom of the feature (or sump) and recycles the water up to the top of the feature. When you purchase a pump, you need to tell the sales person how high the water outlet (also known as the head) is above the pump, the diameter of your pipework as well as the flow-rate you require (in litres per minute). Flow rates indicate what the water will look like when it comes out the top of the feature. You LANDSCAPE DESIGN & GARDEN – AUTUMN 2014


Clockwise from above: A multi-level water feature by Water in Motion echoes the steps up to this Clifton home. Pre-fab containers clad in fibreglass and copper are linked by spouts in Cor-Ten steel, and a gravel bed at the lower end filters the water before it’s pumped back up; water flowing down a stone wall into a small pond creates a naturalistic feature; a classical statue makes a beautiful addition to a formal garden.

can gauge this by doing a simple experiment with a normal garden hose: open a hosepipe until its flow is more or less as strong as you would like to see coming from your water feature. Then time (in seconds) how long it takes to fill a 10 litre bucket at that flow rate. Given the values of head height, flow rate (per outlet if you have multiple outlets) and pipe diameter, the sales person can provide you with a pump that is going to deliver what you need. Cleaning concerns “Small, regular maintenance is better than larger cleaning at longer intervals, and daily netting of large debris is a must,” says Clive. If a fish is sick or dead, remove it immediately to stop contamination. The same goes for plants. You should aim to change 15% percent of the water every two weeks. Together with a good filter and UV-light, this should keep the water clear. 28

Wildlife attractions If you want your feature to provide a home for wildlife, it needs to be designed with that in mind. Some fish will live happily in a puddle but others demand much better accommodation, so do your homework. Frogs and birds prefer a more natural expanse of water, preferably with a reed bank and natural perches, either in the water or in overhanging branches. A section of sloping beach will also make the feature user friendly for any low-to-the-ground visitors. “There are a lot of different views around the depth of fish ponds,” says Clive, “but I’d say around one metre is ideal. If a pond is too shallow the water can heat up fast, but if it’s too deep, you don’t see the fish that well. Plants are a must in fish ponds as they give the fish some cover from predators like birds, but they should also not be planted too deep as they need to be accessible for pruning.” • Water in Motion


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PROFILE This picture and portrait: Claire Bunkell. Other pictures: Supplied



Clare Burgess is passionate about plants and sustainability, and believes trees are what transform a landscape. She talks ecology, exotics and education with Anne Duncan.


alk to landscape architect Clare Burgess about plants and her passion for her profession is clearly evident. She believes that anyone who understands plants can’t help but see what an important role they play in urban environments, both ecologically and aesthetically. She teaches Plants and Design at UCT, part of the Master of Landscape Architecture degree, and says her goal is to instil a love of plants in her students. When it comes to trees, she becomes even more animated. “As a landscape architect you get such value for money by planting a tree. Their cost is minimal compared to the impact they have on the environment.” With a career that has spanned more than 30 years, most of it working for the public sector, she’s been responsible for the planting of thousands of trees around Cape Town. She’s also unapologetic about using exotic species. “Most of my work is community-based projects in the Cape Flats. There aren’t many indigenous trees that grow well in those harsh conditions, but exotics such as blue gums, palms and Norfolk Island pines thrive and create shade, effective windbreaks and a real sense of scale and place.” She believes the best landscapes are those that work with nature and don’t look as if they’ve had obvious interventions. “Unfortunately that does mean that a lot of people don’t actually know much about what landscape architects create,” she says with typical self-deprecating humour. Her many talks at Kirstenbosch over the years have tried to rectify this as she loves to explain how good environmental design can transform a landscape into a better place to live, work and play. Her examples don’t just reference local projects either, as she’s travelled through 53 different countries and loves to see how other cultures integrate ideas within their landscapes. Sustainability is another big issue, and she’s outspoken about the need for the ongoing management of public projects. “Living plants need care and attention. There’s no such thing as a no-maintenance landscape,” she argues. In fact she’s been known to turn down projects where a proper maintenance plan is not in place as she believes it’s unethical to waste ratepayers’ money on a landscape that’s not sustainable. Her commitment has earned her a Civic Award from her local councillor who commented on her ability to “come up with a creative solution and draw people in to become involved and take ownership of an area”. Why landscape architecture? I’m a designer at heart and not a gardener. I originally planned to study architecture, but during my gap year I discovered landscape architecture. Not only was it five years of studying as opposed to seven, but it spoke to my love of plants and the environment. What brought you to Cape Town? During the final year of my degree at Manchester, two landscape architects working 30

for the City of Cape Town approached the university. They wanted to return to Europe and were looking for people to replace them. Three of us came to work for City Parks in 1981. It was a very exciting time for the development of Cape Town. The ‘Greening of the City’ report was produced in the mid 1980s and there was a huge amount of landscape work happening in townships, regional parks and coastal resorts. I feel very privileged to have worked in that environment. I was involved in numerous projects, ranging from neighbourhood-scale public parks such as Wynberg, De Waal and Trafalgar Parks, to large-scale regional facilities such as Zandvlei and, one of my favourites, the caravan and campsite development at Kogelbaai. What have been some of the highlights of your career? Working on the first phases of the V&A Waterfront with Ian Ford was extremely exciting. It was a fast-track project so, literally, as you designed something, it was built. Then my biggest project in the early years of my own practice, which I opened in 1995, was Ratanga Junction Theme Park. I still refer to that project as an example of how vision, money and a proper understanding of the need for maintenance can create an exciting landscape, even in the extremely harsh conditions of the Cape Flats. I’m also very proud of what has been achieved in the Mitchells Plain town centre over the past 10 years. As part of the upgrade and development of the public transport interchange, the design team has created pedestrianised areas and a public square next to the new covered market, and planted about 800 trees that have transformed this space into a much more user-friendly urban environment. The project received an ILASA Merit Award of Excellence in 2009. And the lowlights? I think that might be the day I was attacked in Langa while working on the upgrading of local play parks back in 1999. But I emerged more determined to work closely with communities and have managed to continue to improve the public open spaces and streetscapes of Nyanga, Gugulethu and Khayelitsha for all to use and enjoy. The experience led me to develop techniques for being more aware in my environment and this has helped me in all areas of my life, especially on my own spiritual journey. LANDSCAPE DESIGN & GARDEN – AUTUMN 2014

Clockwise from far left: Clare in front of her Ficus religiosa; the Norfolk Island pines leading to Khayelitsha Hospital will grow to mark it out in the flat landscape; Silvermine Gate 2 car park; Rondo Square in Mitchells Plain.

How do you define the role of the landscape architect? What I try to bring to a project is a holistic approach to design. Landscape architects are often used only to make a project look good at the end. But we’re capable of so much more. We look at sustainability and big-picture planning. For example, when the Khayelitsha Hospital was developed, I was able to motivate for a stormwater system that would retain the rainfall in the landscape. We designed ecologically suitable detention ponds planted with locally endemic plant species and in the process saved the client quite a lot of money. What makes for a good landscape? If it looks natural, it’s been well implemented. A good example is the Gate 2 car park in Silvermine. You can’t even see it from Ou Kaapse Weg as the design features swathes of endemic plants to screen cars and minimise their impact on the natural beauty. SANParks is a favourite client as they have such a clear, environmentally sensitive vision. The projects I’ve done for them are often quite low-key, but they show how small interventions can be very effective in creating a more user-friendly public space. What inspires you? I’m passionate about anything that grows, but particularly trees. Planting a tree can create an icon in the landscape under which people will meet for centuries to come. This has brought me up against the indigenous lobby because the majority of trees that grow successfully in the Western Cape are exotics. But I firmly believe that if a tree is waterwise and non-invasive, then it is appropriate to use in our climate. I aim to create better spaces for people to live in and that means providing shade, shelter and oxygen. My mother, an avid gardener back in England, helped inspire this love of plants. I also learnt a lot from Ann Sutton, my business partner for quite a few years, and Richard Jamieson, who I met in my first week at City Parks. His knowledge of local plants and his fascination with new horticulturally sound species has guided my choice of planting on many occasions. He now co-owns The Kirstenbosch Garden Centre and I always take my students there to hear about the latest trends. I love to travel, too. A favourite international project is The Eden Project in Cornwall. It is a showcase for excellent landscape design as well as an environmental education centre. It shows what I’d like to teach my students and clients – how we can make our landscapes usable, edible, functional, ecological and really sustainable. Last word? I’m just back from Myanmar where you see at least one Ficus religiosa next to every temple. There’s one outside my front door, too. Buddha received enlightenment under this tree, and maybe I will receive enlightenment under it one day too. LANDSCAPE DESIGN & GARDEN – AUTUMN 2014



UPcycling 1–R  eclaimed teak becomes a decoration: Teak balls by Plaisir du Jardin / from R1 095


2–G  iving old planks a new purpose: Containers by Ferndale Nurseries 021 794 5175 / from R695 to R1 300 3–O  ld tools are transformed into garden art: Shears find similar at junk shops 4–N  ew life in an antique Indian well bucket: Metal well container by Coco Karoo 021 797 9528 / R2 900



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Landscape Design & Garden Magazine - Autumn 2014  

Free to you, available at retail outlets such as nurseries, garden furniture outlets, and suppliers to the profession, Landscape Design and...

Landscape Design & Garden Magazine - Autumn 2014  

Free to you, available at retail outlets such as nurseries, garden furniture outlets, and suppliers to the profession, Landscape Design and...