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Gardening

Well-designed gardens usually reserve some surprises or contain an element of allure. Flowers have a universal language and essence of their own. They are a constant presence around a home, transforming gardens with their beauty, their heady fragrance and butterfly blooms herald a new season. The beauty and diversity of orchids have fascinated people through the ages. We take a closer look at these exotic flowers... Text & Image: Rina Smit

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vanilla plant was introduced to English gardens in 1739, and is credited with the increasing popularity of orchids in horticulture. In the 19th century, orchids were in such demand that auctions in Liverpool and London attracted much publicity. Prices soared, with buyers often paying 500 pounds for a single plant. Top prices were much higher. The companies who sold at these auctions paid plant hunters to go to exotic places in order to collect orchids for them to sell. Facing the dangers of the wild animals and poisonous snakes, hostile natives and in many cases the dangers of the landscape i.e. sheer cliff faces and treacherous swamp lands to earn their salary. Plants were shipped back to England where most were found to have died en-route, some of the snakes and spiders which made their way into the large crates survived the trip, causing some excitement when discovered.

Text: Tinus Oberholzer, Plantae Orchids Images: Vicki Ndlovu

The Romance of Orchids

A Touch of exotic, the shape, colour, fragrance...

The beauty and diversity of orchids

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have fascinated people for ages. As long as 5 centuries before Christ, Confucius compared the pleasure of seeing good friends to entering a room full of “lan” or fragrant orchids. Vanilla, the only widely used commercial product of the orchid family, was first discovered by the ancient Aztecs in Mexico. The

Most people’s perception of an orchid is still the Cattleya, the corsage orchid or Trestchikoff’s lost orchid. In South Africa Cymbidium is a close contender for the best known orchid as it is a plant which is easy to grow and will handle adverse conditions and still flower. It has been recommended as the best orchid for beginners and many people have these plants in their gardens. There is however literally thousands of different species, ranging from the huge and exotic down to micro-miniatures where you need a magnifying glass to appreciate their beauty.

The orchid family is not only the biggest plant family, but also one of the most diverse in growth, flower shape and colour. New species and varieties of species gets discovered on a yearly basis and the number of registered hybrids just keeps growing by the day. This is all because our fascination with orchids lies in various elements and it differs from person to person.

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Plantae is a nursery dedicated to the growing of orchids and rare and unusual plants which will grow in the same conditions as orchids. The nursery started about six years ago and we are pleased to say that it has grown significantly in the past few years. We supply both wholesale not only to the Gauteng area, but regularly send plants to nurseries and florists in Nelspruit, Durban, East London, George and Cape Town. Plants are also sold to the public at the various shows put up by the orchid societies in JHB, Edenvale, Pretoria, Rustenburg and Nelspruit.

Orchid growing is such a rewarding hobby and a passion we want to share with everyone. For more information please send us an e-mail or for information on your nearest orchid society you can visit the website of the South African Orchid Council: www.saoc.co.za RM Contact us Plantae Orchids Email: info@plantae.co.za Website: www.plantae.co.za Tel: +27 84 752 6823 (Nollie) / +27 84 458 1199 (Tinus) READER OFFER 3 RAY READERS CAN WIN ONE OF THE EXOTIC ORCHIDS AT PLANTAE ORCHIDS To stand a chance to win this outstanding gift, simply send an email with all your contact details to: marketing@ray-magazine.com, Subject: Plantae Orchids. Winners will be notified in person.

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Many orchids can be grown successfully in the house or in the garden whether you stay in Johannesburg, Nelspruit, Cape Town or Durban. Moth Orchids (Phalaenopsis) and Slipper Orchids (Paphiopedilum) normally do well indoors. Cymbidiums and Oncidium-types will grow outside in most climates where they are protected from frost. The warmer subtropical areas of the country are suitable for a wide range of orchids.

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Orchids had a reputation of being an elitist hobby and finicky growers. Luckily with modern technology and improved propagation methods, orchids have become affordable and a wide variety of species and hybrids which are easy to grow and flower are available at reasonable prices. Chain stores such as Woolworths, Pick ‘n Pay and Spar have in recent years stocked Phalaenopsis with their elegant long lasting flowers. Some people even choose to buy these instead of a bunch of flowers as it will last much longer, while costing about the same.

Plants are also supplied to function coordinators and brides to be to add that special edge to the event. The nursery is open by appointment only or on the various open days advertised on the website. On these open days people have the opportunity to walk through the growing area to gain firsthand experience on how each of the plants are grown and are able to ask question related to the various needs of the plants they would like to purchase. In June we started with a monthly newsletter, which has been a huge success. We get requests for the newsletter on a daily basis through our website. The newsletter contains topical information on orchid culture, a plant of the month feature with in depth descriptions, photo’s and cultural information on a specific orchid and we also offer a special on a plant with every newsletter. Our website features an orchid care page where detailed information on growing orchids in the home or garden and orchid care instructions for specific groups can be found.

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It could be the touch of the exotic, the shape, colour or even the fragrance. Some people even confess to enjoying the challenge of growing the very difficult species while others love how easy some orchids are to keep. One of the most sought after and most beautiful is still our indigenous Disa uniflora or Pride of Table Mountain.


A Mediterranean Haven Text: Cornelius Botha

The moment we arrived at Eco Landscapes we were instantly swept away

to another world. Landscape designer Reneé Wright has the unique talent to transform any garden into a tranquil abode, a place where you can relax and get in touch with your European roots. The house is a sandstone colour, displaying the weathered look of the Mediterranean architectural style perfectly. One wall is covered in a magnificent mural, scenes from a Mediterranean courtyard. Trees and plants have been carefully chosen to enhance this tranquil picture. Leading from the entrance gate to the back garden is a long elegant Italian water feature, home to some of the most beautiful koi fish I’ve seen in a while. The sound of the water is refreshing and restful as it spills from the mouths of carved maidens and slips in a clear sheet from a spillway. A well-designed garden normally contains surprising elements of wonder and in Reneé’s case the private back garden takes one’s breath away as you wander through the rustic gate. R ay M

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Step into a haven, where two separate shady corners

Images: Michael Maherry & Eco Landscapes

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beckons you to relax onto cushioned recliners, while a bubbling stream and birdsong provides music to sooth away the days’ worries… The path is set with simple paving stones and mulched with gravel through which an abundance of joyous flowers dance in the sunlight. Many arid plants, such as aroids, succulents, and cacti thrive in this hot climate, perfect for an exotic Mediterranean style garden. Even if your space is limited, you can still easily create a Mediterranean garden with the use of unglazed terracotta pots. From doorsteps to patios and rooftops galore, the use of pots can provide the opportunity to include many types of plants. In this Mediterranean garden, you’ll find warm, dry air filled with many fragrant delights, like lavender. Numerous heat-loving and drought-tolerant plants can be found here, as well as large architectural plantings, such as palms, bay topiary, and tree ferns. Pots of bamboo make excellent additions to the Mediterranean garden too. Gaps are filled with grasses and a mix of exotic flowers and fruits, such as lemon. 



















































 Mosaic tiles are commonly used in this Mediterranean


garden, seen decorating walls, tables, and pots, regardless of size. Substitutes for mosaic tiles can come from broken dishes or stained glass. Simply use mosaic adhesive and sanded grout found in craft and tile stores. Climbing crops (grapevine) and fragrant flowering vines (honeysuckle) on rustic-looking vertical supports were used for further ambiance, as well as privacy. You too can create a Mediterranean garden, wherever you live, with bright colours and hot hues from flowers like coreopsis, blanket flower, sedum, and sunflower. Set these off with contrasting plants in shades of blue along with silvery-grey foliage plants. Artemisia, Catmint, blue Festuca, Mexican-bush sage, and lamb’s ear are good choices. Include a variety of fragrant herbs like lavender, rosemary, and thyme. Olive and citrus trees also provide a Mediterranean touch. Lightly coloured boulders placed within the garden will also help mimic the Mediterranean landscape and don’t forget the water features. RM PRINCIPAL DESIGNER: RENÉE WRIGHT SOUTH AFRICA: ITALY: MOBILE: (0027) 83 271 0880 (0039) 340 253 1822 TELEPHONE: (0027)12 361 9644 renee@ecolandscapes.co.za www. ecolandscapes.co.za

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(0039) 0187 460 087

lesedi@gmail.com www. ecolandscapes.co.za

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Ray Mag Gardening