Colourful winters

2017-06-07 06:01
Pansies have bigger faces and leaves than the viola.

Pansies have bigger faces and leaves than the viola.

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A SPECIAL feature of winter is the sweet, fragrant face of the pansy and the viola, and the bonus is that they are easy to grow.
Pansies have bigger faces and leaves than the viola, which is also known as Heart’s Ease.
Vygies, otherwise known by their hard-to-spell name mesembryanthemums, are quite possibly South Africa’s most colourful group of plants. What more could you ask for in a winter garden?
Did you know that their most commonly used name, which is Afrikaans in origin, vygie, means small fig? This is because its fruiting capsule resembles a small fig.

Both pansies and violas brighten up an early spring garden with their multicoloured faces that are delicately perfumed and edible too. The blooms offer a soft, sweet fragrance that is most noticeable in the early morning and at dusk. For those who want to plant pansies for their smell, choose yellow or blue blooms as they have the strongest scent.

Pansies generally have fewer blooms per plant, but make up for it with much larger flowers. Violas have small, dainty flowers, but they are very florific. Both perform well in a sunny or partially shaded position, so planting under deciduous trees in autumn is ideal.
Violas are even happy in quite shady positions, so are perfect for brightening up dull areas. If we happen to experience a hot “Indian (late) summer, be sure to mulch well around your newly planted seedlings as they don’t like warm soil.
Mesembryanthemum are technically classed as succulents and are excellent for those areas that are experiencing drought or are prone to drought conditions. The best know spring-flowering vygies are the Drosanthemum, Delosperma and Lampranthus species.
With a range of colours to impress even the fussiest gardener, these species include everything from shrub-like plants to ground covers.

Depending on what you choose from the vast selection at your disposal, you can plant them anywhere, from rockeries to borders, containers and even as ground covers in beds that receive a lot of sunlight.
The key really is that they are sun lovers and don’t require a lot of maintenance, so make sure they’re not paired with anything requiring regular watering.

Broccoli is now one of the most favoured of all veggies to grow because of its health properties. If you’ve ever eaten shop-bought broccoli that was so tough it was barely edible, you’d be forgiven for not enjoying this incredible vegetable.
The good news is that this unfortunate by-product of the way they are stored is something that can be avoided when you grow your own. When harvesting your broccoli, it’s never good to leave them too long in the hope that they will get bigger, only to let them go past their best. The heads should be tight when harvested and at the first sign that they are separating, they should be harvested immediately.
For more information, go to www.lifeisagar
den.co.za
— The Bedding Plant Growers’ Association.

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