Stay water wise in winter

2016-04-05 06:00

Even with winter approaching, you still need to be water wise in your garden.

Water is our most precious resource, so we need to explore adapting our gardens by planting more water wise plants.

Besides requiring less water, indigenous plants also reduce air pollution and promote biodiversity and stewardship of our natural heritage. However, there seems to be a misconception that indigenous plants lack colour which is why there has been a bit of resistance to planning and planting indigenous gardens.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Plants such as Gazania, Bauhinia galpinii and Cape honeysuckle (Tecomacapensis) provide a blaze of orange which can be contrasted with the gentle blues of agapanthus, plumbago and felicia, while pink indigofera and anisodonte and the violet flowers of tinnia barbata can provide a pretty background to a mixed border. The possibilities and combinations are endless.

One spectacular but hardy plant that can withstand periods of drought is agapanthus. The thick, fleshy roots store water and food and they thrive and flower copiously if planted in full sun with well drained soil and plenty of compost. When flowering they add lovely colour to a garden from blue purple to white and sometimes even pink. They make attractive container plants, even when not in flower, and are excellent cut flowers.

Beetroot is another veggie that is easy to grow. It does best in partial or full sun. Beets might have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, but they are also rich in nutrients and most people can safely eat beetroot a few times a week. Drinking beetroot juice lowers blood pressure, boosts your stamina and fights inflammation. Beets are also rich in fibre and help with detox.

Make use of the last of the summer sunshine to plant veggies for hearty winter soups. Why not try radish, leeks, beetroot, turnips and onions?

Remember to plant early in the morning or late in the afternoon as the midday sun will make it far more difficult for new plants to cope.

This column was contributed by Stodels. Read more water-wise gardening tips in People’s Post the first week of every month or visit www.stodels.com.

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