There is a move afoot that will certainly gratify ‘Proudly South African’ protagonists – that is, the increased use of indigenous plants in your home or office garden.
Landscaping with southern African indigenous plants has a refreshingly different visual effect versus the more formal English and European styles or the highly disciplined Japanese and Zen type garden. There is far more potential for a free flowing natural effect throughout the garden by including our own indigenous trees, grasses, groundcovers, and shrubs, all blending in harmonious splendor.
Trevor Elliott of INDIGI-GROW, a proud and passionate grower and “indigi-scaper” of our natural flora has the following sound recommendations for your existing or new garden: “When planning your indigenous garden, remember that many indigenous plants are area specific and may not thrive out of their natural habitat. In South Africa, there are seven different vegetation regions with different climatic conditions and soil types. Plants that may thrive in coastal or fynbos type areas may not thrive well in the interior, due to changes of altitude, humidity and temperature.
“There are ample motives for considering an indigenous garden,” explains Trevor, “the desire to make a difference, even in a small way, to the future welfare of our mother earth. By going the indigenous “root”, there is a wondrous environmental spin-off. The abundance of vibrant birdlife and many small creatures such as lizards, chameleons, butterflies, insects and earthworms will quickly be attracted and thrive in such a garden.
“With more than 23 000 indigenous species occurring naturally in South Africa, why would anyone opt for alien, exotic flora in their gardens?” expounds Trevor. “Sadly, many garden lovers are unaware of the many alien species, which have arrived in SA over decades, which are highly invasive. Many of these plants create havoc with our indigenous flora once they ‘escape’ into our countryside. They multiply at alarming rates and modify the environment, literally strangling, destroying and displacing plants that naturally grow in an area. This leads to an imbalance of vegetation, insects, birds and even mammals.”
INVASIVE ALIEN PLANTS
ERADICATE those aliens such as Bamboo, Syringa, Black and Silver Wattle, Blue gum, Port Jackson Willow, Lantana, Sesbania and Bug weed, Trevor warns with conviction. These “ALIENS” rapidly command dominance over natural plants, not only in one’s own garden, but in reserves and precious conserved areas, where they grow rampantly, if not strictly controlled.
PLANNING YOUR INDIGENOUS GARDEN-HOME OR OFFICE
Preparation, preparation and last but not least preparation.
It is important that you have an understanding of what will thrive in your regional area before you start your garden project, at your home or office. You would surely want an environmentally sound environment here.
The next step is to identify the condition of your soil and prepare it accordingly prior to any form of planting – this will ensure healthy long term growth of any planting that follows. A well laid out garden not only provides food and shelter for the birds and bees, but also… peace and food for the soul!
If Trevor has succeeded in inspiring some enthusiasm for your home or office garden environment, why not share his passion and ……… GO WILD & GROW INDIGENOUS.