Designer gardens at Garden World’s Spring festival 2016

Each year Garden World in Gauteng, to the west of Johannesburg, has its Spring Festival. This year there are more than 20 designer gardens on display until 4 September 2016. Many of these designer gardens are different from your usual show garden as some of them are revamps of the previous year’s garden and some are makeovers of a much older garden. This is good because it makes the designer see the show garden more like designing for a residential client where there are always things to keep as well as places for new ideas. Continue reading “Designer gardens at Garden World’s Spring festival 2016”

See Madagascar’s palms before they’re gone

The extinction of Madagascar’s palms are “truly terrifying…the situation cannot be ignored”. For 192 palm species, Madagascar is the only place on Earth – and most probably in the Universe – where you can see them growing in the wild. If we don’t get our act together, the remote possibility of parallel evolution occurring on another planet may be your only option. Continue reading “See Madagascar’s palms before they’re gone”

The Living Eden: Madagascar’s Unique Flora and Fauna

Join me and Craig Lidgerwood on this garden tour to explore Madagascar’s unique flora and fauna, exploring Madagascar’s rich and unique wildlife habitats, venturing into exquisite national parks and reserves ranging from semi-tropical rainforests, succulent and spiny thicket, rocky landscapes of the central west and marvelling at the spectacular mineral forest (karst spires) of the Tsingy de Bemaraha. Continue reading “The Living Eden: Madagascar’s Unique Flora and Fauna”

Garden travel to broaden your mind

I am about to jump on a plane and head off to France to lead a tour of gardens and châteaux of Normandy and the Loire Valley and if you haven’t booked it’s a bit late now! But the idea of travelling across the world to see gardens and gardening that I may well have little hope of emulating started me thinking. Is it just horticultural eye candy or is there more to it than that? Continue reading “Garden travel to broaden your mind”

Morocco’s ‘Majorelle’ & Hotel La Mamounia

As I mentioned in my last post there were only two gardens that I really wanted to visit in Morocco, Jardin Majorelle and Hotel La Mamounia, both of which are located in Marrakech. Due to a bout of traveller’s tummy I nearly missed them both which would have been a great disappointment. However, after 36hrs confined to our room and some shuffling of the itinerary Craig and I finally set off for the Jardin Majorelle. Continue reading “Morocco’s ‘Majorelle’ & Hotel La Mamounia”

Fountains, flowers (& storks) of Morocco

There were only two gardens that I wanted to visit when we went to Morocco, Jardin Marjorelle and the gardens of the hotel La Mamounia, both in Marrakesh. I’ll do a separate post about them in the near future but in the meantime I’d like to share some observations about some of the plants and gardens we saw along the way. Continue reading “Fountains, flowers (& storks) of Morocco”

The succulent Karoo

Flying over the white snowy mountains of the western cape and looking down at one of the 7 new natural wonders of the world – Table Mountain, towering above Cape Town, easily one of the most beautiful cities on earth, you know you are in a special place. I always feel like I have arrived home when touching down in Cape Town, although I live on the opposite and much wilder end of the African continent, but the cape is where my heart lies and always will be, and no, it is not just because of the excellent wine. Continue reading “The succulent Karoo”

The ugliest plant in the world

As you all probably know I’m a mad keen plant collector and within the constraints of climate and the size of my garden I want to grow as many different plants as I can manage. Having said this I also wish to make my garden an attractive landscape (at least to my eyes) and not just a collection. Continue reading “The ugliest plant in the world”

Mama nature’s merge with architecture

Having to be on the filming location at 4.00am in the morning is not what I call fun, especially because I am not the most bubbly morning person, not at all! But arriving on site with my (also half asleep and driving!) co-presenter I quickly woke up, as if I had a infusion of Red Bull to my heart. Entering the Cradle of Humankind was special not only to all South Africans but all of humanity… Continue reading “Mama nature’s merge with architecture”

Tuna and other succulent fruit

To avoid death you may eat a cactus but not a euphorbia. To avoid an irritating meal don’t eat the prickly bits of either. Mostly it’s the fruit of cacti that people eat, after carefully removing any spines. The dragon fruit, from the climbing cactus. Continue reading “Tuna and other succulent fruit”

Seeding Africa

There are some 675 million hectares of forest in Africa, now. This forest (only one tenth of it primary natural forest these days) is being removed at the rate of 3.4 million hectares per year – for firewood, timber, unsustainable food and medicinal harvesting, and urban expansion. Continue reading “Seeding Africa”