Newsletter Jan 2019

The Petal Faire Nursery website has come a long way since its first rather disastrous incarnation in 2002. It was a time when every second person with access to a computer was claiming to be a web designer and I was one of the many who fell prey to their empty promises. I am eternally grateful to Talana and Nadia from AltEnter who came across my path, very fortuitously, in 2008 and developed the wonderfully interactive website that has served the nursery and our clients so well for the past 10 years.

I am a firm proponent of the maxim “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” but there is always room for improvement. Towards the end of last year I felt it was time to refresh the site and tweak some of the functionality. Regular users will know by now that the menu options have been streamlined and moved from the left side of the page to the top. I am thrilled with how much less cluttered the pages look thanks to that one small change. We are also in the process of changing the plant pages so that you see only a photo and broad description, with full details accessed via a [view all characteristics] link.

Many thanks to Suzanne Badenhorst and her team from iLead et al for helping me with the new look - and for being prepared to do a facelift without pressuring me to go the very expensive route of building a whole new website!

Do give us your feedback on the changes. The aim is of course to make things as friendly as possible for our clients.

IN THE GARDEN

All the wonderful rain we have had in Gauteng is an absolute godsend after the heatwave of December. Naturally, the weeds are just as happy as the “official” plants in the garden but the extra work is a small price to pay. The plants in the nursery and the garden are also more than ready for their mid-summer haircut.

Bee fest

A new canna!

Buddleja lilac

The garden survived the excessive temperatures over the Christmas period surprisingly well and we had few casualties, but an interesting thing I noted was that there seemed to be fewer flowers than usual for the season. Could this be some form of survival mechanism? Or a way of holding back while waiting for conditions to improve? I would be interested to hear if anyone else noticed the same thing and whether there are any theories about why this might be.

Thunbergia grandiflora alba

The Stanhopia oculata or eye-spot Stanhopia orchids are in bloom.  That scent seems to wander around the garden and permeates every room in the house.  What a joy!   

Stanhopia oculata

IN THE NURSERY

Click here to view all the plants featured in this newsletter.

·         Indigenous plants

Berula repanda or Sium repanda is a rhizomatous bog perennial with simple fern like leaves and umbels of cream flowers in summer. It is hardy and evergreen, grows approximately 1.5 m high and likes sun or semi shade.

With its large bright glossy leaves and spikes of purple flowers in summer the fast growing deciduous shrub Brillantaisia subulugurica or Giant salvia is a gorgeous filler for sunny or semi shaded areas in the garden. It is semi hardy and grows about 2 m high.  Nice for a tropical feel in the garden.

I am always fascinated by the perfect lime yellow flowers of Pelargonium gibbosum or Gouty pelargonium. This is a semi succulent perennial with notched blue grey leaves and clusters of night scented flowers from spring to summer that attract night pollinators. It is evergreen and semi hardy, grows about 50 cm high and likes a sunny position.  Although this gem hails from the winter rainfall areas, it does extremely well in our Highveld gardens. 

We have beautiful specimens of Blue lips or Sclerochiton harveyanus in 10 litre bags at the moment. This is a gorgeous evergreen shrub with small, almost two-tone glossy leaves and scented dark blue flowers from summer to autumn. It is evergreen and hardy, grows about 2 m high and likes to grow in shade or semi shade.

·         Exotic plants

Clerodendrum schweinfurthii is a very rare fast growing African trailing shrub with bright leaves, clusters of scented white flowers from spring to autumn and unusual blue-black fruits. It grows about 1.5 m high, is evergreen and hardy and likes sun or semi shade.

The waxy vibrant yellow flowers of the Marsh marigold, Caltha palustris, make it a must for anyone with a pond. The kidney shaped toothed leaves are also attractive. It flowers from spring to summer, is evergreen and very hardy and reaches a height of about 60 cm. Plant in full sun and allow up to 10 cm of water above the crown of the plant.

Nymphaea hybrids are of course everyone’s first thought when it comes to water plants, with their round floating leaves and gorgeous flowers from summer to autumn. We have wonderful selection of plants in stock. These deciduous perennials like sun and need monthly feeding.

The canna hybrids are flowering beautifully now and will continue to do so until late autumn. These tall floriferous perennials are deciduous but they multiply well and create quite a spectacle with the big paddle shaped leaves and abundant flowers. They can take sun or semi shade.

SNIPPETS

Christmas may be a thing of the past for another year but there are always birthdays and other celebratory events. Don’t forget that we offer gift vouchers for any amount you want.

We are starting with preparations for our autumn Open Weekend on 9th and 10th March, so diarise this special weekend.

Happy gardening!

Leoné