Gardening: planning ahead

“Looking for new plants will have you itching to get into the garden,” says gardening chief sub-editor Diane Peacock

I spotted these intriguing ornamental kale at the Plantimex Trade Fair in Jo’burg. With their two-toned foliage and pale blush pink centres they’re so appealing I have to plant a few in my garden. The good news is they love cold weather.

The foliage of ornamental kale comes in very interesting shapes and contrasts

The shape and colour of the kale draws the eye and dictates the colours of other plants I select later in the season. At this stage, I’m just having fun planning, and later if I find something else I like better (and chances are I will) I’ll just find another spot for them.

White is a nice peaceful colour and blends in beautifully with other hues. My garden is very shady, and as I have limited space, I use pots as they’re a great way to garden without fuss. In fact, they’re a bit like scatter cushions, they can be moved around and coordinated to match your decor. These pretty Calibrachoa ‘Cabaret White’ (above) from Ball Straathof are low-growing plants that spread beautifully and flower in shady areas.


Also ideal for pots and borders is the Viola Sorbet Series from Ball Straathof. Available in a range of interesting shades like ‘Marina’ (above left) and ‘Morpho’ (above right) they complement many other colours. They can also be planted now and bloom in winter.

Oregano (above left) Dill (above right)

Herbs make great foliage whether planted in beds or containers so they’re certainly on my list. Plus, I want to carry out my plan now and dill, rocket, coriander and parsley all like cold weather. Living Herbs have a great range to choose from. Visit where you’ll find an A – Z list of everything you need to know about herbs.

From left to right: rocket, coriander and parsley (above left) Parsley and mint (above right)


Finally groundcovers are essential and are a versatile cover-up. Mixing golden foliage with darker leaves adds interesting contrasts. Duranta ‘Golden Dew Drop’ (above left) is indigenous and water wise and grows in sun and shade. The delicate powder-blue flowers it bears in summer and autumn are a drawcard for butterflies. My next choice, lysimachia (above right), comes in dark green and the light greenish-yellow ‘Aurea’. It has yellow cup-shaped flowers in summer; is very low spreading and self-roots. Visit, they specialise in groundcovers and have information on what, where and when to plant them.

So with this restful palette, I’m ready for spring when my garden comes to life and I can add dashes of colour and a little more drama.

Happy gardening,