Gardening chief sub-editor Diane Peacock selects a few favourite finds from the SANA (SA Nursery Association) Spring Trade Fair held in Jo’burg
This biannual trade day held by SANA always provides a nice morning out and my hopes of seeing a fabulous display of really luxuriant, floriferous foliage and botanical treasures weren’t disappointed.
On arrival I was immediately smitten by this soft romantic combination of lacy adiantum fern with the exotic prettiness of an azalea. Sights like these inspire my enthusiasm for gardening and there was more…
Sure-fire colour and easy flowering
How pretty is this unusual Petunia ‘Pirouette Purple’ (above left) and the bushy Gerberas (above right) with their great big, cheerful blooms?
Going for gold
Gold is an on-trend colour at the moment and mono-colour garden palettes make a peaceful picture. The Cupressus ‘Gold Crest’ (top, above left) and Osteospermum FlowerPower ‘Bronze Yellow’ (top, above right) work well together. There are lots of other bronze and gold-coloured osteospermum available that glow alluringly.
I’m always a sucker for any kind of lavender. What they lack on the showy side – having soft green foliage tones and pale flowers, they make up for with their hardiness, their fragrance and healing properties. Lavender can also be used as garnish for salads, cakes and other desserts. They make subtle background plants, and if you want a more striking look, plant them next to a white wall or as a companion to white-flowered plants or roses.
Coleonema ‘Pink Diamond’ (above left) has bright pink, star-shaped flowers that bloom for a long period on compact bushes. Aloes are all-round stars as eye-catching focal points and feature plants. They’re drought tolerant and attract birds and beneficial insects.
On the edible side
Growing edible plants is very rewarding and there were lots on offer. This new range of micro compostable herb kits from Grow-Rite (above left) is super handy and includes heirloom seeds, a coco peat disc, a label, pots and a tray. Lemon thyme (above right) can be planted next to regular thyme and makes a great addition to any herb garden.
Strawberries on show were ‘Elan’ (above left) which has plump fruit and ‘Chandler’ (above right). Both kinds are ever-bearing varieties, this means they produce sweet fruit ideal for desserts and snacking throughout spring and summer. Plant at least 24 for a bountiful harvest.
The fact that the fruit of the Citrus Calamondin from Montana is fairly bitter didn’t put me off. Its ornamental nature makes it an attractive choice anywhere in the garden particularly in containers and in courtyards. If watered and fertilised regularly it will present fruit and fragrant blossoms throughout the year. It grows to about 3m high.
I found these Solanum muricatum ‘Pepino’ rather intriguing. The label declares they have a similar taste to melon and are also ideal for containers. They grow about 1m high and 80cm wide, bear fruit from early spring to late autumn and love full sun. Their lovely lilac flowers will complement the white ones of the strawberries.