The Spring Festival at Garden World

Gardening sub-editor Diane Peacock takes a look at a few favourite trends at this year’s Garden World Spring Festival

This year’s festival theme is ‘Nature’s Bounty’ and all 17 gardens demonstrate just how easy it is to establish a beautiful, eco-friendly garden that requires very little upkeep. The use of plants like succulents, aloes and other indigenous species that naturally store water was prevalent. The fact that these varieties encourage wildlife to visit the garden was also highlighted. My favourite trends included the way in which grasses, bark-chip mulch and succulents were used, as well as the concept of outdoor living.

The Sun, the Earth, the Water
In “The Sun, the Earth, the Water” garden, landscaped by Green Dimensions and partnered by SA Garden and Home, designer Priscilla Banda combined purple and lilac shades in a pairing of Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’ with the plummy grass-like foliage of black mondo grass (ophiopogon) which she used as an edging for this bed.


One of the ideas I loved most was the use of grasses and plants with grass-like foliage. These blend in well with most plants. They give a natural look that’s reminiscent of the freedom found in the countryside. Grasses are extremely low maintenance and can be propagated easily by division.

The Sun, the Earth, the Water

In the front section of “The Sun, the Earth, the Water” garden, alongside the water feature, black mondo grass (ophiopogon) looks striking with Nandina domestica ‘Pygmaea’.

Awakening of Dawn
“Awakening of Dawn”, designed by Russell Davidson, landscaped by Garden World. Russell applauds the beauty of the classic look and he used conifers and hedging in his symmetrical design. The little conifers, Platycladus ‘Aurea Nana Compacta’ (middle, front), and others give structure.

The grasses here integrate easily into the surrounding landscape to create a tapestry of texture. It’s colour shading with foliage plants.

Whole of Nature
In the “Whole of Nature” garden, designed by Vincent van Zyl and landscaped by Garden World, plants were grouped according to their water requirements.

There’s something soothing about grasses and Vincent used their understated tones in an exciting combination with cineraria. It’s also an example of how repetition creates unity and harmony.


Bark chips

“The Living Roof” garden, designed by Jamie Ferreira and landscaped by Jamie D Landscape Design, was a splendid mix of purple and orange hues and featured an eye-catching rough-skin lemon tree.

A number of the gardens featured bark chips which were used as a ground cover as well as a mulch to keep water from evaporating. While it discourages pests and disease I also love the way it functions not only as a unifying element but makes areas appear uncluttered and clean.

From the Ashes
The “From the Ashes” garden, designed by Praveer Sooka and landscaped by Twilight Grove Design, highlighted the beauty of aloes and fynbos.

The bark chip mulch blended in smoothly with aloes, ericas, leucadendrons and mimetes.

The Green Atelier
“The Green Atelier” was designed by Grant CGove of GLC Design Studio, constructed by Four Seasons Gardens and partnered by SA Garden and Home. Lavendula stoechas is fragrant and loved by many insects and contributes to this ideal creative garden studio with its office and wetland pool.


Another popular element was the lavish use of succulents which store water, and like grasses, can be propagated easily by division.

“Raw Beauty”, designed by Sonita Young and landscaped by Young Landscape Design Studio and Vuka-Scapes, was a minimalist garden that combined grasses and succulents, the latter both as groundcovers, in vertical planters and in statement pots.


Mexican fire pot
The “Contemporary Upcycling” garden, designed by Des van der Linden and landscaped by Deo Valento Garden Services & Landscaping, has features with a dual function such as a Mexican firepot for heating as well as cooking, wooden benches for seating and storage and a wooden daybed that slides out and doubles as a sandpit.
Outdoor living

Of course, enjoying your garden as a living space is a trend that remains popular. There was a panoply of great ideas for transforming outdoor areas into functional and relaxing spaces including using bold colours, mixed plantings and fruits and herbs planted in raised containers.

Raised planters

Raised planters make it easier to garden as there’s less bending involved and help to minimise the effect of high boundary walls.