Plant the Look - South Africa
Have you always dreamt of a South African style garden? Do you wish you could be dining in Durban on dukkah-spiced boerewors right now, accompanied by the melodies of Miriam Makeba?
We show you how to create the look of a South African garden in your own back yard.

South African Garden Style - bright and bold

There are two notable - and very different - styles of gardening which come to mind when thinking about South Africa.

aloes and succulents The first South African garden style is one that even keen gardeners might not realise is South African, because all round the world we have taken their plants so much to our hearts.

Many popular garden plants originate here on the very tip of the African continent - it is a hothouse for beautiful blooms.

There's beautifully resilient garden favourites such as agapanthus, red hot pokers, wild iris (Dietes) and clivia blooming in blue, white, orange, gold.

osteospermum and gazania

 

There's rugged bold flowering succulents that stand up to drought; and colourful daisies that thrive on sea cliffs in poor dry soil and the battering of salt spray.

There's bright summer bulb flowers that can cope with temperature extremes, and look glamorous in fancy florist bouquets.

And like Australia, South Africa also has towns famous for streets lined with gloriously purple jacaranda trees.

 

South African Garden Style - strange yet familiar

leucospermum pincushions The second South African garden style reflects the rugged beauty of the stunning natural landscape; and is one that blends beautifully with our own native Australian wildflowers,

Indeed, many South African plants are often confused with Aussie natives, or we have appropriated them as our own.

These are the Fynbos plants, meaning 'fine bush' - a unique range of plants endemic to the Southern Cape.

They include many close relatives and lookalikes of our native Australian flowers and plants - close cousins of banksia, woolly bush, grevillea, and waratah.

 

leucadendronYou can see the similarities between the two countries' plants. Like Aussie natives , Fynbos plants have evolved to thrive in harsh inhospitable conditions and poor dry soils.

Like Aussie natives, Fynbos plants often have small needle-like leaves to withstand temperature extremes; or stiff leathery leaves, like the leucadendron pictured, to resist evaporation and hold in valuable rain.

Like Aussie natives, Fynbos flowers are either small, starry, and dainty; or, as in the iconic King Protea (and our own waratah), some of the biggest and boldest in the floral kingdom.

 

South African Style Gardens - plant the look

plants for the South African look Essential plants to get that South African look in your own garden are bright summer bulbs - gladioli, freesia, red hot poker; succulents - like aloe and kalanchoe; and starry-flowered Cape daisy (Osteospermum) and gazania.

And you can't go past Strelitzia, the bird of paradise flower - there's even a yellow variety called Mandela's Gold.

Mingle Aussie and Cape natives together for a wilder natural look - diosma (Coleonema), leucadendron, pincushion leucospermum, and protea, symbol of the nation.