Ernst van Jaarsveld talks trends and wa­ter­wise plants

Have a plant or a plant-re­lated prob­lem that’s puz­zling you? Writer and hor­ti­cul­tur­ist Ernst van Jaarsveld is sure to have the an­swer.

go! Platteland - - CONTENTS -

Ernst van Jaarsveld spent four decades as hor­ti­cul­tur­ist at the Kirsten­bosch Na­tional Botan­i­cal Gar­den, has penned sev­eral books, in­clud­ing Won­der­ful Wa­ter­wise Gar­den­ing, and is well known for gar­den­ing col­umns. Ernst works handin-hand-with na­ture and is cur­rently cre­at­ing a suc­cu­lent gar­den on the farm Baby­lon­storen out­side Fran­schhoek.

Are peo­ple more in­ter­ested in wa­ter­sav­ing gar­dens than when your book on the sub­ject was first pub­lished 16 years ago? South Africa is very dry. This makes peo­ple look for ways to re­duce their wa­ter needs. It’s note­wor­thy that many gar­dens to­day have smaller lawns than be­fore. Gar­den­ers also make greater use of or­ganic and in­or­ganic soil blan­kets.

Why should gar­den­ers con­sider indige­nous plants? Plant­ing lo­cal indige­nous plants ben­e­fits the en­vi­ron­ment. These plants are adapted to cope with the pre­vail­ing drought. Set­tling the plant is es­sen­tial, but once it grows well, it gives you so much plea­sure. Lo­cal an­i­mals, es­pe­cially en­demic birds, lizards and geckos, will be very happy in your gar­den. All these an­i­mals play a role in bi­o­log­i­cal con­trol. You’re do­ing your bit for na­ture con­ser­va­tion and your wa­ter bill will cer­tainly come down too.

South Africa is a world in one coun­try, with a lot of dif­fer­ent habi­tats and cli­mates. For far too long peo­ple have been plant­ing any indige­nous plant re­gard­less of the re­gion, with the re­sult that many of the plants died. If we plant eco­log­i­cally cor­rectly – in other words, the right plants for each re­gion – the plants are self-suf­fi­cient. So if you live in the Bushveld, you should es­tab­lish a Bushveld gar­den. What are some of the lat­est gar­den­ing trends? Suc­cu­lents are very pop­u­lar and aloes are used in­creas­ingly, thanks es­pe­cially to all the ex­cit­ing new cul­ti­vars re­leased each year. These plants im­me­di­ately give a gar­den an indige­nous feel. Ground cov­ers, bulbs and pig’s ears (the Cotyle­dons) are also very pop­u­lar. Nat­u­ral rock gar­dens are built to create a habi­tat for ben­e­fi­cial lizards and geckos.

What are your five favourite wa­ter­wise plants? May I pick seven? • Thorn trees would cer­tainly

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.