Edible gardens claim their space
Two very different edible gardens caught Alice SpenserHiggs ’ attention at this year’s Garden World Spring Festival
EDIBLE gardens can be glamorous, chic and cutting edge. They have claimed their space as gardens in their own right, not to be tucked away into a corner or at the bottom of the garden.
Notice of this has been given at this year’s Spring Festival at Garden World, which includes a raft of new designer gardens, some ingenious make-overs of previous show gardens and the Gold Award Winning 2012 Kirstenbosch-SA Chelsea Exhibit. The festival opens today and runs until Sunday September 2.
The two edible garden showstealers have been placed side by side. They are utterly different designer gardens that use the same kind of plants.
The most ingenious is Sonita Young’s organic, townhouse or rooftop garden based on the principles of Aquaponics, which combines hydroponics (or waterbased planting) and aquaculture (fish cultivation) with companion planting. Basically, plant boxes containing lettuce, oriental vegetables, herbs and winter flowers are placed on top of fish tanks.
The re-circulating water from the tanks waters the plants and the waste generated by the goldfish fertilises them. All one has to do is feed the fish and replace the plants when their season is over.
It is all quite spotless and tranquil, thanks to the sound of water and the circulating fish.
Aquaponics has been taken up in the US by kitchen gardeners, futurists and practical environmentalists, as well as in drought stricken Australia because it requires 80% to 90% less water than growing methods.
When Young looked at the space available for her show garden, the question she asked herself was why not change the limited space into a productive space that benefited the whole family all the time instead of just being lived in at weekends or viewed from a window.
Her design is contemporary and sleek. A water wall has a blue glass panel with an abstract image
traditional representing fish scales, while the artwork on the back wall is a laser cut steel panel of a school of fish. The stacked planter boxes were inspired by one of the winning Chelsea gardens from last year.
The uncluttered space provides room for children to play, outdoor dining and socialising around a mobile fire pit.
Next door is ‘Jane’s Delicious Garden’, created by Jane Griffiths, TV producer, garden writer, artist, traveller and gardener extraordinaire. Her garden is riotous, and as lush as any flower garden, though everything is edible.
Natural pathways wind through a patchwork of beds, with cabbages, multi-coloured Swiss chard, and blood sorrel stealing the show. Bright splashes of yellow and orange calendula, kale, pansies and poppies rub shoulders with mizuna and tatsoi.
A recycled wheelbarrow overflows with edibles and is accompanied by containers filled with herbs and vegetables. Recycled guttering and wooden pallets against the wall burst with lettuce, greens and herbs. Tripods add height to the garden and are placed to support tomatoes and summer squash.
A third edible garden was planted by Sought after Seedlings, the agent for Franchi Sementi heirloom seeds from Italy.
Their garden is a makeover of last year’s pizza herb and veggie garden and is also full of variety. It is a novel way of creating a shop window for different varieties of vegetables, and certainly doesn’t lack in colour or interest.
A programme of talks includes herb guru Margaret Roberts, horticulturalists David Viljoen & JJ van Rensburg and radio personality Lynton Johnson. Jane Griffiths will be giving a talk on growing an organic, edible garden at Garden World on August 9.
For more information on the festival contact Magriet or Corné on 011 957 2545 or 011 956 3003, or visit www.gardenworld.co.za.
Cabbages are the stars of the show in this section of ‘Jane’s Delicious Garden’ at the Garden World Spring Festival, left. Ultra modern in design, this edible garden at the Garden World Spring Festival uses the soothing elements of water and fish to...