Ed­i­ble gar­dens claim their space

Two very dif­fer­ent ed­i­ble gar­dens caught Alice SpenserHiggs ’ at­ten­tion at this year’s Gar­den World Spring Fes­ti­val

Business Day - Home Front - - HOMEFRONT -

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...

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