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Landscaping Ideas

1. Trees.
Apart from the fact that most trees are “set and forget”, i.e. plant them, water them, but largely leave them to their own devices; trees, whether a single specimen tree, or a stand or copse of them, add a focal-point to a garden. Depends on what it is you are after – somewhere to sit in the shade; something to contemplate – a particular tree of beauty; somewhere for the kids to play; maybe as the back-drop to the rest of the garden.

2. Ground-covers.
Plants with a growing habit that covers the ground, such as thyme, chammomile, or pennyroyal – make good lawn alternatives. Those plant names are often preceded with the word “lawn”. There are many forms of daisy’s that can cover a considerable amount of ground, in a short space of time – Osteospermum, or African Daisy comes easily to mind. Although in need of a bi-annual prune, the flower show far outweighs this small task. VERY hardy. Many colours.

Violets – Violets are VERY hardy little things, able to tolerate quite a range of growing conditions. If you plant half a dozen of these, by next year they will have re-seeded all over the place. Normally planted in the shade, they fair well in half sun situations. TIP: Once they finish flowering, either mow or whipper-snip them, down to the base – VERY short. This is because, in order to flower well the following season, after each flowering they need sun-light on the base stems.

Mesembryanthem, or Pig Face – Strikingly vibrant, almost florescent, orange/red/yellow flowers, succulent stems, leaves are greyish green, flowers are daisy like, and open in the full sun. Can be established in near desert situations, even in rock-walls.

Bacopa, or Snowflake – Perennial ground cover, flowers being white or blue and tubular with expanding lobes. Scented leaves, good plant for the shade.
Nasturtium – Round waxy leaves that hold the morning dew, profuse flowering from red through to yellow, and everything in between. A fast growing annual – leaves, flowers, even seed-pods can be eaten and or pickled – a nice pepper alternative.

3. Water Features.
Water features such as fountains, fish-ponds, or still-water-ponds, are a marvelous addition to your landscape. Not only pleasing to the eye but also helps aid relaxation, through the soothing sounds created.

4. No-Cost Plants.
Well, this is an easy one. Friends, family, or neighbors, are your best source of no-cost plants for your landscape. By this, I mean cuttings and or seeds. Most, but certainly not all, plants can be reproduced by taking cuttings. If you think this is too difficult regarding your experience – try something like geraniums. Now, I use this example as, if you have never taken and planted cuttings before – it is hard to fail with geraniums. Not the big, flashy, floppy flowering Pelargonium – these are generally a little more difficult to get going.
O.K. let us do this. Cuttings should be about 6 inches long and about three eighths of an inch thick. There should be at least one leaf on this cutting – not for any magical-gardening-type-reasons, more because if this IS your first time, the leaf tells you which way is up when you plant it. With this particular plant, the cutting can be left for up to 3 days, before it needs to be planted (yet another fine reason to choose this particular plant). If you do not already have an established piece of garden to plant into, get a pot and some potting-mix. In either case, make a hole one third as deep as the cutting is long – with your finger, or a pencil, put the cutting in that hole and firm the soil around the cutting. Water it. Sit down, relax. Congratulate yourself – you are now a gardener.