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Things to do in the Cape Peninsula

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is world renowned for the beauty and diversity of the Cape flora it displays and for its setting against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Kirstenbosch only grows indigenous South African plants. The 528 hectare estate supports a diverse fynbos flora and natural forest.A touch of the past:People used Kirstenbosch long before the arrival of the European settlers in the 17th Century. In 1660 a hedge of wild almond (Brabejum stellatifolium) and brambles was planted to form a boundary of the colony. The forests were harvested for timber during the early years of the colony. The English Occupation in 1811 saw two large land grants being made. Colonel Bird built a house at the foot of Window Gorge and built the bath in the Dell. Henry Alexander built a house on the site of the old tea house.The different gardens: Peninsula garden: displays some 2500 plant species found on the Cape Peninsula.Waterwise garden: shows how to create a garden which requires far less water and maintenance than the average garden. Fragrance garden: features plants with interesting textures and scents. Medicinal garden: find out about many medicinal uses of South African Plants.The Dell: the oldest part of the garden featuring Colonel Bird’s Bath, tree ferns and a variety of shade-loving plants.Protea garden: features members of the Protea family. Most beautiful in Winter and Spring when in flower.Useful Plants garden: redevelopment and extention of Medicinal Garden. Van Riebeecks hedge: planted in 1660 to protect the cattle of the Cape Colony.The garden is open 365days a year from 08:00-19:00 (September to March) 08:00-18:00 (April to August).Adults: R45 Students with Student cards: R25 Children 6-17yrs: R10 Children under 6 years old are free. South African Senior Citizens have free entry on Tuesdays, if not a public holiday.

Kirstenbosch Website

Cape Point, a nature lovers paradise, a playground for the young and the old. From shipwrecks to hiking trails, whale-watching to bird-watching. These are just to name a few….Cape Point makes a great family day trip offering angling and diving sites, a historic trip of shipwrecks eg. the Flying Dutchmen and the Lusitania. One could also visit the Lighthouses. The birdlife, around 2500 species, makes for great bird-watching. The most notable species being Rock Kestrel, Black Shouldered Kite, Fish Eagle, Black Eagle, Spotted Eagle Owl and Jackal Buzzard. “Bush Birds” tend to be harder to spot due to the coarse, scrubby nature of fynbos. However when Proteas and Ericas flower, it attracts the sun-birds, sugar-birds and many other species. The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve offers great nature and bush walks, 1100 species of indigenous plants can be seen, among those are the Proteacae family. Game watching and whale watching are also a great attraction, but more so in the right reason.Restaurants, curio shops and more. Not to be missed is the Flying Dutchmen funicular, a trip loved by all, reaching a height of 702feet above sea level.

Cape Point Website

The largest bird park in Africa and one of the few large bird parks in the World.Over 3 000 birds (and small animals) of 400 different species are uniquely presented in more than 100 walk through aviaries, allowing you the closeness with nature. The aviaries are spaced over 4 ha of land in the Hout Bay Valley, framed by the back of Table Mountain, the Twelve Apostles, Constantiaberg, Chapman’s Peak and Little Lion’s Head. The World of Birds is one of Cape Town’s primary tourist attractions which no visitor should miss.100 000 visitors annually enjoy the outing to the World of Birds. The Hout Bay Fishing Village and Fishing Harbour just 10 km outside Cape Town can be reached either along the scenic routes of the Coastal Drive via Camps Bay and Llandudno or via Kirstenbosch and Constantia, or on the way to and from Cape Point Nature Reserve via the spectacular Chapman’s Peak Drive

World of Birds Website

A great family outing, situated on the way to Kommetjie.Imhoff farm has become a must see on the tourist route, and is a haven for the locals to unwind. The farm dates back to 1743 and the original buildings have been preserved.Imhoff farm has shops ranging from homebakes to clothing. There is the Blue Water Cafe restaurant where you can choose from their mouth-watering menu.There are many activities you can take part in such as: camel rides, a visit to the snake park, farmyard and horse rides.

Imhoff Farm Website

Situated in Noordhoek Valley, Noordhoek Farm Village is a treasured destination for locals and tourists alike.A variety of different shops can be found ranging from clothing to crafts. A selection of wonderful restaurants and a farm stall will satisfy your appetite.Don’t be surprised if you see horses, pigs, hens, cows, ducks and rabbit roaming freely in the open public places.It’s an ideal avenue for families with small children as there is a playground. Special activities are often organised for children.Browse the gallery, antique shop or visit the information office to find out more details. Go and experience the country lifestyle.

Noordhoek Farm Website

Southern Africa is considered the “gemstone capital of the world” as almost half of the worlds gemstones are found here.The original, and now famous, Scratch Patch was started in Simons Town in 1970. Here you can have lots of fun “scratching” for your favourite tumble-polished gemstones from thousands of varieties. It is an inexpensive visit and is popular in all age groups. Today, it is believed by some that the gemstones have powers, and therefore makes it irresistible to those who believe. Then again, being surrounded by all the colourful stones can be an uplifting experience.Costs: a small plastic container/bag starts from R14, for a large container is can start from R85.One could also browse through two shops, being, Mineral World and Topstones, where there is always something beautiful to purchase at prices to suit everyone’s pocket. From stone carving to jewellery and much more. You could also explore an ancient mine. An old mine shaft was discovered at Topstones when excavating foundations. To enable the public to view the mine, a mine lift was built into the shaft to enable brave explorers to enjoy this experience

Scratch Patch Website

Kalk Bay (or Kalkbaai) was named after the lime kilns that produced lime from sea shells for painting buildings. In 1806 it became a whaling station, but today is a busy and popular fishing harbour. Kalk Bay offers wonderful and interesting sights and shopping. One could always take a drive or a stroll along Boyes Drive (from the Main Road, turn into Clairvaux Road, then onto Boyes Drive) or one could browse the art galleries, curio and antique shops, arts and crafts shops, clothing shops or dine at one of the fine restaurants in the area. Not to be missed. A trip to the Cape without visiting Kalk Bay is not complete!

Kalk Bay Website

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Organic DIY Remedies


When you see insects in your garden, take the time to really watch what they’re doing. Are they actually destroying the plant or just nibbling at it a bit? Many plants can outgrow minor damage. Also, in many cases, insects attack stressed out plants.  Encourage the natural predators (beneficial insects/creatures such as the common ladybug, frogs, birds and lizards.
Horticultural oils, insecticidal soaps and garlic and/or hot pepper sprays also work well against many pests.

Soft-bodied insects (mites, aphids, mealy bugs): Mix one teaspoon
cooking oil and a few drops of dishwashing liquid into a litre of water. Shake
well and pour into a spray bottle. Spray plant from above down, and
from below up to get the underside of the leaves.
The oil smothers the insects.

Mites and other insects: Mix one tablespoons of hot pepper sauce
or cayenne pepper with a few drops of dishwashing liquid into a litre of water.
Let stand overnight, then stir and pour into a spray bottle and apply
as above. Shake container frequently during application.

Fungal diseases:  Mix two teaspoons of baking soda into a litre of water.  Pour into spray container and spray affected areas.  Repeat this process every few days until the problem ceases.

Powdery Mildew:  Mix equal parts milk and water and spray on infected plants. Three treatments a week apart should control the disease.

Insects and fungal diseases:  Combine one teaspoon of cooking oil, two teaspoons of baking soda and a few drops of dishwashing liquid into a litre of water.  Pour into a spray container and apply as above.

Insects on fruit trees:  Lime sulphur can be sprayed of the trunk and branches of dormant fruit trees.  This mixture will suffocate insect egg cases.  Because the mixture is quiet heavy, a pump sprayer will be needed.  Use this method only when the tree is dormant or it could kill the tree.  A less toxic method is to make your own.  Mix 1 cup vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons dishwashing liquid into 4 litres of water.  Mix the soap and oil first then add the water.  Shake often during use.

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Why should we mulch?

  • Mulching acts as a seal therefore improving the soil’s moisture retention.
  • It reduces soil temperature so less water is lost due to evaporation
  • Improves the condition of the soil
  • Vital source of food for earthworms
  • Increases the insect life in the garden
  • Slows water that is running past plants
  • It reduces reflectivity. Bare sand or clay soil can develop a very bright reflective surface which bounces the heat and light of the sun back onto plants (white gravel and pebbles)
  • It reduces exposure to wind, which results in less moisture lost through evaporation.
  • It promotes good root growth by retaining moisture in the root zone.
  • It protects the roots of plants
  • It suppresses weed growth by keeping out the light.
  • It controls erosion by softening the impact of falling water and slowing it down before running off. It prevents soil from being washed way from around plants.
  • Organic mulch eventually breaks down and improves the quality and water-holding capacity of the soil near the surface.
  • Organic mulch is less conspicuous, allows water to pass through and will eventually decompose, thus increasing the humus content.
  • Organic mulching includes manure, grass, leaves, moss, straw, seaweed.
  • Spread a layer of mulch at least 4cm deep evenly.
  • Container plants will benefit from mulching
  • Pine needles are good for acid loving plants like azaleas and camellias
  • Soak the ground well before mulching
  • Stones, pebbles, gravel can be used as mulch but they can store heat and should be used cautiously in hot gardens and are most suitable in shady areas.
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Soil Conditioners


Kelp soil conditioner is excellent for replacing used nutrients and minerals in the soil lost due to various circumstances. Promotes healthy growth.
Broadcast: 50g per sq.metre, should be worked into topsoil. Suitable for mechanical spreading.
Drilled or spread along rows: Apply 25g per metre run.
Fruit trees: Apply 100-200g (1-2 cupfuls) per tree, into holes made at drip circle or as per normal fertilising methods.
Potting soil or Seed box Work: Mix 1.5kg per cubic metre of soil.



  • Lavagrow allows the soil to re-create the colloids (minerals and humates) which are needed to improve soil structure, moisture holding properties, nutrient availability and bacterial action.
  • Rock Dust is 100% natural, non-toxic, environmentally friendly and an accepted input under the S.G.S Organic Production Standard.
  • It replaces the minerals and trace elements that are lost due to removing of clippings and natural remineralisation from decaying plants.

Seedlings: 1 teaspoon per seedling
Pot plants: 1-2 Tablespoons per 5L capacity
Trees: 500g to 1kg per tree.
Roses & Shrubs: 1-2 cups per shrub or bush
General gardening, growing and landscaping; 500g-1kg per sq.metre.
Compost: 10kg per m3
Lawns: 1kg per 5m2
Agriculture: 1000kg per ha
Planting mixes: 2% of total volume of mix

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Organic Gardening


Many people wonder what organic gardening is. The answer is that organic gardeners do not use chemical based/synthetic fertilizers or pesticides on their plants. Gardening organically is much more than what you don’t do. When you garden organically, you think of your plants as part of a whole system within the environment that starts in the soil and includes the water supply, people, wildlife and even insects. An organic gardener strives to work with natural systems and to minimize and continually replenish any resources the garden consumes. Organic gardening, then, begins with attention to the soil. You will regularly add organic matter to the soil, using locally available resources wherever possible. Everyone has access to the raw materials of organic matter, because your garden, lawn and kitchen produce them daily. Decaying plant wastes, such as grass clippings, leaves and vegetable scraps from your kitchen, are the building blocks of compost, the ideal organic matter for your garden soil. If you add compost to your soil, you’re already well on your way to raising a beautiful, healthy garden organically.

The other key to growing organically is to choose plants suited to the site. Plants adapted to your climate and conditions are better able to grow without a lot of attention or input; on the other hand, when you try to grow a plant that is not right for your site, you will probably have to boost its natural defenses to keep it healthy and productive.

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How to Plant a Tree

Steps for successful tree planting:-

  • Choose your spot carefully taking into account the eventual mature size of the tree.
  • Get advice on what type of tree you require. Consider the following:
    • Wind
    • Evergreen/Deciduous
    • Shape i.e. Canopy
    • Screening/Windbreak
  • Choose a healthy specimen:
    • Free of disease
    • Free of pests
  • Dig a square hole 1m x 1m and 1m deep.
  • Prepare a mixture of the excavated soil and well-rotted compost and backfill the mixture into the hole.
  • Dig a 70cm wide and 50cm deep hole in the centre of the prepared plant hole.  Add a cup of bonemeal to the soil in the bottom of the hole and mix well.
  • Fill the hole with water and check that the water drains away.
  • Gently remove the plastic bag from the root ball – if necessary, cut the sides of the bag without damaging the roots.
  • Immerse the roots in half a bucket of water for 10 minutes.
  • After soaking the roots, carefully move your fingers underneath the root ball so that some of the roots become loose. Do not damage the roots.
  • Position the tree at the correct depth (trunk level must be the same as it was in the bag) in the centre of the now drained hole and fill the hole with the prepared soil mixture.
  • Compact soil slightly to prevent air pockets.
  • Stake the tree if necessary.
  • Create a dam around the stem of the tree or shrub about 1 metre wide for watering.
  • Add mulch.
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Waterwise Gardening

Some useful tips to make your garden more waterwise:

1) Choose indigenous, drought tolerant, disease resistant plants where possible.

2) Declare war on weeds as they complete with plants for water.

3) When laying out new beds, group plants according to their water requirements.

4) Water and fertilise plants only when needed because this promotes strong root systems. Too much water results in weak growth and increases the need for pruning.

5) Plant low-maintenance perennial herbs e.g. rosemary, thyme, lavender, sage and lemon grass.

6) Plant grasses like Cape restios (Elegia spp).

7) Condition your beds with compost. Soil that is rich in organic material retains water longer.

8) Use plenty of mulch.

9) Plant sun-loving thirsty plants in east facing beds where they will get morning sun and will stay moist for longer.

10) Water trees and large shrubs directly by installing a pipe that runs through the soil and down to the roots.

11) Build up the edge of garden beds to prevent water run-off.

12) Make sure your garden is benefiting from rainwater by channelling the water from drives and paved areas into the garden beds.

13) When planting add water absorbent granules.

14) Create windbreaks with plants to conserve water in windy areas.

Plants suitable for water-wise Gardens.

Herbaceous perennials
Anchusa capensis
Arctotis sp
Artemesia afra
Asparagus densiflorus
Asystasia gangetica
Cineraria saxifraga
Cliffortia ferriginea
Dymondia margaretae
Felicia aethiopica
Felicia echinata
Gazania spp
Geranium incanum
Helichrysum argyrophyllum
Helichrysum cymosum
Hermannia pinnata
Hypoestes aristata
Leonotus leonorus
Pelargonium betulinum
Pelargonium cucullatum
Pelargonium peltatum
Pelargonium suburbanum
Pelargonium tetragonium
Pelargonium tomentosum
Plectranthus fruticosum “James”
Plectranthus neochilus
Scabiosa incisa
Scabiosa africanaShrubs
Acmadenia heterophylla
Agathosma ovata
Agathosma serpyllacea
Barleria obtusa
Bauhinia galpini
Buddleja auriculata
Buddleja salviifolia
Carissa macrocarpa
Chrysanthemoides monilifera
Coleonema album
Erica baccans
Erica bauera
Erica versicolor
Erica verticillata
Eriocephalus africanus
Euryops pectinatus
Leucadendron salignum
Nylandtia spinosa
Phylica pubescens
Plumbago auriculata
Polygala myrtifolia
Protea repens
Rhus crenata
Rhus glauca
Salvia africana-caerula
Salvia africana-lutea
Salvia chameleagnea
Strelitzia reginea
Tecomaria capensis
Acacia karoo
Aloe barbarae
Brachylaena discolor
Celtis africana
Cussonia spicata
Dais cotinifolia
Diospyros whyteana
Erythrina caffra
Kiggelaria africana
Olea europaea subsp africana
Rhus pendulina
Sideroxylon inerme
Strelitzia nicolai
Syzigium guineense
Tarchonanthus trilobus
Trichelia emetica
Virgilia oroboides
Widdringtonia cedarbergensisBulbs
Agapanthus praecox
Aristea major
Babiana spp
Brunsvigia orientalis
Clivia miniata
Freesia alba
Gladiolus alatus
Haemanthus sanguineus
Kniphofia linearifolia
Lachenalia aloides
Ornithogalum thrysoides
Veltheimia bracteata
Watsonia borbonica

Chondropetalum tectorum
Thamnocortus insignis

Aloe arborescens
Aloe ferox
Aloe ciliaris
Aloe dichotoma
Aloe plicatilis
Aloe striata
Aloe tenior
Bulbine latifolia
Bulbine frutescens
Cotyledon orbiculata
Carpobrotus edulis
Crassula coccinea
Crassula multicava
Crassula ovata
Drosanthemum speciosum
Delospermum spp
Lampranthus spp
Portulacaria afra
Sanseviera pearsonii

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Sandy Soil

Bauhinia galpinii
High: 2m
Wide: 3-4m
Full sun

A beautiful spreading shrub, or small tree producing large orange flowers in early autumn, followed by seed pods. This shrub will grow in any soil and is very low maintenance. It can be grown as a hedge/screen or a focal point in the garden. It does best in full sun. Feed with a Slow Release 3:1:5 fertiliser, organic or chemical.

Cineraria saxifraga
High: 30cm
W: 40cm
Sun to semi-shade

This groundcover does well in hanging baskets with is small leaves and its bright yellow daisy-like flowers. To encourage all year flowers, deadhead regularly. Like most plants it appreciates regular watering but avoid overwatering. Feed with a Slow Release 3:1:5 fertiliser, organic or chemical.

Gazania rigens
High: 20cm
Wide: 40-50cm
Full sun

A fast growing groundcover with lush thick green leaves. Low maintenance plant that produces a carpet of floral beauty. During the warmers months of the year it blooms a bright yellow daisy flower which opens during sunshine and closes as the sun sets. This plant does not mind any attention and responses well to watering and regular feeding to encourage best results. Feed with a Slow Release 3:1:5 fertiliser, organic or chemical.

Leucodendron “Safari Sunset”
High: 2m
Wide: 1,5m
Full sun

The African sunset is well represented in this one plant. The red bracts at the end of each branch create a fiery display. It does great for those sandy soils as these plants do not want to stand in water. Provide well drained soil and avoid overwatering. It’s a great plant to use as a focal point or to cover a large area in the garden. Feed with an organic fertiliser towards the end of summer-beginning winter.

Protea repens
H: 2,5m
W: 1,5
Full Sun

Indigenous to the western and southern cape this protea is familiar to the harsh growing condition of this area. It is a large bushy shrub available in a range of colours such as white, cream or pink flowers. They can be grown in pots so as to avoid complications during the growth of the plant as these plants are very particular. When buying a protea for pots it is recommended to get a Protea Mix as this mix has been specially blend for the needs of the protea. Should feeding be necessary lightly feed with a Slow Release 3:1:5 organic fertilisers during the end of summer-early autumn.

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Howling South Easter

A strong South Easter is a common occurance in the Far South. Wind resistant shrubs are a must for any garden. A wide range of wind resistant plants can be found in the garden centre including the following selected plants.

Agathosma capensis
Height    50cm
Width    40cm
Exposure    Full sun

A neat small shrub with scented foliage. Their small, dainty white flowers attract many bees and butterflies to the garden. Indigenous to the slopes of the Cape it enjoys well mulched soil with an organic 3:1:5 Slow Release fertiliser every 3-4 months. Plant in a sunny position as well as in well drained soil to accomplish best results.

Aloe maculata
Height    50cm
Width    50cm
Exposure    Full sun

Grown for its blotchy/speckled leaves this Aloe is a great addition to a rockery or succulent bed in the garden. Often grown in pots, it makes for a great display when its bloom spikes out from the central growth point. The flowers, dark red/reddish yellow, add a flavour of colour to the garden through the cooler dull months of the year. Also a great plant for bird gardens as birds are attracted to the nectar of its beautiful flower. Feed yearly with kraal manure or similar feed for a healthy plant and a successful floral display. Avoid overwatering!

Erica baueri *Pink
Height    1m
Width    80cm
Exposure    Full sun

An excellent cut flower plant that will be able to withstand the harsh, windy conditions of the Cape. The flowers are pink tubes long lasting throughout the flowering season. To accomplish best results water regularly and mulch every 5-6 months. Feed with an organic fertiliser for example Bounce Back. Do not fiddle with the roots of this plant as this may lead to stunted growth or complete loss of the plant!

Helichrysum petiolare
Height    30cm
Width    1m
Exposure    Full sun

Often used in dry flower arrangements this hardy groundcover does well in any garden. Its fluffy grey leaves are great for creating contrast in the garden. Its scented leaves and puffy cream flowers will add extra excitement to any ordinary garden. To ensure healthy growth deadhead flowers and avoid watering on the leaves. Feed with rich compost every 6 months or any organic fertiliser.

Rhus crenata
Height    2-2,5m
Width    2m
Exposure    Sun, Semi-shade

An evergreen shrub perfect for a hedge/screen or wind barrier in the garden. Its attractive glossy foliage and small red-black berries is an asset to any bird garden. Clip to shape as wished for the more formal garden or allow it bush out freely for a more informal garden. It grows well in semi-shade to full sun and regular watering. For best results feed 2:3:2 organic or chemical fertilisers throughout the year to establish a greener, stronger plant.

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Dry Shade

A dry, shady spot in the Western Cape garden can often be a problem area. Try these shrubs and groundcovers to fill your troubling dry shade.

Asparagus densiflorus ‘Meyersii’ – Cat’s Tail
Height    40cm
Width    50cm
Exposure    Semi to full shade

A very hardy fern resembling a cat’s tail. Tiny white flowers are followed by red berries. Does well in hanging baskets or in clumps around trees. Roots can become invasive making it best to grow in pots. It has adapted itself to grow in dry conditions making it perfect for those dry shady areas in the garden. To get a continuous dark green foliage feed with a Slow Release 2:3:2 organic or chemical fertilisers every 3-4 months.

Burchelia bubalina
Height    1,5m
Width    1m
Exposure    Semi to full Shade

A small ornamental tree with dark glossy green leaves. Large bright orange flowers are in bloom during the warmer months of the year. Can be grown in a pot plant on a patio. For best result throughout the year, feed with Slow Release 2:3:2 organic or chemical fertilisers.

Crassula multicava
Height    70cm
Width    50cm
Exposure    Semi-shade

A groundcover succulent with small rounded leaves. It is great for shady areas in the garden. It creates quite a fairy show to any shady patch when in full bloom. During the flowering season, around mid autumn, this plant blooms its tiny pink star-like flowers turning the carpet into a pretty display. A very hardy plant needing little to no care. Feed with a Slow Release 3:1:5 fertiliser, organic or chemical to encourage more flowers and healthy growth.

Pelargonium fragans ‘Nutmeg’
Height    40cm
Width    30cm
Exposure    Semi to full shade

Like all Pelargonium’s this Nutmeg scented one is great for patios in pots. Its dainty white flowers make this plant a perfect edging plant as well as the fact that it is very neat. Its greyish-green leaves create a striking eye-catcher in a flowerbed. Prune to keep neat and feed regularly with an organic or chemical 3:1:5 Slow Release fertiliser as well as composting every 5-6 months.

Plectranthus madagascariensis ‘Variegated’
Height    30-40cm
Width    50cm
Exposure    Semi to full Shade

All Plectranthus plants are relatively easy to grow as long as they are in their correct positions. This species is best suited for shady areas. Its variegated foliage is great to create some lighter sections in a fairly dark area. For best growth feed with rich compost every 4-5 months and don’t be shy to water every now and then.

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