Shaping your garden
Learning how to use lines, shapes and curves in your garden to create maximum visual pleasure is surely a lifelong task, but a rewarding one. The trick is to combine plant characteristics with man-made elements such as water features, pathways or sculptures.
Circles attract the eye, and curves in a garden remind us of a winding river. You could use meandering pathways with various textures, or old-fashioned flower beds curving in and out of a lawn. You may want to consider a prickly hedge which you can prune and train into whatever circles or curves you want: the buffalo thorn or blinkblaar-wag-’n-bietjie (Ziziphus mucronata). Or allow it to be a tree with a pruned, spreading crown.
Similarly, prune a puzzle bush (Ehretia alba) to your taste. It is a drought- and frost-resistant shrub of up to 4m with hardy, slightly fragrant white to mauve flowers which attract birds and insects.
Around your larger shade trees, with their vertical shapes, install a ring of attractive ground cover for a professional, finished look. The tallness of the tree and the roundness below create a soothing balance. Leave enough room between the ground cover plantlets to allow them to fill in the ring when fully grown. Sprinkle a layer of bark or other organic mulch in between to help retain moisture.
Should you want to create a striking focal point, create a circular flower bed. This can be tricky and needs much consideration. Plan the size, the borders and the planting of various colours, heights and textures. Bear in mind that the centre needs to be dramatic - anchor your design with a taller flower type or one with interesting foliage. The plants you select for your circle should require the same soil, water and light conditions. Adventurous gardeners who require a meditative space could incorporate a mandala garden. A mandala symbolizes the universe and is usually a circle that contains starburst, floral, wheel or spiral patterns.
Drought-resistant gardens bring to mind pebbled areas all set about with succulents. Try mimicking the round aloe ‘kraals’ of the Namib Desert.
Dream it and do it!Christine Stoman
Ferreira’s Garden Centre
AgriTurf: Marco de Wet:
Cell: 085 600 9584