March is a busy month, so I hope you are all up to speed with your planning and gardening lists. It can also be a strange month as we are still urging along our summer-flowering perennials and annuals, and yet also need to find space to plant all those must-haves for the oncoming autumn. Petunias are producing riotous flushes of colour and will probably tempt you at your local garden centre – and rightly so, because now is when they look their very best. If you have not planted any – wow, you are so missing out! My calibrachoas (rather a mouthful, I know), which are basically mini petunias, are looking fantastic and I am so amazed by their performance on my rocky bank that loads more are going in. Go on and get a few – you won’t be disappointed.
We step into an important month for our family at The Gardener. The 14th-16th will see the third year of our very own gardening exhibition, The Gardener Live at the Pretoria National Botanical Gardens. As predicted and expected, the show will be larger than ever before, offering more beautiful display gardens implemented by some great landscapers, including one of South Africa’s most talented young designer, Leon Kluge. Leon recently won gold in the home garden section of the Gardening World Cup 2013 in Japan, as well as the Best on Show prize, affirming him as one of the world’s best garden designers. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us at the show. A new addition is the Mad Hatter’s Tea Garden, a specialist herb area, gourmet food and loads more plant stores. I hope to see you there!
We have also started filming for the new season of The Gardener on The Home Channel. So far, we have had loads of fun! We’ve visited faraway places and are meeting some real characters of the gardening world. This season we focus on specialist growers of certain plants and go behind the scenes to find out how they do it – the secrets, the tips and, of course, the beauty. The first episode goes on air in early April, so keep tuned in.
Talking of travelling, we have a destination for this year’s Travelling Gardener. We are going to be adventuring through Singapore and Borneo, so start saving and join me for the ride! Check out page 69 for more details. We are also offering a unique, personalised tour to the unspoiled Richtersveld, led by a master of the region. You will travel into the only mountain desert in South Africa, a large part of which has been declared a World Heritage Site, which in itself says just how special the area is. It is probably best known for its plants, especially the succulents. Learn about the history, the plants and the animals that call the Richtersved home. Personally, I can’t wait!
I told you this month would be busy! In the magazine, Gerald introduces us to all the strange members of the banana family – you will be amazed at what you learn. Anna tells of her visit with Cathy Eloff and shares the amazing coastal garden Cathy has created under rather difficult conditions. That is only the beginning and here is loads more to enjoy, so enjoy it folks.