Autumn during lockdown... get to work in your garden

By Chris Dalzell Time of article published May 14, 2020

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After days of lockdown and your garden should be looking very different from what it did before.

For me, it has been a lot of fun because, in the past 20 years, I have not spent this much time at home to concentrate on fixing my garden and catching up on writing and paperwork.

The world as we know it is a very different place from what it was four months ago, and we need to reflect on why this has happened, and how we as humans can try to ensure it does not happen again.

We have lost touch with reality and need to take more care of the environment. Break one link in the chain and it eventually gets to breaking point, and this is where we are right now.

For those of us who have gardens, it is a great time to redesign areas that have looked neglected. We cannot use the excuse that we don’t have time and are too busy.

Autumn, to me, is the best time of the year as the relentless heat of summer is over and we can look forward to much cooler days and evenings for the next six months.

Spending time in your garden makes you more aware of what is around you, and you become more observant to the birds and butterflies that are always there, but too busy to notice. I have never seen so many butterflies in my garden as now.

The weather has been perfect with some light rain, hot days, lots of flowers and breeding season for many of the butterflies.

The five most common butterflies in my garden are: Acraea petraea or blood-red acraea which feeds on its host tree Xylotheca kraussiana (African dog rose); Danaus chrysippus orientis or African monarch that feeds on its host plant Gomphocarpus physocarpus (cottonbush); Junonia oenone or blue pansy that feeds on its host plant Asystasia gangetica (creeping foxglove); Papilio demodocus or citrus swallowtail that feeds on its host plant Vepris lanceolata (white ironwood); and Papilio nireus lyaeus or green-banded swallowtail that feeds on the same tree as the citrus swallowtail.

On Arbor Day last year, The Kloof Project planted 200 trees along the old railway line that runs through Kloof. One of the trees we planted is already flowering and has created quite a stir in the Kloof Village.

Dombeya cymosa or Natal wild pear is an ornamental deciduous small tree that grows to about 3.5m to 5m in height and bears showy, drooping, white, sweet-scented flowers. The leaves are ovate and slightly serrated and turn reddish in autumn. The flowers, which are white and sweetly scented, are found at the ends of branchlets, making a round, dense, cymose inflorescence which appear from March to September. It is a very slow-growing tree with its final size perfect for a small courtyard garden. It is very sensitive to cold so do not plant in the shade or in areas that get frost.

The sweetly scented flowers attract bees which pollinate the flowers. The bees also produce an excellent honey from the flowers.

I hope you all enjoy this time at home and take time to think about life and how you can make a difference once we get out of the lockdown.

Do we need to have so much and be so greedy or can we give back more to the environment and be more aware of all the animals and creatures on this Earth?

How would we survive if we chopped down all the trees, fished out the oceans and killed all living creatures?

Forests can live without us, but we can’t live without them.

Happy gardening and happy lockdown.

  • This article is sponsored by Chris Dalzell Landscapes, specialising in landscaping, consultation, plant broking and Botanical tours. If you have any questions, please contact me on the following email address: [email protected] or check out my website: www.chrisdalzellinternational.com.
The Independent on Saturday

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