• Staff writer


Well-known South African landscaper Elsa Pooley, who assisted in creating the indigenous gardens at Renishaw Hills lifestyle village in KZN, shares a few tips for designing a beautiful winter garden on the coast.

Tip 1: Use water-wise succulent plants which thrive at the coast. From May to August, aloes – which are form plants in summer – become a brilliant splash of colour. Crassulas, Cotyledons and Kalanchoes are also good.

Tip 2: Planting nectar-rich flowers will provide food for birds, bees and insects. At Renishaw Hills, Pooley and her team planted a wide range of other succulent plants among the aloes as a way to provide colour and food for the birds and insects. As the cool, dry weather moves in, the leaves of many succulents also change to a deeper pink and red. Pooley says that winter flowering shrubs that provide good colour and attract birds and insects are Bush violets, Ribbon Bush, Wild Dagga, Pink Joy, September Bush and Wild Rosemary.

Tip 3: A variety of local trees and shrubs flower in late summer and autumn, carrying fruit into winter – these fruits provide food for a wide range of birds and insects. Some species found at Renishaw Hills include Crossberry raisin, White Pear and Ironwood. The main winter flowering trees are Coral trees, with their scarlet flowers attracting even non-nectar eating birds. Reliable shrubs that flower almost throughout the year, with a flush of flowers in autumn, include Cape Honeysuckle, Bush tick Berry and Plumbago.

Phil Barker of Renishaw Property Developments says that the restoration of the natural environment and indigenous landscaping were central to the design of Renishaw Hills. “The benefit of such welcoming open spaces has been particularly felt during lockdown, with residents commenting on the mental and physical advantages of these natural spaces,”


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