THERE is no excuse not to make some use of green fingers this autumn.
Lisa Gibson has recently relocated to the Eastern Cape from Mpumalanga, and has more than 20 years’ experience in horticulture.
Living on a game farm in Thornhill, Gibson is involved with everything to do with green gardening – from landscaping, dryscaping (waterwise gardening), environmental rehabilitation to irrigation design and installation.
Her favourite form of gardening is permaculture, which is designing a self-sustaining garden for household use.
“It is an edible garden which is not only visually appealing but also functional in supplying fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs for the household.
“It is a very natural form of gardening, where seed or seedlings are planted in staggered succession over a period of time to grow and bear fruit for the household, providing an extended supply.” Gibson said it was easy to incorporate permaculture into an existing garden by gradually replacing exotics with indigenous plant material, and planting vegetables between the existing plants all planned to suite the household’s specific needs.
Even small gardens in townhouse complexes and flats with balcony gardens can practise permaculture gardening, Gibson said.
“Many vegetables can be grown in pots on balconies. Upright or roof gardens are also very popular. Vertical gardens are grown upright against a wall or trellis from gutter height to the ground,” Gibson said.
Taking natural horticulture to an entire new level is lunar gardening.
“You can even mow your lawn to the different phases of the moon. It is a proven fact than to mow a lawn according to the moon cycle can retard the growth of the lawn, specifically in its active growing period of summer (warm season varieties).
“If you cut your grass before a new moon or soon after, the lawn foliage will grow slower.
“Following the cycles of the moon is also important for the germination of seeds in your garden, and the best periods to harvest fruit and vegetables for best flavour,” Gibson said.
As a horticulturalist, Gibson chooses to work organically in terms of weed control, fertiliser applications, biological pest and fungal management.
She also enjoys rehabilitation, which involves removing alien invaders and rehabilitating a site with indigenous and endemic plant material. She also does soil, water and leaf analysis. – Cindy Preller