ALLAN Haschick, assistant manager at Port Elizabeth’s Floradale Nurseries, has been promising to bring out a book for several years and now it has come to fruition: a wonderful resource on how to garden at the coast.
Known not only to nursery customers for his horticulture expertise, Haschick has also written widely for gardening publications – including a popular column in The Herald’s La Femme section at one stage – and gives talks and lectures at clubs and groups such as the annual Addo Rose and Garden Show.
He is well-placed to give advice to people at their wits’ end after having killed yet another poor plant not suited to the soil and climate at the coast.
As he writes, gardeners here have to contend with airborne sand, salt-laden air, strong winds, high humidity and if you are right on the beach then you also have the added dimension of bright sunlight reflected off the sea.
Coastal Gardening in South Africa is structured so that you can read it like a book – and Haschick does write fluidly – but it also includes a quick reference in the form of a directory of plants at the back that you can look up if you need a shrub or flower for a specific position or condition.
As the author is based in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, the Eastern Cape is reflected in many of the plants featured and you may spot many familiar locales in his photographs.
Chapters include soil, landscaping and seasonal maintenance, which is most useful for us “lay” gardeners who need a nudge on what needs doing when.
Floradale has long been known as the nursery for rose bushes and although green-fingered home-owners in the Windy City and surrounds are never likely to achieve the profusion seen inland, Haschick does include a few sturdy varieties which coastal gardeners can enjoy.
Most readers will be grateful that Haschick does not have the zeal of the indigenous purist as this means he includes plants not originally from this country. He does, of course, include many gorgeous indigenous plants but recognises the benefits of using any beautiful plant that thrives in its new home – and adds diversity in colour or form. – Gillian McAinsh