28 Oct / 2013

PLATTEKLOOF UPDATE

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Hi folks. Spring is here in a big way! Days are longer, temperatures are higher and we’ve hardly had a chance to breathe here at Oasis Design. Things are moving along nicely now in Plattekloof with some of the areas being planted already. We’re about to start some creative pathway sculpting at the back before we plant this area up and move on to the pool terrace.

 

The east-facing garden. Lots of hardy, sun loving shrubs and aloes.

The east-facing garden. Lots of hardy, sun loving shrubs and aloes.

 

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Looking forward to seeing this in a years time when the shrubs have filled out! NIce to see our great big celtis with some leaves on it too!

Lots of work to get through here if we’re to complete this project this year but the house is really coming together nicely.

15 Aug / 2013

A BALCONY GARDEN

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Well at least the dams are nice and full! One has to focus on the positives at this time of year and I suppose at least we shouldn’t have to endure water restrictions with the amount of rain we’ve had over the last few weeks.

We’re looking forward to a busy summer here at Oasis and have been busy trying to finish off a couple of current projects before getting fully involved in a big project in Plattekloof, which will keep the boys’ busy for a large portion of the rest of the year.

We finally completed a successful project in Camps Bay and some pics will be uploaded shortly. One of the most striking parts of the project has to be the balcony planters, which turned out beautifully.

 

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Quite strenuous work this was in the end. The team spent a good couple of days carting loads of potting soil and drainage stone up to the site in order to bring the boxes up to the required finished level. The boxes had to be thoroughly waterproofed before and filling could be done and then large drainage holes had to be drilled near the base to prevent flooding. As with any planter, drainage is vital and cannot be overlooked. Once the boxes were ready we filled them with a 100mm layer of drainage stone. Just remember that if you’re going to build something similar it is vital that you wrap the stone in a geotextile fabric. This prevents any small stone from clogging up the drainage points and thus causing flooding.

The next step was to install the irrigation system. This is vital to this application as the planters were covered by the precast slab of the floor above and thus rain water would not be able to get to all parts of the planter box. Which brings me to another point; at this time of year make sure that you don’t stop watering the parts of your garden that are protected from rainfall by the eaves of your house. I have seen the results of this countless times, where people forget to water in these areas due to what would seem like sufficient winter rain.

 

Once the boxes were brought up to the required level and a good amount of compost was added we could begin planting. We chose low-growing species as we didn’t want to impede the beautiful view of the ocean beyond. We also chose to plant in drifts, as this makes such a bold, striking impact and complements the clean-lined, unfussy design of the house. We added slate stone for an aesthetic “pathway” through the garden and voila! Complete. Now we just need to wait for it to fill out.

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15 Aug / 2013

ROSE PRUNING

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Hi All

Here is a simple guide to getting great roses in spring. Many people believe roses to be a difficult plant to look after. The general rule of gardening and in fact life itself is; what you put in is what you get out! With roses, following this simple strategy will give your bushes the bases they need to make a very large impact in your garden and give you the prolonged flowering display worthy of their reputation. You can apply these techniques to most of your deciduous shrubs that need to be pruned during this season, another example being your hydrangeas.

You will need a good pair of secateurs, decent gloves, a spray mask, a sterile seal, organic mulch, organic rose food and organic sprays for funguses and insects.

My rule of thumb is to cut off 2 thirds of any branches that are thicker than a pencil, depending on the eventual size you want your plants next year and the maturity of the plant.

You can clean off lateral shoots thinner than a pencil but don’t be as harsh with them as they still need to reach a potential to give the plant good ramification i.e. bushiness.

You want to cut the plant just above the nodes of the stem coming from the base of the plant upwards. You can identify the nodes as they are swollen points of the stem where the growth hormones are most concentrated.

Cuts are to be made at a 45 degree angle to encourage more lateral growth and so that excess water does not settle on the cuts and cause rotting.

After you have finished pruning your roses apply the sterile seal to the cuts thicker than a pencil and spray the plants with the preventative dosages indicated on your selected sprays, unless your plants already have either a fungus or insects attacking it.

Finally carefully remove all the stems with leaves containing black spot (if you have it) off the ground on the fallen branches, apply your organic rose food around the base (I like using ‘sudden impact’), and give a good mulching around the base of the plant.
If it has not rained for a long time give the plant a good deep water, remember roses like fewer applications of water but for much longer periods.

You should now have great roses next year if you follow my simple and easy guide.

Let’s Go Outside

02 Jul / 2013

CAMPS BAY UPDATE

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Just a quick one to update on the progress at Camps Bay. We’ve been busy with  this project for some time now and it’s finally close to completion. The civil works are complete, driveway is paved, beds are built and many of the plants are in.

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The side garden as seen last winter and again as it looks now.

Not too much work to do here before we complete another successful project.

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Not too far from the final product! As a designer I feel I can pat myself on the back indeed.

 

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The terrace with Jacuzzi and plantings. Nearly there now

 

We look forward to posting some pics of the completed garden soon. Now if this rain would just stop we could get on with it!

 

 

01 Jul / 2013

JULY 2013

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It’s July and its cold! The shortest day of the year is behind us though and the Oasis boys are soldiering on with some exciting stuff.

We are only days away from completing a beautiful garden for the Paddocks and it’s really looking good! The hardscaping has come along nicely over the last few weeks and it’s almost time for us to bring the garden to life with some carefully- selected plantings.  The insitu concrete pathway, cobbled driveway and courtyard, planter walls and timber seats are a huge success and we can’t wait to get the lawn down and turn this space from a building site to an urban oasis.

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The front garden almost ready to be planted

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The raised planter walls and seating alcove coming along nicely. Amazing what a coat of paint can do!

 

On the other side of our city we’ve been busy getting to grips with our Plattekloof project. The guys from Stefan Antoni architects have designed a beautiful off-shutter concrete style home and construction is well and truly underway. Our challenge this last week was to get a 2.5 ton White stinkwood tree all the way to the top of the site. The 7 metre tall tree had to be carefully craned over the site and into the pre-prepared hole. Just one of several challenges that await us on this project!

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up….UP!…. and down

Before too long we’ll be running irrigation lines, moving earth and creating levels as well as placing large boulders around the garden. But we’ll talk more about that in the next post.

Until then… keep warm. And although it’s winter…

Let’s go outside

Wayne and Nick

07 Jun / 2013

JUNE 2013

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With the changing of the season we once again find ourselves exploring new ideas with a full Victorian restoration. The Paddocks (having made their first home purchase) have asked us to create something special in the way of a pet-friendly outdoor entertainment space that will someday be a nurturing ground for their little ones.

The challenge: Victorian theme, modern outdoor facilities, pet-friendly, security conscious with an outdoor nursery…

No problems!

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Design drawing of the proposed front garden

 

Beautiful tumbled granite representation cobbles have been used for all visible paved surfaces, mimicking the old Victorian walkways indicative of Colonial times. Instead of setting in precast pavers, we have linked areas with raw in-situ concrete slabs, keeping to the contemporary finishing of the outdoor entertainment spaces. A raw aesthetic allowing for low maintenance. A concrete edging has been the preferred choice keeping to the Victorian feel, with large segments of lawn to cater for the budding brood. We have selected Dovyalis Cafra as a hedge, for a great security perimeter, which will encapsulate the herbaceous borders and act as a security barrier to animals as well as to intruders.

Wisteria-covered pergolas, brass tap water features and floating timber seating all finish off and complement this beautiful design. We look forward to uploading all the latest pics as soon as this project wraps up in mid June 2013.

For the second half of June and the remainder of the winter season we are collaborating again with Stefan Antoni Architects. We will be bringing to life a massive masterpiece in the hills of Plattekloof. In our July update we will be bringing you the results of the Paddocks home as well as the challenges that lie ahead in Plattekloof.

Looking forward to updating you all.

Let’s go outside…

Wayne and Nick

 

TIPS OF THE MONTH:

With the invention of pesticides, controlled growing environments and growth hormones; it is difficult to determine which foods are seasonal anymore. Seasonal eating is important, not only because the foods are so apt for their season, but also because this is when they contain their most nutritional value just before harvesting. It reduces on freighting and cold-storage of imported foods, which is costly and not very environmentally friendly. In light of this here is a list of the best crops to be planted in your culinary garden during the month of June:

Vegetables: 

Artichokes, beetroot, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chives, horseradish, kale, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, spinach, squash, turnips, peas and sweet potatoes.

 Fruit: 

Oranges, lemons, grapefruits, naartjies, limes, guavas, cape gooseberries and apples.

Note how many of these are Vitamin C- rich fruits, great for combating illness in winter.

Herbs:

Mint, sage, thyme, marjoram, oreganum, rosemary, parsley, fennel and bay leaves.

Here is a recipe for easy vegetable soup, using some of the seasonal foods mentioned above:

1 TBspoon olive oil

1 Onion chopped

2 Celery sticks

2 Carrots sliced

2 Cups mixed vegetables chopped (cauliflower, parsnips, peas, sweet potato, radishes)

1 Teaspoon salt

1 Small handful thyme

1 Small handful oreganum

1 Sprig rosemary

2 Bay leaves

8 Cups water

3 Cubes vegetable stock

1 Tin chopped tomatoes

 

Method:

Heat oil in a large soup pot.

Add onions, carrots and celery and fry until onions are soft.

Add the rest of the vegetables followed by the salt, thyme, oreganum and rosemary.

Add the water, stock cubes and bay leaves and bring to the boil until stock is dissolved.

Add tomatoes and allow to simmer until the vegetables are cooked.

Remove bay leaves and blend for a smooth consistency if required.

Serve with hot, buttered bread.

18 Jan / 2013

Summer Lawn Care

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AFTER3

Make sure your grass is getting at least 15 mins of water/ day early morning or evening in the heat of summer, and if the wind is really up you could do 20 mins .

For a quick boost you can use your 7:1:3 fertilizer-nourishing not only the leaves of the lawn but stimulating roots too. This is perfect if you have guests arriving in a day or two and want to put on a show but it only sustains for about a month  and requires vast amounts of water when applied. For a more sustained feed use gentle organics which your local gardens centre will advise you on, normally consisting of chicken manure. This will give you lawn a natural slow release feed that does not require as much water which means burning your lawn is close to immpossible.

To treat the weeds use a selective herbicide, which if you take a sample into your nearest garden centre they should be able to prescribe you with correct product. In most cases a broad spectrum  broad leafed selective herbicide will be prescribed, but take in a sample just to be sure. Once you have cover sprayed the weeds its best to spike roll the lawn to help absorption of any nourishment you wish to apply. You do this either by taking a garden fork or spike roller and piercing the surface at 30cm depths over the entire suface area of the lawn. Next to fill the dead gaps, apply a lawn dressing available in cubic loads or bags and spread it evenly over the surface of the lawn with a plastic rake making sure the blades of the existing lawn are still showing. In the case of bags 1x 30DM bag should cover about 3 square meters.

You can then feed the lawn as discussed earlier and follow this by a good deep soaking, generally about 30mins/area. Follow a strict watering program for the next week and this should revive most lawns to allow cutting the following week.

Look out for over watering by spotting the appearance of fungi in the form of mushrooms in the lawn. If your lawn is too thick and you can’t run the mower over it without leaving brown scraggly patches in places you may need to rip the lawn. For more advice on this process you can contact me at wayne@oasisdesign.co.za as this is a slightly more complex process.

For any other queries don’t hesitate to call or email Wayne at the contact details available on the site and I will do my best to assist you. Remember a picture paints a thousand words.

Thanks again and enjoy! Your garden, it should bring you boundless pleasure… never pain.

Regards

Wayne Doucha


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