zanzibar gem

Spring Gardens at Manawee Garden Centre

Image source: Contributed

Now more than ever we are seeking homes with gardens that add not just street appeal and value to our houses, but also provide a space to unwind and escape, as Alison Smith discovers.

With a shift towards hybrid and work from home arrangements has come the desire to bring more greenery into our homes. Spending more time indoors meant we’ve jooshed our nests and it’s common knowledge that plants in our work and living spaces create a sense of calm, colour and clean air.

If you are new to indoor plants a good place to start is with a Spathiphyllm or Peace Lily as they are more commonly known.

A great air purifier and even as the plant label suggests, simply ‘water when dry’. A bonus hint for beginners with this one is to dump the plant and pot in a bucket of water when the leaves look a little droopy and let the plant do its magic.

An hour or so later it will be as good as new – we can attest to this as we have resuscitated these hardy plants in our office many times!

The Zanzibar Gem is also a fave when it comes to low maintenance indoor plants. The catch phrase on these beauties are ‘thrives on neglect’ – now that’s my kind of plant! Perfectly suited to any busy home, and unlike kids or animals they will continue to flourish with nearly no attention.

Simon Van Roy of Manawee Garden Centre agrees saying there has been lots of new people coming into the nursery looking to green their workspace and these are two plants you just can’t go wrong with. 

This low maintenance trend is flowing onto our outdoor garden areas. Formal hedges and high maintenance are on the way out. Instead gardeners are embracing the low maintenance and natural shapes of plants. Sweeping soft grasses, native varieties and delicate flowers are being embraced to create an almost wild look. 

According to Simon, creating layers with foliage shapes and textures will help achieve this look.

“When refreshing a garden, think about the plants natural growth shape,” he said. “Take your cues from what is already available and look at giving back to nature to ‘rewild’ our backyards. 

“This will also create a haven for the insects, bees and birds and allow our backyards to have a more authentic look and feel.”

Even our edible gardens are following this style. Alfresco kitchens are pretty standard and a common occurrence with our coastal lifestyles into our outdoor living spaces. No longer are the herbs and vegetables relegated to the back corner of the garden. Instead many varieties can be grown in pots and vertical gardens in our patio areas. 

Think vertical wall planters brimming with fresh herbs right near the BBQ ready to be freshly picked and added to marinades; strawberries, tomatoes and snow peas threaded over a trellis near the kitchen door waiting to be picked for a fresh snack barely even making it to the kitchen. Surround your seating area with lemons and limes for the convenience to add your fresh produce into your zesty spring cocktails.

One trend that is on the rise across all aspects of our lives is sustainability. While many don’t realise the level of plastic used within the garden industry, it’s been something that has been on the minds of Manawee. As one of the largest garden centres on the Coast servicing domestic and commercial operators they see a lot of single use plastics, and when offered the chance to help close the loop, they jumped at the chance. You can now drop off all your PP5 plastic pots and plant labels at Manawee. From here they are collected, chipped and sent back into the loop to be reused as new garden pots.

I’m hoping these gardening influences are here to stay. Finally my style of extreme low-maintenance / survive or die gardening that I’ve been perfecting over the years is finally catching on. 

About the Author /

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Ali spends her days clicking away and creating print and digital designs for a variety of coast businesses and brings more than 15 years of print publishing experience. When she’s not at her computer, you can find her outdoors with her husband and three kids.

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