To come across a Jewel that sparkles brighter than any diamond on earth. Would it not be lovely if that jewel was in a garden? Jewel-toned flowers are truly “a girl's best friend”. Why not forego semi-precious stones this year in favour of a revolutionary Jewel Garden with a South African flair?
What is a Jewel Garden?
Well, the first one that springs to mind is Monty Don’s Jewel Garden at Longmeadow (1). It was constructed in 1981 and incorporates amethyst, sapphire, ruby, emerald and gold tones to create a vibrant garden buzzing with activity.
The garden makes use of dahlias, Helenium, sunflowers, Zinnia and a whole host of other genera. The seamless flow throughout the garden is partially due to the backdrop of soft green. It makes the colours come alive. Such a garden is not impossible to recreate it might just take a bit of effort to get them looking their best.
Planning: Putting pen to paper
As vibrant as a jewel garden can be, it will benefit any gardener to scrawl down a few tips to keep in mind when starting a jewel garden.
Tip 1: Background, background background. Filler plants help the colours pop and frame your jewels. They will also protect them from the worst elements.
Tip 2: Exposure to sun, rain and wind. Windy locations will blow over tall flowers. Sun exposure will affect blooms as will seasonal downpour.
Tip 3: Soil. You can modify your soil to be more friendly to the plants you want to grow, but only if you know what your plant needs. Opt for potting up flowers that will require a different treatment and place them throughout the garden when in flower.
Set the stage
Remember that a bright colour jumps out more against a darker or rather consistent background. It is somewhat like painting where you start with the background and fill in details as you progress.
Tip: Tall flower stalks will require support. Either from your filler plants or stakes. Take this into account when choosing fillers.
Candide's Collections will lend you a helping hand:
When selecting your shrub, consider the location (sun exposure) and climate (dry vs rainy). Once you have made sure you have the right conditions; then you move on to shape and height. A general rule of thumb is to pick a shrub that will not overpower your flowers. In other words, large leaves will hinder flower stems, while broad shrubs will outcompete smaller bulbs.
Lion's Ear or Wilde dagga (Leonotis leonurus).
In keeping with the theme, we sampled some indigenous bulbs with jewel tones to inspire you to create your own jewellery box.
- Cyrtanthus spiralis
- Freesia grandiflora
Sapphire & Amethyst:
Where to shop?
If you are stuck on where to get these beauties, dig into the list of local businesses to try:
Spoil your loved one this Valentine’s day by giving them a living jewel!
(1) Don, M., & Don, S. (2012). The jewel garden. Two Roads.