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gardening

Venus fly trap at Jozi Carnivores

“Renee’s Little Killers” at Jozi Carnivores

After I published my recent blog post about Bonsai Magic, a lady named Renee emailed and asked if I’d like to visit her nursery in Houghton. The nursery is called Jozi Carnivores. Carnivorous plants. Plants that murder stuff. Yaaaaassssssss. Renee didn’t have to ask me twice. Here’s a question that just popped into my head: If a human vegetarian eats a carnivorous plant — a plant that eats animals — is the vegetarian still a vegetarian? Discuss. Anyway. I’ve always been fascinated by venus fly traps. This is the species we all think about when we hear the term “carnivorous plant” — a plant with prickly little trap-like hands that clamp shut around their prey. A Venus fly trap at Jozi Carnivores. That bug sitting on the plant is actually a hollow carcass — the plant already killed and ate it. Renee demonstrates how the fly trap traps. But actually, there are lots of other different kinds of carnivorous plants that murder and consume their food in various horrific ways. All of them are fascinating. The American trumpet pitcher, for example, lures insects to its “trumpet” with sweet-smelling nectar. The insect slips and falls down the long, skinny plant shaft and gets trapped […]

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The Steyn garden and dog

The Magical Bonsai Trees of Randfontein

A couple of months ago my friend Ang went to a bonsai tree nursery outside of Joburg. The nursery has thousands of bonsai trees and it’s called Bonsai Magic. Naturally, I saw Ang’s Instagram post and went to Bonsai Magic myself about three days later. Bonsai, as I’m sure you know, is a Japanese art form that involves growing and sculpting tiny trees. I vaguely remember buying a bonsai tree at the mall with my allowance when I was about 12, probably inspired by Mr. Miyagi of the Karate Kid, and promptly killing it. (I’m sure there are others among you who did the same.) I hadn’t thought much about bonsai trees since those Karate Kid days. Until I went to Bonsai Magic. Rows and rows of bonsai. I’ve just realized I really love that word. BONSAI! Bonsai Magic is owned and run Kathy Steyn, who I understand is one of the top bonsai artists in South Africa. Kathy and her husband have a lovely house with a beautiful garden (the nursery is on the property), lots of chubby dogs, and a gaggle of exotic ducks and swans. The Steyn garden and dog. And lots of bonsai. Black swans. The Steyns are currently […]

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A Must-Have Item for Every Garden in Johannesburg

Do you live in Johannesburg? Do you have a garden, or know someone who does? Do you have R400 to spend? If so, then you need this: Hadeda tire planter from Yada Yada in Melville. If you don’t live in Joburg and don’t know what a hadeda is, read here. But these hadedas are not easily transportable, so unless you already live in Joburg (or at least in South Africa) then you probably can’t have one. If you do live in Joburg, then make your way to Melville’s 7th Street and buy a hadeda. They’re made of recycled materials, they have a built-in irrigation system, and they can double as large hand-bags. Ray photobombs Hadeda. Ray carried Hadeda as a handbag for a while after we bought her. Hadeda in another position at Yada Yada. We did a whole photoshoot with her.  If you’re not into hadedas (some people aren’t, although I’ve never understood those people) then you can also buy an owl. Best of all, Hadeda looks fabulous in our garden (as I’m sure she would in every South African garden) and she makes me happy every time I look at her, which is at least 50 times a day. The red petunias match Hadeda’s beak.  […]

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