Elsa Pooley shares 4 winter garden tips following Botanical Society tour at Renishaw Hills

Elsa Pooley shares 4 winter garden tips following Botanical Society tour at Renishaw Hills
Dr Elsa Pooley

Winter on the KZN South Coast has to be experienced in person, and with its spectacular gardens, coastal forests, and biodiverse wetland, there’s no better place to visit than Renishaw Hills. This year, visitors got the chance to discover these indigenous gardens as Renishaw Hills played host to the prestigious Botanical Society Winter Gardens fundraiser on 29 June.


“We’d like to extend our thanks to everyone who attended this year’s Renishaw Hills Exclusive Winter Gardens Tour where we hosted the prestigious Botanical Society in a celebration of winter’s enchantment at Renishaw Hills,” said Kelly Mitchell, Sales at Renishaw Hills. “Leading the tour was none other than Dr Elsa Pooley who’s not only a renowned South African botanist, landscaper, and author, but also the visionary behind our Renishaw Hills gardens.”


This fundraiser event saw a total of R5 810 raised at the event, with all proceeds going towards the Botanical Society of South Africa KZN Coastal Branch. Visitors got the chance to witness spectacular aloes in full flower, a wide variety of other winter flowering succulents, and a range of indigenous perennials and flowering shrubs, with 140 different indigenous species. Dr Pooley also shared insight into useful gardening techniques, the use of South African plants, and what plants to use when.


Commenting on the event, Dr Pooley said: “The gardens at Renishaw Hills are a rich mix of succulent and herbaceous species. In winter, the red-hot pokers come into their own, with glorious, colourful, nectar-rich flowers. This is a great example of how vibrant planting indigenous can be.”


For those who missed out on the chance to attend the Botanical Society Winter Gardens, Dr Pooley has shared four useful tips on making those winter gardens flourish.


Tip 1: Use water-wise succulents


Dr Pooley says that these succulents thrive on the coast with aloes coming out in a brilliant splash of colour from May to August. Along with aloes, some great succulents to plant on the coast include:

·   Crassulas

·   Cotyledons

·   Kalanchoes

·   Kleinia fulgens


Tip 2: Plant nectar-rich flowers


These flowers provide food for birds and many insects including a range of bee species. As the cool, dry winter starts, the leaves of many succulents change to deeper pink and red. According to Pooley, excellent winter flowering shrubs that provide colourful shrubbery and also attract birds, butterflies and other insects include:

·   Barleria species (Bush violets)

·   Hypoestes aristata (Ribbon Bush)

·   Leonotis species (Wild Dagga)

·   Syncolostemon densiflorus and S. rotundifolia (the Pink Plume)

·   Crassula ovata (Pink Joy)

·   Polygala myrtifolia (September Bush)

·   Eriocephalus africanus (Wild Rosemary)

·   Gymnanthemum colorata (was Vernonia colorata) now Lowveld Bitter Tea


Tip 3: Plant winter fruit trees


There are many local trees and shrubs that will flower in the late summer and autumn while carrying fruit into winter. These fruits provide food for a wide range of birds and insects. Some species that could be planted include:

·   Grewia occidentalis (Crossberry-raisin)

·   Apodytes dimidiata (White Pear)

·   Vepris lanceolata (Ironwood)


Tip 4: Plant winter-flowering trees


Dr Pooley says the main winter flowering trees to plant are Coral trees with scarlet flowers attracting even non-nectar-eating birds. The nectar also attracts insects which attract insectivorous birds. Pooley said that reliable shrubs which flower almost throughout the year, and have a flush of flowers in autumn, include:

·   Tecomaria capensis (Cape Honeysuckle)

·   Chrysanthemoides monilifera (Bush tick Berry)

·   Plumbago auriculata


Visit Renishaw Hills


Renishaw Hills is not just a place, it’s a lifestyle. As part of the expansive 1300ha Renishaw Coastal Precinct, developers are pioneering a vibrant mixed-use development with residential, retail, and community facilities. The launch of Phase 3B introduces exquisite high-end, 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment units with spectacular sea views, while Phase 6 offers free-standing units as well as Maisonettes, all nestled within coastal greenery.


Visitors are invited to start a new adventure with an in-person or virtual tour. For more details or to arrange a tour, contact Kelly at 064 198 2693, email [email protected], or visit www.renishawhills.co.za.