IT'S A numbers game

Home South Africa|April 2020

IT'S A numbers game
Create interesting visual effects with large groups of similar plants – even if your garden is small.
Marie Esterhuyse

A large group of one type of plant in a bed or garden room adds impact to your garden and also requires less work. Stellenbosch garden expert Pietman Diener explains:

“Mass plantings have many benefits and can be used in both large and smaller gardens. In a big garden like Larisa Brody’s (see page 90), it can become quite overwhelming if you have too great a variety of plants in all the different sections or rooms. By using a group of just one type of plant in some of the areas, you create a more tranquil effect that has bigger impact. It allows you to really see the plants,” says Pietman.


Another benefit of mass planting is that it reduces your workload and ensures a more economical and Waterwise garden. Since the entire bed has the same water requirements, you can irrigate accordingly without wasting water.

“Maintenance is also easier,” says Pietman. “All plants require the same attention at the same time. It’s also more economical to fill up the bed – simply divide the existing plants or take cuttings of them.”

Many plants that are suitable for mass planting require very little care after they’ve been planted. Ornamental grasses are an excellent choice and only need to be cut short once a year. With agapanthus, you simply trim off spent flower heads. Dietes need no maintenance and a groundcover such as mondo grass always looks good with the minimum of care. Some plants can be planted in rows and pruned into a hedge. Although they should be pruned from time to time, which requires more work, they look good with relatively little effort.

Mass plantings are also a good way to draw attention to garden ornaments such as statues or urns, says Pietman. “By having one type of plant around such an element, you notice it rather than the plants around it.”


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April 2020