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Creating the main berm in the Sunbird Aloes Demonstration Garden

Updated: Feb 26, 2023

The Garden was first established in the 1960s, planted with a lot of very old mature trees, Agapanthus, and Mondo grass. However, in the garden were a lot of dead, diseased, dying trees and plants. Two weeks later, after a lot of sweat and tears, I could see the backbone of the garden again. Here in the valley, the temperatures can get up into the 56C range around Christmas time.

So I had to change the way I gardened, no more cold-climate plants.

With very little water from the broken farm irrigation, I choose to work with Mother Nature, rather than against her. Indigenous aloes with a variety of succulents and grasses, even then the soaring high temperatures proved to be a problem for modern grasses and the hardest of succulents.

2017 and back to the drawing board, the grass around the swimming pool was removed and 20 of the first Sunbird Aloes were planted. Agapanthus was split to allow it to flower again, berms were created on the steep banks (that I had to try and mower 1:20).

June 2017 – Starting the planting and general layout.

Four trailer loads of stones were gleaned from the farm and used in the garden, footpaths were created. Sunbird Aloes produced by me were nestled into their new homes.

My neighbour and Landscaper – Kerry Wafer, gave me her valuable insight into the planting plan. And I began the task of hard landscaping by myself, as a perfectionist, only I could do it the way I wanted it.

My mother-in-law Phyllis or Gogo as we all call her supervised the establishment of the 12 meter berm at the back of the swimming pool. My sister-in-law who also visiting rolled up her sleeves to help create the main berm.

2018 - 1st year after establishment.

Planted in a confetti mix of different colours of Sunbird Aloes at different flowering times of the year.

Showcasing, architectural shape, and form, with flowers all year round.

Combinations: Aeonium, Crassula Echeveria, Euphorbia, Gasteria, Graptopetalum Stonecrops, and Mother-in-law Tounge, planted in and around the berm to create different colours and interests.

These pictures (above and below) were taken only four years after planting. You can see how quickly this berm has matured and filled out. Five different succulents were purchased for this project, all other plants were grown by myself.

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