5 reasons to stick to seasonal

bowl of orangesWhen we lived in Hong Kong I found the expat supermarkets mind boggling. Talk about being spoilt for choice. Not much grows in this high-density concrete jungle yet browse the aisles of their supermarkets and there’s very little you can’t find. In season, out of season, every delicacy from every corner of the globe.

As wonderful as it is to live in the southern hemisphere and eat berries in winter, it’s far from a carbon neutral experience. Many miles are covered and many fossil fuels burnt to get those berries to you – plus untold amounts of pesticides sprayed to ensure they arrive looking pert and fresh.

Eating what’s in season, I’m learning more and more, has few (if any) downsides and scores of upsides. Here, in a nutshell, are just some of them:

  • Grown in the right conditions, seasonal food can be picked when ripe and is therefore fresher, juicier and a whole lot more flavourful
  • The journey from soil to plate is short and low on air miles
  • You’ll be supporting the local economy by buying from local farmers, growers and artisanal food producers
  • Variety. And getting back in tune with our natural cycles and rhythms. We were designed to eat certain foods at certain times of year. For example, watermelon and juicy fruit to hydrate in the hot summer months and leafy greens to strengthen our immunity before the winter months.
  • Supplies are high so it’s cheaper!

Still not convinced? Read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Mineral for inspiration and great seasonal cooking tips.

And check back here soon for my Cape Town seasonal eating chart.

7 books I’m coveting

Can I still call myself an aspiring minimalist if I have a very long list of books I’m coveting? If I fantasise about piles of books, stacks of magazines and a coffee table overflowing with tomes? Admit that I’ll never get round to reading them all, but just want them?

Currently lusting after these evocatively titled books, taunting me with their aesthetically pleasing covers.

Top 10 indigenous beauties

I love a list. And apparently I’m not alone. The web is awash with listicles; the theory goes we lap them up because they’re visually captivating and easy to process. As we flick from screen to screen, hungry for something to satiate us, our eyes usually settle on a list – bite-sized and easily digestible, they help us compartmentalise and distill things down to their essence.

So in celebration of lists in any shape or form, herewith my first gardening-inspired listicle…in no particular order, with pictures to boot (*my botanical knowledge is still limited so I’ve used the colloquial plant names).

  1. Day lilies

    day-lily
    True to their name, they do only last a day, sometimes two, but they make it count. And as they tend to flower en masse, the colour is no less riotous. Edible, they make a striking garnish.
  2. Silver lace

    silver-lace
    This pic didn’t capture the shimmery-ness of this classy, textural silver plant, which looks wonderful when it grows in and amongst more colourful blooms.
  3. Grasses (of every variety)

    grasses
    Love these! We’ve got a shallow flower bed in the middle of a concrete-heavy patio that bakes in the heat. These grasses, which completely soften the space as they bend and sway in the wind, are the only plants that have survived (and thrived).
  4. Plectranthus

    plec
    These have a gorgeous colour – Β dark green leaves with rich purple undersides. The flowers seem to bloom endlessly. Shade lovers, ours has been overflowing in an indigo pot, drawing the eye to a forgotten corner of the patio.
  5. Tree Aloe

    aloe
    Nothing beats succulents for hardiness and resilience. These water-wise tree aloes are beautifully sculptural.
  6. African Daisies

    daisies
    These look incredible en masse – they don’t flower too often but it’s well worth the wait when they do. (This pic was taken up the West Coast, in spring, when the daisies burst into colour).
  7. Proteas (Safari Sunset)

    protea1
    People moving to the Cape from lusher, wetter regions can take a while to warm to fynbos. Particularly if you’re used to more traditional ‘romantic’ gardens (think roses and lavender), proteas can seem dull and scrubby by contrast. I’ve always loved the rugged look of fynbos and think it’s a myth they’re not colourful. (I’ll have to update this in winter when proteas explode with colour!).
  8. Pelargonium

    pelargonium
    We picked this up at an open garden in Elgin. Two-tone purple and dark pink, the flowers are all kinds of beautiful.
  9. Spekboom

    spekboom
    Edible (sour to taste though!), these succulents grow into the most interesting shapes. Very water-wise too.
  10. Wild Iris

    wild-iris
    You often see these en-masse on pavements and in public green spaces – probably because they’re low maintenance, good spreaders.

That’s my top 10. Any to add?