Indigenous veld grasses are increasingly incorporated in projects by home-owners, indigenous landscapers and landscape architects.
Soft swaying grasses contrast strikingly with the solid shapes of buildings.
Apart from the aesthetic advantages, gardening with grasses, creating meadows, has strong environmental advantages as well as solving some problematic issues in urban city landscapes.
1. Natural grasslands (even those planted by nature) are low maintenance (once established - and this does NOT mean no-maintenance). It is important to maintain grassland or meadow planting, by removal of weeds, particularly alien invasive species, as well as trimming them annually (See note in “Creating a grassland garden with indigenous plants in 10 steps”).
2. Most grasses and indigenous grassland plants are extremely drought hardy, and so their water requirements are low. There are indigenous grasses suitable for shade as well as wet areas.
3. Disturbed landscape rehabilitation with grassland planting is particularly effective on the Highveld (historically, this area was covered predominantly by grassland). The rapid soil binding capacity of grasses stabilises areas in a short space of time, and increases biodiversity in the area. Through natural succession, grasses “prepare” the soil for other vegetation types to then establish themselves.
4. Grasses and other indigenous plant species associated with grasslands are good soil binders. Grasses have many, very fine roots that hold the soil and stop it from washing away even when there is heavy rain. The many fine grass stalks and leaves also help to break the force of the rain before it hits the ground. Compare a patch of bare soil with one planted up with grasses after a heavy rain. You will see that the top layer (and maybe even more) of soil in the bare patch has been washed away by the rain, while the area planted with grasses will mostly hold the soil in place. Grassland gardens are excellent to establish in areas that water runoff creates challenges.
Slopes and large open areas can be “soil-scaped” with small berms (raised ridges of earth), and planted up with grasses in such a way that erosion from rainwater is completely halted. They can be an important component in rain water harvesting areas, as grasses slow the water down so that it soaks in to the ground rather than running away with precious topsoil. They also counter the effects of wind erosion by covering otherwise bare soil.
5. Grasses are ideal for roof gardens. Many grass and grassland species are light weight, have low water requirements and blend in well with other vegetation, especially when in or adjacent to natural grassland.
6. Many of our indigenous veld grasses make an effective statement in containers.
7. Architectural plants that are placed in a grassland type planting are able to “shine” – showing off their striking features without distraction from nearby tall plants.
8. Sparsely treed sidewalks can be under-planted with veld grasses to give a “savannah” type appearance. These plantings along sidewalks and in open areas create patches of cooling vegetation within the concrete “jungle” of heat-absorbing buildings.
9. Grassy meadows can create a vital connection to nature for people in urban areas.
10. In Gauteng, the use of veld grasses in the city is particularly relevant – bringing local plant species back into areas where they have been displaced by development. This not only is advantageous to birds and insects – it also creates a visual refuge for our human minds and eyes. Veld grasses are something we immediately associate with being away from the stresses of the city and rather “in the bush”.
Note: This is not to say that the end result should be unkempt and messy. The human eye strives for aesthetic beauty and balance, and grassland can achieve this whilst still looking wild and natural.
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i would like to do business with you,so i kindly request your details. be emailed to above details
Hi Beverley, We can definitely help you with indigenous grasses and trees for the wetland you are trying to restore. We would need to know a bit more about the wetland, including where it is, to suggest species that best support the existing biodiversity. If you want to make an appointment at the nursery, we can advise you in detail, and show you a number of suitable trees and grasses. It would be a good idea to bring some photos of the area along with you. To make an appointment please contact the nursery directly. You can contact them on 082 553 0598 and ask to speak to Linda De Luca. Regards, Heather
Hi ... looking for grasses and trees for a wetland I am trying to restore please Thank you Beverley
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