Renishaw Hill’s landscaper, Elsa Pooley, shares her lockdown gardening tips

The national lockdown and phasing in of economic activity will keep South Africans home-bound for a while yet, but this does provide homeowners with ample opportunity to spend some much-needed time in the garden. South African landscaper, Elsa Pooley – who assisted in creating, the Renishaw Hills’ indigenous gardens – has shared some home gardening tips for those in lockdown.

“I am so busy during my normal working life that I very seldom spend real time in my own garden,” said Elsa. “How things have changed during the lockdown! I now take enormous pleasure in being able to enjoy the plants in my garden.”

Her advice to anyone looking to start landscaping without assistance is to find a small area of the garden, and start piece by piece: “Weed it, trim any old parts of the plants, large or small – this will give immediate satisfaction. Now, with summer ending, is as good a time as any to get going. Once this is done, move to the next spot. If the weeds seem to be out of control, measure off a meter at a time and, over the following weeks, you will see real progress.”

She said that taking time out in the garden and its greenery is soothing during these uncertain times: “I find I am taking great pleasure in observing which plants are coming into bud – with the color still to come – and planning where I will move plants around when I have help with digging in the future. I am also realizing that neglect can be benign. Sometimes leaving the plants in your garden to grow and spread can lead to unexpectedly lovely combinations.”

Elsa suggests keeping a ‘garden diary’ to keep track of which plants are in flower this week, either in a notebook, on a phone or computer, with images to remind oneself – even if the plant names are unknown at this stage.

“Have you noticed how many orange flowering plants are in bloom at the moment? All this will change from the end of May when we head into the winter succulent flowering season. For me, autumn is very special – great flowers and butterflies, and, especially for the fact that its Plectranthus season!”

Phil Barker, Managing Director of Renishaw Property Developments, developers of Renishaw Hills, said taking refuge in the garden is a good way to rejuvenate mind and body.

“Elsa Pooley’s work at Renishaw Hills has provided our residents with some of the most magnificent indigenous gardens which are providing much-needed inspiration right now,” said Barker. “Hopefully her advice will go some way in igniting a passion for horticulture and reconnection with nature at a time when most people are restricted to their homes.”

For more information about the mature lifestyle village, contact Renishaw Hills on or visit

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