Friends of the Parks - Harfield Village Garden Competition

Craigrownie Guest House
So the BIG QUESTION is – which Harfield Gardener is going to win the weekend for 2 at five star Craigrownie Guest House, R1000 Harts Nursery Voucher, a dinner for two at one of our awesome Harfield Restaurants and the Garden of the Year Floating Trophy???

If you don’t enter it will not be you – so go for it, if not the winning pot then ……….., don’t despair there are great prizes for each category and some fun spot prizes to boot. Not to mention the fun to be had by swopping ideas, tips and plants in the next 3 months while you get your garden into shape.

This will not be a Garden competition looking for rolling green lawns with perfect edges. This is a Harfield Garden, we are celebrating your gardening passion not your gardening perfection. It is about community, sharing and the joy of special spaces. Great to have the HVA Chairman, James Fernie be the first to enter and two categories nogal, patio and pavement.

There are five categories to give everyone a chance to strut their stuff.
Traditional Garden - or anything but – we love a bit of the bizarre
Pavement Garden – hoping to inspire more gems around, but please keep walking space
Patio Garden – this can be your tiny flat verandah or you inside out living space
Complex Garden – we love the creative stuff being done with these communal spaces
Vegetable Garden – seen a few popping up around Harfield so loving this one

Entering is easy - fill out and submit a form with your entry fee of R50 (per category) and email the form to or drop it at Norgarb Properties or Oggi.

Next, sit down on your patio with a glass of vino and contemplate your garden and what you think needs to be done to make it more useable for you.

Draw up a list of tasks and set about ticking them off so that you finish by voting time – mid September.

We will contact you to arrange a time for the judges to visit during the last part of September when most of your spring flowers should be starting to bloom. On D-day - 4 October will ask the finalists to open their gardens to the Harfielders who would like to do The Garden Tour en route to the prize giving and not to be missed high tea in Purley Park sponsored by Norgarb Properties.

We would like to thank the sponsors for their great contributions of enthusiasm and prizes

Norgarb Properties, Hart Nursery, HVA, FOHP, Oblivion, Banana Jam, Graze, Fat Harry’s, Blue Fin Cuisine, First on Second, Milk & Honey, Oggi Activewear, Stone age, Dylan Plant Boxes, Craigrownie, Flora Jubilee, Chrystal Garden Charms by Mandy, Greenwoods and Urban Eden and still more to come. We will be featuring the sponsors over the coming months so that you can support them in return.

Hot Lemon Sponge

Lyn - the Agent with
the winning recipe


60g butter
180 gms sugar
2 eggs (separated)
1 cup milk
60mls lemon juice (4 Tablespoons)
60g flour
1 lemon rind


Cream butter and sugar. Add yolks. Stir in flour then milk, juice and peel. Fold in egg whites.
Pour into soufflé dish. Place dish in pan half filled with water. Bake at 180 for 45 mins.
It forms its own sauce and is absolutely delicious!


The HVCID and Giving to those less fortunate

Giving money to those less fortunate than us is right? Wrong.

Now that it is the middle of winter, we are snug in our homes and warm at night, and I am sure from time to time we think of those less fortunate then ourselves. The local street people.

How can we help them? We think sparing some money for them as they come to our houses or cars is the answer, but this is not the case, as the below powerful short video from the City of Cape Town demonstrates.

But what can we do? The best is to support one of the local charities such as U-Turn or one of the other excellent local charities listed in the attached informative article.

The HVA also is also looking at how to help in this matter, and you can contact them at

And lastly if you would like to donate money at any time to the homeless via an SMS you can do so at the following link:

In addition to helping the homeless in a responsible manner, we should also look out for our fellow neighbours.

The best way to do this is make sure you know all of your direct neighbours, exchange contact details, and know when they are away so you can keep an eye out or know who to contact when an annoying alarm goes on endlessly.

The HVCID has an initiative to do the above with street captains who are responsible for spreading security information and connect neighbours. You can find more info at

We also have a Hub manager – Colleen Luiz who is full time involved in making Harfield Village safer and more secure. If you are a member of the HVCID you can contact her at or call her at 081-412-6109 for all security related issues in the Village, that are not house break-ins. For House break-ins please contact your security service provider. (ADT Princeton etc.)

Gardens and your security

In South Africa, we are fortunate enough to have the space to grow our own beautiful gardens. We all like to pride ourselves on the beauty we have created; but have you ever stopped to think if your garden compromises your security?

Let’s start with gardens that are well kept. Hedges, and bushy plants create good hiding spaces for criminals. Most of the time, these areas are not well lit, and this creates a good surprise tactic for a criminal when you return home. If you want these types of plants, then make sure they are well lit at all times! Make sure you remember that they are a weak point in your security, and always be congnicent of the fact that someone may be lurking there.
Tall trees are also a good place to hide, so always remember to look up!
Gardens that are not well pruned and looked after become sleeping places amoungst other things, for the potential criminal. If you are going away for a lenghly preriod, make sure you have arranged for your garden to be kept tidy!
The ‘broken window syndrome’ generally refers to graffitti and derelict buildings. The train of thought is that if one property looks unkept, then criminals start seeing this area as a place to breed more crime. ‘The residents don’t care = they won’t mind us here’. The same can be said about your garden. Foilage and dead/untidy gardens are also a contributing factor in this regard.

The Do’s and Don’ts when gardening for your secuirty:
·         DO plant cacti and thorny bushes on your verges if you are having issues with the homeless using your property for ablution facilities
·         DO keep low cut hedges around your permimeter so that you can easily see your boundary
·         DO make sure to keep your garden well lit; especially in the more dense areas
·         DON’T have large over-hanging trees over your fence (especially if you have electric fencing). These branches make for good ladders!
·         DON’T let your garden become unruly and over-grown
·         TRY avoid keeping your garden furniture close to boundary walls (another good ladder)
·         DO avoid becoming complacent when coming home- check all corners and be aware of your surroundings
·         DON’T use outdoor alarm technology that will just false alarm continuously. There are various devices for different applications; so make sure your sales person explains how the device works, and that it is the correct one for your outdoor area
·         DO fit locks and possible alarm equipment in your outdoor shed

Keep our Village and community looking beautiful with your colourful gardens; and always keep in mind that you can garden to improve your security!


The Alien and Invasive Species Regulations came into effect in October last year. These were issued in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act of 2004 (NEMBA), which Act is the umbrella under which a consolidated approach to conservation, sustainable use, and equitable benefit-sharing of South Africa’s biological resources is managed.

1. What NEMBA should achieve
NEMBA aims to prevent the increase in alien invasive plant species coming into and settling on South African soil and to halt the spread of potentially devastating species.

This is obviously important as Invasive Alien Plants (IAPs), as these are referred to in the legislation, are a major threat to biodiversity, human livelihoods and economic development. Many of these IAPs may be the innocent result of unwise and unintentional plant introductions. NEMBA presupposes that if new invasions are discovered before they become well established, eradication is possible and management costs are greatly reduced.

A second main focus of NEMBA is on the early detection of and swift response to emerging invasive species. These are listed in the Act – specified in Category 1a - and require immediate control by all land owners.

The third main focus is to address the established invasive species that are most harmful and destructive.

2. How the regulations work
First, the identified alien plants are categorized. A total of 559 alien species are listed in the regulations as invasive in four different categories. Then some 560 species are listed as prohibited and which may not be introduced into the country. Some plants are categorised differently in different provinces. For example the Brazilian Pepper Tree is categorised as a category 1b (harmful) in KZN, Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, but it is a category 3 (less harmful) in the other 5 provinces. Some are categorised differently whether they appear in urban or rural areas, such as Jacarandas, which are classified as category 1b in rural areas within KZN and in three other provinces, but in the urban areas of these provinces they are exempted from the regulations.

Secondly, duties are ascribed to owners in respect of these categories. The duties range from just allowing government officials on the property to monitor the situation, to allowing such officials to implement eradication procedures. In other instances the land owner is required to obtain permits or to otherwise notify others if he is aware of the existence of such species.

Then the regulations go further and list certain activities which are termed “restricted activities”, which prohibit an owner from spreading or assisting the growth of listed invasive species. There are also provisions regarding certain species which may only be grown/allowed on a property if the owner has a permit.

Lastly, the regulations deal with non-compliance and impose fines and penalties not exceeding R10 million or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years. From the regulations it appears that government’s idea is to obtain co-operation from landowners rather than fining them. Fines and penalties will only become applicable if the landowner refuses an authorised official from the Department of Environmental Affairs to enter onto the land to monitor, assist or implement the combating; control or eradication of the species; or flatly refuses to comply with the regulations after due notice.

3. General duties of owners not selling
With effect from 1 October 2014 onwards:
· Category 1a species: an owner is required to take steps as provided for in the Act to eradicate the plants and the owner must also allow an authorised official from the Department to enter onto the land to monitor, assist or implement the combating or eradication of the species. Examples of these are the Kangaroo Thorn or Kangaroo Wattle and the Bluebell Creeper.

· Category 1b species must be controlled and the land owner must allow an authorised official from the Department to enter onto the land, to assist with or implement the control of the listed invasive species. Examples are the Golden Wattle, Port Jacksons and the Coral Bush.

· Category 2 species require the person in control of the specie to have a permit to allow him to carry out a restrictive activity within an area specified in the notice, or the area specified in the permit. No person may carry out a restrictive activity of a Category 2 invasive species without a permit. A land owner on whose land an invasive species Category 2 occurs must ensure that the specimens do not spread outside of the land or the area specified in the notice or permit. Examples of category 2 species are the Old Man Saltbush, White Poplar and the Grey Poplar.

· Category 3 species are a further category where certain exemptions apply.

The lists of categories are some 81 pages long. Attached at the end of these notes are some examples from the lists, just for interest. Anyone with a specific query can access the lists at

4. How will the regulations impact upon the seller of a property?
In terms of Regulation 29:

1. If a permit holder sells the property on which an alien listed invasive species is under the permit holder's control, the new owner of such property must apply for a permit in terms of the Act. The new owner must also be advised of the existence of a permit. (Permits relate to the category 2 species.)

2. The seller of any immovable property must, prior to the conclusion of the relevant sale agreement, notify the purchaser of that property in writing of the presence of listed invasive species on the property.

Most land owners (nor the conveyancers or estate agents) would not know a Cardiospermum grandiflorum (balloon vine which is a Category 1b species) from a Cardiospermum halicacabum (lesser balloon vine is a Category 3 species), unless one is told! Fortunately the wording of the regulations do not appear to place an obligation on a seller to actively acquaint him- or herself to this effect or to provide certification to this effect, prior to concluding a sale agreement.

What would be good practice though is for buyers to request from sellers to confirm in writing whether they are aware of, or hold any permits in respect of any alien invasive species located on the property. If a seller advises that he/she is honestly unaware of the presence of a listed invasive species, then that should be in order and there should lie no claim against the seller should it appear later that there are invasive species on the property sold. Where the seller acts fraudulently, however, a claim may follow.

After promulgation of these regulations, some estate agencies have started including additional clauses in their sale agreements to the effect that a reference to plants and vegetation is included in the acknowledgements by the purchaser. Such provisions generally require the purchaser to acknowledge that he has acquainted himself fully with the extent and nature of the property he is buying, including the fauna and flora thereon, and that he accepts it as such. Or a clause is included in which the seller states that he has no knowledge of the existence of listed invasive species of plants on his property and therefore does not guarantee that there are no such species on the property being sold.

In the event that the seller advises that he is aware of any listed invasive species on the property, or confirms that he holds a permit, then the estate agent must give a copy of this confirmation to the prospective purchaser. The offer to purchase should include an acknowledgment by the purchaser to the effect that the purchaser has been advised of the invasive species presence on the property.

Contact your conveyancer at should you require assistance in your property transaction.


Kenilworth Vet
Whether you have acres of landscaped garden or a courtyard of pretty potted plants we all love our gardens and our pets love them too. 

Who can resist watching a dog romp over the lawn or a cat playfully hiding in a shrub! But it isn’t always plain sailing out there. 

Here are a few things to think about, that will help you and your pet enjoy that outdoor space.

General garden tips.

· Be aware that not all plants are good for your pet if eaten. Plants such as rhododendron and azaleas are toxic to cats and dogs. Lilly of the valley, oleander, rosebay, foxglove and kalanchoe can all affect the heart if ingested while some members of the Cycad family and mushrooms can cause liver failure.
· On the other hand there are plenty of plants that your pet will love, especially cats who are very receptive to fragrant herbs.
· fertilizers are excellent for your garden but can be harmful to you pet . Make sure you follow instructions of use properly and only allow your pet into the garden when it is safe.
· pesticides are probably the most hazardous thing your pet will come into contact with in the garden. Slug bait, fly bait and mole bait all contain systemic poisons that are extremely dangerous to your pet.
Uses cautiously, follow instructions carefully and always store them out of your pets reach.
· Compost – composting is great but may be seen as an extra tasty morsel for your pet ! Always dig your compost in well so that mouldy kitchen waste is inaccessible to your pet!
· Always pack away garden tools etc that could cause harm to your pets.


Cats love the freedom of the garden for hunting , hiding, snacking and just generally lying around! Cats are particularly sensitive to aromatic plants and it is not unusual to find a cat rolling around in a herb garden or fragrant shrubs. Below are some of the favourites that are nice to plant in a cat friendly garden.

There are about 250 species in the Lamiaceae family of catnip plants .Catnip (Nepeta cataria) and Catmint (Nepeta Mussinii) are two of our felines favourites. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a pretty perennial but you’re your cat will think it smells good!

Cat thyme (Teucrium marum) Cat thyme is not actually a member of the thyme family . It has small, oval leaves similar to thyme and a musty scent. It is a tender perennial with grey-green leaves and has fragrant pink flowers in summer.

Spider plants are also a winner with cats they are easy to grow in pots or in the garden. Cats also love to ‘graze’ and are should be exposed to grass of some kind.

* There are people who try to deter cats from their garden but unfortunately there are really no foolproof ways of stopping a cat digging in your flowerbeds or vegetable garden. Covering newly planted seeds/ seedlings with netting can help or a quick blast from a water pistol!


Our dogs also love the garden but sometimes don’t behave exactly as we would like them too! Here are a few tips for a happy dog and happy garden!

The best start to good garden behaviour is if your dog understands that there are rules in the garden as well as the house. Train your puppy early about no go areas and undesirable behaviour.

Don’t just leave your dog in the garden to get bored. Left to his own devices he will get into trouble. Make sure there are toys and chews to keep him busy. Throw a!

Dogs will often keep to a garden path so be sure your paths are paw friendly. Choose your paths carefully as some decorative pips can be harmful when eaten.

If you find you can’t keep your dog out of your flowerbeds plant barrier plants like barberries, roses or euphorbia. Or consider a decorative low fence.

If your dog is going to spend a lot of time outdoors give him a kennel where he can go and chill out. It will provide year round protection from the weather.

Make sure your dog has access to clean water in the garden.

Spend time playing with you dog in your garden! Have fun together !
Happy gardening! 

Hearty Vegetable Soups

Kim Hofmann - Dietitian
There is nothing better on a cold winter’s day than a hearty vegetable soup!  Take a look at some recipes that will keep you warm and your tummy happy!

Vegetable Soup with Pasta Shells
·         1 tbsp. olive oil
·         1 onion, chopped
·         2 carrots, sliced
·         1 celery stalk, sliced
·         6 mushrooms, sliced
·         1 cup tomato pasta sauce
·         5 cups vegetable stock
·         ½ cup small pasta shells
·         1 pinch fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1.       Heat the oil in a large pot and add the onions, carrots and celery
2.       Cook until the onions are translucent (about 10 minutes)
3.       Add the mushrooms and cook until they have started to soften
4.       Add the pasta sauce and vegetable stock and bring the pot to a simmer.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are almost tender
5.       Add the pasta shells, and simmer until they are al dente
6.       Give the soup a taste and add salt and pepper as needed

These next 3 soups are all low in calories and high in nutrition so use them to fill up on whenever you need to.  They can be made in bulk and kept in the fridge for a couple of days or frozen.

Spinach and Rooibos Soup
·         300g fresh spinach, well rinsed
·         150g chicken
·         Salt and pepper to taste
·         4 spring onions chopped
·         30ml cake flour, made into a thin paste with a small amount of cold water
·         4 chicken stock cubes dissolved in 1L hot rooibos tea
·         100ml plain fat free yoghurt
1.       Strip the leaves from the hard stalks of the spinach and chop the leaves very finely
2.       Season the chicken with salt and pepper and fry in 1 of the stock cubes dissolved in a small amount of boiling water until cooked
3.       Remove from sauce pan, cube and keep aside
4.       SautĂ© the spring onions in a small amount of stock
5.       Add the spinach and stir-fry for 3 minutes
6.       Add cake flour and mix well
7.       Add the rest of the chicken stock slowly while stirring
8.       Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes
9.       Add the cooked chicken cubes and simmer for a further 5 minutes
10.   Serve with a yoghurt garnish

Green Soup
Kids and adults love this soup. Children often are mistrustful of the colour but once persuaded to taste it, they love it. The ingredients and the colour speak for themselves when rating its nutritional value! You could use just one or two of the 3 green veggies listed if you prefer or don’t have in stock.
·         1 tbsp. olive oil
·         1 onion, chopped
·         2 punnets baby marrows
·         2 punnets broccoli
·         1 bag spinach, washed and chopped
·         2 large potatoes (skin on), roughly chopped
·         2 chicken stock cubes
·         1 litres water
·         feta or gorgonzola cheese or cheddar(optional)
1.       Fry the onion in the olive oil until soft
2.       Throw in all the other ingredients (except the cheese)and boil gently until the veg and potato are cooked
3.       Allow the soup to cool and then liquidize
4.       Thin the soup down to the desired consistency with either water or milk
5.       Serve reheated with a sprinkled cheese on top or diced ostrich viennas or on its own

Creamy Mushroom Soup
·         3 punnets button mushrooms, roughly chopped
·         1 large handful fresh parsley
·         2 vegetable (or chicken) stock cubes dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
·         1 tsp crushed garlic
·         ½ can low fat evaporated milk or skimmed milk
·         ¼ tsp nutmeg
·         2 slices white bread with crusts removed
·         Pepper to taste
1.       Fry the mushrooms, parsley and garlic in a little chicken stock for a few minutes
2.       Cover and allow to simmer for 10 minutes making sure there is just enough liquid
3.       Crumble the bread into the pot and add the rest of stock and seasoning
4.       Simmer for a further 10 minutes and then liquidise
5.       Add evaporated milk or skim milk, reheat and serve