Janet Davis - Beautiful Marriages : Matchmaking in the Garden


Janet sent us her notes and plant list from the evening. Click here to down load them.

Just in time to head to the nursery, Janet Davis will show you a selection of beautiful perennial couples, and the odd ménage a trois to keep things spicy.


Looking at Janet Davis’ current photo by-line, it’s not hard to imagine that she lives a ‘colourful’ life, what with her fiery orange hat. One need only read a bit of her blog to learn that it is indeed colourful—in more than the obvious way.

The headline graphic at the top of her blog, The Paintbox Garden, is like a swatch of flower photo quilt squares—from white to yellow, orange, red, purple, and blue—all sitting on a background of my favourite flavour of green. And if you go to the Colour Menu page, you’ll be delighted with more flower-photo quilts, from the multi-hued to the monochromatic. It is a dazzling testament to her thirty odd years of photographing plants, especially flowers.

Janet’s life is colourful in other ways, however, as the writing on her website will attest. Since her last presentation to our Hort, Janet has done quite a lot of travelling. That’s not unusual in and of itself, but the two trips she shares with her readers reveal a penchant and curiosity for adventure and knowledge that can only be attained through sometimes arduous and exhausting, not always comfortable, but truly rewarding discoveries.

From visiting South Africa’s well manicured gardens of the rich and famous in Johannesburg’s Gauteng province to rumbling through the countryside of Mpumalanga province, from highveld to lowveld, Janet set her lens upon the first protea she’d ever seen growing in the wild to monumental “slag heaps of open-pit mines”. She set eyes on everything from agricultural land to deeply water-cut sandstone canyons at the juncture of the Treur and Blyde rivers. All the while, feeling like she was exhausting her guide with her questions (he assured her she wasn’t).

That was in November 2014, shortly after her last talk. One year later, with a group of friends, Janet made another trip a little closer to home, but rather more exotic than the weekend of hiking in a “wild place in nature” that they would usually choose. They set off for an eco-tour in the Osa Peninsula, in Costa Rica’s southwest Pacific coast, staying at the El Remanso Lodge. From the luxuriant, environmentally friendly comfort of this home base, Janet and her friends discovered everything from the homeland of the common houseplant, the flame violet, to the strength of leafcutter ants. Her beautiful photographs and short videos document the lushness and vibrancy of the rainforest’s flowers, insects, birds, and monkeys, as well as the less showy reptiles that inhabit this humid forest.

There’s only one small hitch to her continued focus on the natural world, the competition derived from her two grandchildren. For now, however, Janet will ply us with suggestions for combining colours in our gardens based, no doubt, on all the wonders she has seen in these last two years.

Maria Nunes

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