Surviving the Drought

April 3, 2017
It's great to visit a project designed using local plants and finding just how well it survived the severe drought we've been experiencing in Cape Town over the last few years!

Bloemhof Electricity Headquarters was constructed in winter 2013 and had established over 3 summer seasons before the water was turned off in November 2016 with the onset of Stage 3B water rationing, no irrigation! This is the ultimate test of a planting scheme's success.

We visited site in late March 2017 after 5 months of a very hot, dry and windy summer wondering what we would find. Thankfully, it was a success! Over 90% of the planting survived, probably over 95% in ground, but only about 50% of roof planters survived sadly. That was the end of over 3 years of good growth and full development of the shrubs.

The secret to the success can be put down to good soil preparations, careful plant choice, and the advantage of 3 years establishment albeit that the last two summers were in drought. Irrigation was always limited on the project to hand watering on an as-needed basis, so the plants were slowly weaned off wet nursery conditions.

It was interesting to see that the soil conditions were patchy and a couple dry places with higher plant losses or droughting occurred. It remains to be seen if these plants will recover from dropping their leaves, a typical drought response, or if the plants have succumbed. Wild Rosemary seemed to suffer the most in one area drier than elsewhere.

On the other hand, there were beds in the car parks naturally watered from permeable paving; the restios planted there, which are typically quite drought sensitive and died elsewhere, were thriving, lush and green, from all the water that penetrated the paving and was directed under their roots.

Lessons learnt: good soil preparations, and we used a soil wetter called Terracottem to boost soil water retention, composting, mulching, and good plant research and selection, came together to produce a scheme that has substantially survived the drought, saving on replanting costs and reducing precious potable water consumption.


Landscapes in Drought

February 23, 2017
Cape Town and the SW Cape has been experiencing a severe drought in the last few years. Now, in late February 2017, the city's reservoirs have only 4 months water supply left! And the hot, dry and windy weather is continuing, especially down in the Peninsula where gardening in this extreme weather with water rationing is highly challenging.

Nevertheless, life goes on and so does development. A current project under construction in Bellville, a landscape we are collaborating on with Earthworks ...
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VectorWorks 'Fix'!

March 30, 2016
The nitty-gritty of design is drawing and, today, it is largely CAD based, even though you may start with some preliminary hand-drawn work.

One of the worst things that can happen in CAD is not knowing how to do something really simple, like changing a line!

When I selected CAD software initially in my practice, I chose VectorWorks (then called something else). Amazingly, that is nearly twenty years ago now but upgrades can be challenging, not to mention unexpected changes in your drawing.

The b...
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Twenty Years as NWA

February 9, 2016
It's true! This year is 20 years since New World Associates was born!! I can hardly believe it but a lot of water has flown under the bridge since 1996 when I needed to develop a new company name and image. That happened when my former branch office of EDP (SA) known as EDP (Zimbabwe) split with its parent company.

I had been with the EDP group for seven years since finishing the BL course at TUKS and, after 3 years in the Randburg and Swaziland offices, opened the Harare office. Due to the di...
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New Look 2015

May 17, 2015
This is our new-look site which is being upgraded since its launch in 2010. Where does the time go, not to mention the promised site additions? I am hoping to do some occasional, maybe even regular blogging and addition of material to the site as time permits.

We have some magazine articles out there which we haven't added here, not to mention 25 years of projects to write about more than just the basic blurb. It's quite a challenge, however, pulling the material together, not to mention just ...
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