Lizette Jonker

About Lizette Jonker

Lizette Jonker, the South African Garden Diva, is first and foremost a gardener, albeit a very restless and impatient one! She has worked as photojournalist and stylist for several South African magazines the past 20 years, inspiring readers with creative gardening, décor and craft ideas. Her last full-time job, as editor of the very popular SA Garden magazine, ended last October when the publisher decided to close the magazine. She now freelances for Finesse and Garden & Home magazines, and gives regular garden talks at garden centres and garden clubs. She comes from a family of plant lovers who understand the need to share and explore everything that grows. She travels South Africa and the world in search of beautiful gardens to capture, usually accompanied by a small tour group organised by Thompsons Holidays. Her other big passion is singing - she is a trained dramatic soprano and vocal coach, and is part of the operatic group XQST. She shares a home in Pretoria, South Africa, with her handyman husband Chris, her son Duard, who is a first year opera student, and her mom Jean, who also loves gardening and has a rose named after her.

International Orchid show in South Africa!

I classify myself as a non-grower of orchids, because surely owning a gorgeous Phalaenopsis from the local grocer does not count as growing orchids? In my own defence I must say I have been an advocate of growing Phalaenopsis, as my grocer-shopping days of orchids (okay, and a good deal of trial and error, as well as some serious research) have taught me how to care for Phalaenopsis orchids the proper way Continue reading

Small garden, big heart

In the South African winter of 2013 I created this little show garden with all the principles of sustainability in mind – a little 6 m x 5 m family garden that anyone can create in their backyard. I loved building this little garden, and might reconstruct it in my own garden the day I dismantle it. It can still be seen until March 2014 at Garden World in Muldersdrift, South Africa. Continue reading

The trouble with spring

We all enjoy spring, especially after the long winter. In the northern parts of South Africa the winter is always ugly, with a lot of fires destroying the beautiful blonde winter grass. Because of the cold nights and frost a lot of people don’t even bother gardening in winter. So your general colour palette is either frosted, dead gardens or burnt fields – not nice at all. That is why spring is our favourite season – my, the vibrant colours, intoxicating fragrances and sound of chattering birds and humming bees overwhelm the senses! Continue reading

Garden World Festival gardens

The stunning show gardens that were created for the 2013 Garden World Spring Festival can still be seen at Garden World, one of South Africa’s destination garden centres, until the end March 2014. The gardens have grown nicely during spring, and will mature more over the next few months – definitely worth seeing if you have not been there yet! Continue reading

Garden World Spring Festival 2013

The 2013 Garden World Spring Festival has opened recently in Muldersdrift outside Johannesburg, and as usual this annual South African garden show has lots of ideas for the home gardener. Here I’m looking at a few of the gardens, and then some more in my next blog post. You can visit the 2013 Garden World Spring Festival until Sunday September 1 2013. Continue reading

There’s a garden in my backyard!

It is not the first time I am telling the story of my garden to an audience – I did that for five years when I had the most wonderful audience of garden lovers across sunny South Africa, all readers of the popular South African monthly magazine, SA Garden. Now – through GardenDrum – I hope to find a new audience of gardeners who would like to share my garden with me and share their gardens with me! For those of you who have not read any of my garden articles I published the past 10 years, let me introduce myself: I have gardening in my blood. Continue reading