DIY, design and Darwin

Private Property South Africa
Shaun Wewege

I have the world’s worst neighbour. He’s not noisy, doesn’t run a brothel from his garage or use his shed as a meth lab. In fact, he has a nice garden with a manicured lawn, flowering plants of all colours and a water feature that looks as though it may have been carved by one the great sculptors of the Renaissance. Doesn’t he realise that he is making me look bad?

My approach to garden care is one Charles Darwin would have been proud of. It’s called the “only the tough survive” approach and is based on the “survival of the fittest” principle. If plants can’t fend for themselves, they won’t see a second summer. Some call me a lazy gardener. I prefer to think of myself as someone who lets nature run its course.

Still, homeowners and hobbyists alike are spoilt for choice when it comes to events that cater for them. Whether you need a garden gnome (though I am not sure one ever truly needs a gnome), solar heating system for your pool or a bit of DIY inspiration, there is an expo for you. Now that January is behind us and ATMs have stopped laughing when I try to draw money, hobbyist and homeowner expos will pop up regularly. Here’s a brief look at what to expect.

HOMEMAKERS Expo: the theme for 2014 is “Bold, Bright, Individual” and the organisers have promised the expected 50 000 visitors a wealth of inspiration. Highlights include the Repurpose[d] recycling feature from the University of Johannesburg’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, in which students will showcase a new take on repurposing and up-cycled items. Also keep an eye out for Décor & Furniture Avenue and the Coffee Lovers Theatre.

Date: 27 February – 2 March

Venue: The Dome, Northriding, Northgate – keep an eye out for exhibitions in other parts of the country

Hobby-X: I once made a post-box that fell apart in my woodwork teacher’s hands when he picked it up to mark it, so perhaps this is the kind of expo I should attend. Visitors can expect sound advice on a variety of arts and crafts from over 250 exhibitors.

Date: 6 – 9 March

Venue: The Dome, Northriding, Northgate – the expo will also take place in Cape Town and Midrand later in the year

House and Garden Show: a mix of experts, exhibitors and radio personalities await to inform and entertain guests. This show has a notable heritage and proud record – it’s been around for over 32 years and roughly 90 000 visitors will attend over the 10-day show period. If you can’t find something to inspire you here, you are probably worse than I am at home-related chores.

Date: 13 – 22 June

Venue: Durban Exhibition Centre

Decorex: started in 1994 , Decorex SA has grown extensively to become a well-known brand in South Africa’s interior design landscape.

Date: 20 – 23 March (Durban); 25 – 28 April (Cape Town); 6 – 10 August (Joburg)

Garden Show: billed as the southern hemisphere’s largest landscaping and horticultural show, this annual event is a highlight on the Pietermaritzburg event calendar. Visitors are usually blown away the intricate landscape designs and mesmerised by the floral displays.

Date: 10 – 21 September

Venue: Royal Showgrounds, Pietermaritzburg

The downside of these expos is that there is always one stand attempting to shill goods you see in informercials. But it’s quite easy to ignore the guy selling the Miracle Potato Peeler and find exhibitors that interest you.

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