In addition to being featured on the BBC television series Around the World in 80 Gardens, Stellenberg is also the subject of a book, ‘The Story of a Garden’.
Hidden in Kenilworth, the five-acre garden surrounds a classic Cape Dutch homestead. In addition to the mature trees, lawns and beds the garden is divided into a series of garden ‘rooms’, each of which forms part of the evolution of the whole garden over the last thirty years. Every year, there is something new to see in the gardens.
For Andrew and Sandy Ovenstone’s 25th wedding anniversary in 1989, David Hicks designed a formal garden based on the classic idea of a Walled Garden on what was originally a tennis court. The iconic garden room at Stellenberg continues to honour David Hicks’ legacy and style thirty years later, while continuously evolving as the garden and its surroundings evolve.
A whitewashed wall enclosed by heritage climbing roses divides the garden into two sections. An asymmetrical layout of knee-height clipped hedges gives the garden its architectural ends the garden its architectural structure while allowing for seasonal changes in planting style and colour, a celebration of good garden design and is the heart of the garden at Stellenberg.
Visits by arrangement.
The gardens and grounds of Vergelegen were restored in the 1980s, using a ‘layered’ historicism technique which contrasts spacious and intimate, simple with bold, and formal with informal.
This beautiful piece of land houses more than 9 different types of gardens including the Octagonal Garden, the Reflection Garden and the Rose garden which has a centre piece sculpture by Stanislaw Trzebinski entitled “Aphrodite”.
The Wetlands garden, situated below the Great Lawn and Camellia Garden, is a restful wetland area with a boardwalk, flourishing arum lilies, indigenous blue water lilies and other plantings.
The octagonal winery situated high on the Estate commands a 360 degree view of False Bay, Table Mountain, Cape Town and the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland ranges. A flourishing fynbos garden surrounds the top level of the winery.
The Hydrangea Garden is a mass of hydrangeas brings summer colour to the entrance road and Library area. Known as “Christmas Roses” in South Africa as they are normally in full bloom during December.
Location: Lourensford Road, Somerset West, Cape Town
Times: Mon – Sun | 8.30am – 5pm (last entry at 4.pm)
The Harold Porter National Botanical Garden is situated in the heart of the Cape Fynbos region within the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve where coastal fynbos is at its richest.
It encompasses mountain slopes with wind-clipped heathlands, deep gorges with relict forests, flats and marshes, sedges and bulbs, as well as dunes adjacent to the beach with specialized salt-adapted plants.
The Garden is renowned for its waterfalls and amber pools. Visitors can bring in their picnics while enjoying the views of the mountains, among the irises, daisies and orchids. The Garden also has red disa flowers in its natural habitat and the king protea.
This secluded Garden consists of 10 hectares of cultivated fynbos garden and over 190 hectares of pristine natural fynbos, with several kilometres of nature trails providing scenic views of forests, mountains and coastline.
Venue: Cnr Clarence Drive & Broadwith Rd, Betty’s Bay, Western Cape
Time: Monday to Friday 8am to 4.30pm | Weekends and Public Holidays 8am to 5pm
Cost: Adults R30 | South African Students and pensioners R20 | Scholars/Learners (6 – 17 years) R12 | Children under 6 years: Free
The Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden has a wide variety of arid and semi-arid plants, with 154-hectare laying at the foot of the Hex River Mountain range, 120 km north of Cape Town.
Spring is possibly the best time to visit this garden when the annuals and vygies are in bloom. Visitors can enjoy the three hiking trails on offer and the Garden is also home to a large succulent collection that can be viewed with a guided tour.
The family-friendly Kokerboom Restaurant within the garden serves a wide range of delicious meals as well as specially named cocktails, and children enjoy the nearby play area. Alternatively, visitors can pack a picnic to enjoy on the rolling lawns. There is also a deli selling local honey, chutney and jams. For those who want to take home some of the flora, there are a variety of hardy, water-wise, indigenous plants for sale – with horticultural staff available to give advice.
Venue: Roux Rd, Panorama, (off National Rd), Worcester, Western Cape
Time: Mon to Sun 7am to 6pm
Cost: Adults R10 | Students R7 | Pensioners and children under 18 years R5
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world. Few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch, against the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain.
The founders of Kirstenbosch were confronted with a neglected, overgrown farm, a ruined homestead, hordes of pigs, thickets of weeds and extensive plantations of alien plants. Much of the early work involved eradicating the aliens and clearing the land of weeds, and constructing pathways for easy access.
Development started in the Dell area and in the first ten to fifteen years many of the principle features of the garden were established. The main lawn was cleared and planted, hundreds of cycads were planted in the Cycad Amphitheatre, the rock work along the Bath stream and stone work in the Dell and the Cycad Amphitheatre was completed, Col. Bird’s Bath was restored, the Main Pond was excavated, Mathews’ Rockery and the Koppie were built, the Protea Garden, Erica Garden and Arboretum were begun, and the living plant collections were being built up.
In the early days, and indeed for the first 50 or so years, most of the work was done manually, using trolleys, mules, carts and crawlers. The topography of Kirstenbosch is challenging for gardening, and for moving or placing rocks. Since the beginning, local stone has been used for cobbling, curbing, dry stone walls, rockeries, etc. and it has become an outstanding feature of the Garden. The high standard of the work is a testament to the skill and talent of the staff responsible, who have made a significant contribution to Kirstenbosch.
There were many hardships in those early years and funds were severely lacking. The First World War happened, causing the Government grant to be reduced and leaving only one gardener on duty. Additional income was earned from the sale of firewood and acorns (for pig food), and various economic plants were cultivated and sold.
The internationally renowned garden we have today is due largely to the foresight of its founders, the commitment and dedication of the staff during the early years, and the substantial support of the Botanical Society and its members over the years.
Venue: Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Rhodes Dr, Newlands, Cape Town
Time: Daily 8am – 7pm during summer (Sep-Mar)| 8am – 6pm during winter (Apr-Aug).
Cost: Free to R210