Garden, Gardens

Memorable Gardens

Homely Design – our May 2011 Eildon garden

For Barrie Pringle, who arrived at Eildon as a young bride 35 years ago, the starting point for any garden is to take your cue from the house. She remembers, “It was only when I stepped back and began to view the house and garden as one that the whole thing began to gel.” Standing out like a sore thumb in the arid Baviaans River Valley in the Eastern Cape, is the flowery Eildon homestead owned by Barrie. Similarly, the size of the towering trees also influenced the bold, linear design of the garden. In the end it came down to arranging the foliage according to the symmetry of the house with straight lines, as opposed to curves. The highlight is undoubtedly the formal rose garden, which occupies the spot of the former tennis court. The roses thrive in this garden because of the clay soil, while the clivias and plectranthus provide early and late colour. This Eildon beauty provides the perfect shelter from the harsh climate and environment that it exists in.

Doubling Up – our March 2011 Parktown North Garden

Patrick and Clare Wood have transformed their Parktown North, Johannesburg, garden into a spacious area, reinventing it by introducing several small spaces. With a little English garden in the front and an indigenous garden at the back, the couple have managed to create the illusion of space.  As a botanical artist, Clare is passionate about both English gardens as well as indigenous plants - hence the decision to split up the two areas. At the back, you will find two wire sheep sculptures which appear to be grazing on the leafy green foliage around them. The image mimics the Karoo and Eastern Cape references in the indigenous selection of plants. This more wild and overgrown garden takes on a circular structure that passes through the whimsical arch, adding an element of surprise. Of the understated low stone wall, well-known Joburg horticulturalist Arthur Menningke (“The Naked Gardener”) who worked on the property says, “The stone adds a nice sparkle when the quartz catches the light.” For us, it also echoes the farmyard feel that is hinted at by the use of animal structures. The English-inspired garden, on the other hand, is recognisable by its topiaries and box hedges. The space has also been maximised by keeping the area long and narrow, while the clean foreground creates depth for the background. As Clare says, “This garden is all about contrasts. There is an energy in contrasts that no garden should be without.”

A Canopy of Green – our April 2011 Cellars-Hohenort forest

Nestled in the midst of a magical forest, The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel in Cape Town’s evergreen Constantia, is a sight to be seen with its camphors, Delicious Monsters, oaks and ferns. The pathway through the forest is covered in emerald green moss which leads visitors to the forest through the popular fern walk. The idea is that in time, the tree ferns planted along the perimeter wall will block out any sight of the neighbouring road. There are currently eight camphor trees remaining of the lot given as a gift to Simon van der Stel when he ruled as Governor of the Cape Colony, back in the 17th century. Local horticulturalist Jean Almon, who has influenced the development of the garden for 21 years, says that The Cellars-Hohenort camphor trees are older than those at Kirstenbosch Gardens. She adds that the dappled shade along the guided walk makes for lovely summer strolls beneath the trees. Jean gives a guided tour every Tuesday at 10:30am for R60. You can call the hotel on 021-794-2137 for more information.