This year, Garden Day takes place on Sunday 17 October. In the lead up to Garden Day and in appreciation of all gardens, Candide is taking part in a week long of celebrations at the inaugural Stellenbosch Garden Week.
The Stellenbosch Garden Week, which runs from 1-10 October 2021, aims to bring gardening aficionados, nature lovers and families out in force to enjoy some of the private gardens in the Winelands region. It provides the ideal opportunity for you to be inspired in the lead up to Garden Day when you’ll be celebrating your own garden with family and friends.
Open to the public for a limited period, one of the gardens that you can pop into for a self-guided tour is 1 Bergbosch Street in De Bosch Estate, at the far end of Saffron Street, Die Boord. We popped into this 6000m² property, which was originally a featureless, flat strawberry farm, to find out from owners Sonia and Rudolf Gouws a bit more about the garden, designed by renowned landscaper Henk Scholtz and its hidden treasures.
Here are five things to not to miss when you visit:
The circular motif
One of Scholtz’s trademarks is a circular motif, which transforms hard edges and awkward shapes into eye-pleasing features. From circular lawns and pink terracotta planters on the southern side of the swimming pool, to circular spaces containing aloes, succulents, plumbago or indigenous grasses just beyond the fever tree forest, a sense of order and proportionality prevails. “The plot we bought was all khakibos and weeds, with not a tree in sight,” Sonia recalls.
A touch of the Highveld
The garden was planted and is maintained by Gert Smit of EP Landscaping. When the house was being built in 2010, Gert started planting fever trees, which are endemic to the Lowveld and KwaZulu-Natal but also present on the Highveld. “When we moved from Johannesburg to Stellenbosch, we wanted something to remind us of the wild beauty of the Highveld landscape,” Sonia says. Guests will enjoy strolling along the meandering pathways and will appreciate the wildness of this north-west corner of the garden.
A treasure trove of discoveries
There are several sculptures in the garden just waiting to be discovered – some sculpted by Rudolf himself, like the piano-playing hands in front of the pergola. Also look out for a fish-eagle sculpture by Jacques Buys, which was modelled on two fish eagles that regularly swoop above the Gouws’s house. Then relax on two quirky garden benches sculpted by Strijdom van der Merwe and photograph two dramatic stone sculptures by Angus Taylor. Play follow-the-leader along a path of white stones, reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel’s trail of breadcrumbs in the forest – and see if you can find the lemon and herb garden! The less formal part of the garden at the side of the house is a tapestry of water-wise local plants, some of which have been sculpted into interesting shapes.
Mission olives with resident chameleons
The Gouws family decided to plant olive trees so they could start their own olive oil label. These trees were planted to avoid having to landscape a simply enormous lawn – the circular part of which was initially jokingly called the Gouws’s ‘helipad’! The olive trees are much loved by chameleons. You can get the best view of the front garden and surrounding mountains from the first-flood balcony.
A riot of colour
Perennial plants like the ornamental pink gaura and sturdy, aromatic blue, purple and pink salvia add colour to the garden, along with blue and white agapanthus, and flaming pink bougainvillea draped across the pergolas built to disguise two water tanks. Look out for red and orange goldfish in the two ponds on the property. One of the ponds is a water feature that was previously a Boules court, while the other tempts your gaze just outside the front door.