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Celebrating indigenous gardens: De Zeven Guest Lodge

CandideZA
Published on September 29th 2021
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by nicole_greeff. All rights reserved

A group of sheep in front of a mountain
With Garden Day just around the corner,– on Sunday, 17 October, Candide is paying homage to some of South Africa’s greenest, most gracious landscapes, as well as encouraging you to celebrate your own garden with family and friends when the day arrives.
In the run-up to Garden Day, Candide is taking part in the inaugural Stellenbosch Garden Week, which runs from 1-10 October. This event promises a blooming good time for families that want to go back to nature in the picture-perfect Winelands.
One of the private gardens in Stellenbosch open for a self-guided tour is that of De Zeven Guest Lodge, Banhoek Conservancy, Zevenrivieren Road. Siobhan and Uys Meyer own the property, which consists of a luxury guesthouse and three very different landscaped garden areas, totalling 4 300² – the aloe and fever tree garden, which also boasts acacias, fynbos and succulents; fields of ornamental grasses next to the natural dam; and an orderly quadrangle, which complements the hospitality objectives of the Lodge.
A field with a mountain in the background
According to landscaper Rentia Hobbs, from Once Upon a Garden, the brief was to create a very natural-looking garden that did not require huge upkeep. “Most visitors can’t believe the garden was planted so recently – it looks as if it has been here for 100 years,” says Uys. “They also love the fact that the garden blends into the overall surroundings.”
Here are three reasons to visit these spacious, relaxing gardens:
Celebrate indigenous beauty
Siobhan and Uys wanted a water-wise garden, so opting for hardy, low-fuss plants made perfect sense. “South Africa’s floral kingdom is very diverse and unique – so many species are still unknown to the public,” says Rentia. “By focusing on indigenous planting, you create more awareness of the important synergy between ecology, fauna and flora. Indigenous plants are acclimatised, resilient to diseases, and a very important food source for our pollinators.” Guests enjoy bird watching on the property, particularly overseas visitors, who are astonished at the variety of bird life.
A tree with a mountain in the background
While away the hours beside the dam
The large farm dam is flanked by a variety of wild, waving grasses, interspersed with annuals that provide smudges of seasonal colour. These grasses take up almost half the garden and you can simply get lost among them as you navigate the gentle slopes of this section of the property.
Find scented serenity in the quadrangle
Explore the formal, more sculptural garden that forms part of the quadrangle in front of the house. Scented lavender and elegant roses (some of them inherited when the Meyers took over the property) provide a fragrant oasis, joined by colourful buddleia, romantic brunfelsia, and pretty Japanese anemones, among others. Look out for striking Mandela’s Gold strelizias.
“Siobhan and Uys are both keen gardeners. When I got involved, they had already started planting trees and could not wait to get going with the gardens,” Rentia recalls. They opted to keep some of the plants that were already on the property, like liquid amber, frangipani and ever popular clivias. There are around 8 400 plants on the property, with a mix of old and new – as well as indigenous and non-indigenous – lending the garden its eclectic charm. Rentia says it took 28 days to landscape the garden, which will evolve in a natural way. “We don’t mind a few weeds among the grasses,” she says.
For more information on Stellenbosch Garden Week, visit https://www.visitstellenbosch.org/gardenweek/ and don’t forget to celebrate your own garden and green space on Garden Day - Sunday 17 October 2021.