Every year, a group of gardens in the Elgin Valley in the Overberg region opens to benefit local charities. This year includes Auldearn, Elgin Vintners Country House, Fresh Woods, Houw Hoek Outspan, Keurbos, Lavenham, Jessie Walton’s new garden at Sonop (on Keurbos), the Stone Kitchen, and Wildekrans Country House.
The gardens will open on Saturday 29th, and Sunday the 30th of October, and Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th of November, from 09:00 to 17:00. More information is available on Elgin Open Garden’s Instagram and website.
Here’s all you need to know about the participating gardens:
This beloved bistro is located at Dunstone Country Estate. You’ll find a waterwise organic garden on a rocky, sandy koppie with pergolas, indigenous plantings, and olive trees. The Stone Kitchen will exhibit its organic permaculture kitchen garden and beautiful stone and cob building.
Entry: R20 (food by arrangement only)
Contact: 021 859 2282 | 062 529 2558.
This charming and award-winning 4.9-acre paradise is less than an hour away from Cape Town. It offers a rambling, romantic plantsman’s garden with a major heritage and species roses collection. It also contains many rare trees and shrubs – some wild collected – including rhododendrons, Serrata, wild hydrangeas, deutzias & over 70 Japanese maples.
Fresh Woods even has collections of cyclamen, epimediums & lilies, and a woodland garden under pine. It showcases a bamboo walk and has won various awards, such as the WFRS Award of Garden Excellence.
Fresh Woods will additionally have teas and unusual plants on sale.
Entry: R40 (children 2-12: half price)
Contact: 021 8440 154 | 078 021 2101
This cottage is reminiscent of Anne Hathaway’s and is nothing short of picturesque. Straight from a fairytale, this thatched cottage is nestled in a vast and peaceful woodland garden of extensive lawns, roses, herbaceous borders, and ground cover. Worth the visit on your way to visit the other botanical jewels of the Elgin Valley (located 2km from the N2 along Viljoenshoop Road).
Contact: 0218489060 | 072 355 I 613
This beautiful formal garden has been recently restored from the 1920s. It uses original stonework and showcases an impressive array of wisteria pergolas, rose beds, and oak copses. The trees that punctuate the manicured lawns range from Magnoliagrandiflora to a large tulip tree estimated to be one of the biggest in the country.
Overall, a visit to the Elgin Vintners Country House is complete with wine tasting and sales, light refreshments, and magnificent views.
Contact: 021 848 9587
Keurbos Nursery Garden & Sonop Restanwold Fann
Keurbos’ large garden is designed for birds and includes indigenous and exotic portions. It is speckled with heritage rose beds, and a large collection of Japanese maples, bulbs and buchus, azaleas and rhododendrons.
With many of the same botanical gifts and beautiful blooms on display, Sonop is a sprawling 3ha of contoured, old farmland. It has been rehabilitated through indigenous planting. Pack a pair of walking shoes if you’re curious about this work in progress – every 30 minutes, a tractor and trailer will take guests on the adventure.
A visit will include garden teas, lunches, a bird hide on the lake, a picnic area, and plant sales.
Contact: 083 458 3790
This extraordinary hilltop garden blends the most unusual indigenous plants with exotic ones. The beautiful colour combinations and panoramic views of the Kogelberg biosphere are breathtaking. With cherries, roses, two ponds, and a stream, there’s a reason Auldrean has been featured often for its charm.
Don’t miss out on the tea, rosemary biscuits, and plant sales, either.
Contact: 083 500 0276
Constantly changing, boasting amazing views of the Houw Hoek mountains, this garden echoes English Gardens and is awash with colour from beds planted annually. With over 300 roses and fascinating plants which encourage bird populations, bird lovers and gardeners are sure to find the visit worthwhile.
On top of that, tea, coffee, and cake on the stoep sound like the perfect addition. Picnickers are welcome, and while homemade chicken wraps and pies are available for lunch, bookings are preferred.
Entry: Donations appreciated
Contact: 082 740 3590 | [email protected]
Sitting at the foot of Houw Hoek Mountain, this diverse garden is at the heart of the World Heritage Site of the Kogelberg Biosphere. Pop in to view the vast garden of mature trees, roses, shaded lawns, indigenous beds, fruit trees, water ponds, streams, and olive groves.
Wildekrans also features contemporary sculptures surrounding a homestead built in the 1800s by artists like Sera Holland. Her work showcases hand-made floral ceramics and oil paintings inspired by the Country House. Enjoy the beauty of nature and art, and finish off with country-style food and farm shopping at the Barn.
Entry: Donations (Bot River Education Fund)
Contact: 028 284 9827 | [email protected]
Feature image by overberginfo.co.za