Christopher and Susan Greig opened their garden and kitchen to 3000 guests from 15 – 18 October for the fifth annual Beechwood Gardens Charity Event and luncheon. Guest blogger, Belinda Fourie was there
Beechwood Gardens, a vast, green surprise in the heart of Sandton, Jo’burg, is enchanting. Imagine visiting a scene from a classic fairy tale where you wander through a fragrant rose garden or discover forest fauna in trees and ponds.
Essentially, an old-fashioned garden with the jacarandas being one of its main features, it’s lavish and not overly manicured.
Fifteen years ago it was this same charm provided by the many large trees that inspired Christopher to acquire the property and redesign some of the original Joane Pim landscaping. The large flat lawn at the back, one of the features cleverly created by Joane, allowed Christopher to ease the strong slope by using stairs and terraces.
“Gardens teach you so much about patience. There’s no such thing as perfection, but every loss brings a new opportunity,” he says.
Through the process of improving and rearranging, Christopher and his team of seven gardeners and resident horticulturist, have added amongst other things, trees, a rose garden, a potager and his favourite feature – a water garden.
“I’m a jewellery designer by profession, and as a very visual and aesthetically minded person, design and inspiration comes naturally to me,” says Christopher.
One example of his creative inclination is the impressive collection of bronze statues like the grazing warthog and two kingfishers perched among the water lilies. Larger artworks include a stag by sculptor Brendon Leggat on top of an archway, and a most contented pelican by his mother, Italia Greig, on an elevated bed of greenery.
The event showcased several of these and other artists, such as David Tomlinson, Malcolm Solomon and Lindy van Hasselt where artworks were displayed throughout the 3,5-acre garden.
Another attraction over the weekend was the spread of salads available to the 800 luncheon guests. The alfresco buffet meal was prepared by Susan Greig and her team from the Flavours of Susan Greig cooking school. The kitchen sports large double doors overlooking a potager of impressive proportions. Most of the family’s own food comes from this garden and some of it is also used in the monthly themed cooking classes Susan presents.
For those who didn’t sample the buffet, various food stands were situated at the entrance and guests were seen having impromptu picnics on the lush lawns, enjoying the live band.
If you missed the event, you’re still able to visit the garden on the last Friday and Saturday of most months.
Beechwood Gardens is open to the public on the last consecutive Friday and Saturday of every month, from 9h00 – 17h00. The entrance fee is R50 per person and children under the age of 12 enter free.
For enquiries, contact Beechwood Gardens’ resident horticulturalist, Steven Gouveia on 082 746 8647, or send an e-mail to [email protected]