Get out of town and visit farm gardens at Harding this weekend

2012-11-02 00:00

ALTHOUGH summer seems loath to show itself this cool and rainy spring, there are still gardens to visit this weekend, the last of the Witness Open Garden season with gardens opening in the Harding and Umuziwabantu district.

These gardens are open from 10 am to 4 pm today and Saturday and 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday. There is a one-off fee of R20 to see all the gardens on show. Tea and snacks will be on sale.

Harding is situated in a high rainfall, mist belt area and the cool moist summers and temperate winters make it ideal gardening country, featuring everything from hardier sub-tropical plants to plants that enjoy cooler climates such as many English garden favourites, to a great variety of indigenous species.

The garden of Eddie and Sheila Bowler at Willowdene farm features many well-established trees such as jacaranda, oaks and palm trees, with shrubs, perennials, annuals and roses.

Joy Nightingale’s The Bird’s Nest at 3 Stafford Street is one of the oldest in the district, originally laid out almost 100 years ago. After subdivision it has been gradually replanted in the English cottage garden style using perma­culture methods.

Gloria Larken will be opening Nkondwana Farm, a spacious, well established farm garden, generally described as “tranquil” by the neighbours. The garden is situated on the drier, warmer side of the Harding area.

There are wide lawns, shady trees and the beds are planted with a mixture of indigenous and exotic shrubs, perennials and annuals.

The garden of Val and Guy Payn, Burnside Farm, has been planned around well-established old trees and shrubs. Originally planted in an English cottage style, Val has slowly been transforming the garden into an ecologically self-sustaining garden, with veld grasses used to blend the garden into the surrounding landscape.

The garden relies completely on rainfall.

The final garden to open in the Harding district is that of Mark and Taryn Armour at Witney Farm. This park-like garden is moulded around well-established trees and slight grassy slopes.

It is in the process of being redeveloped using informal, organic shapes in an informal country garden fashion.

So this weekend, take a trip to Harding and enjoy spring beauty of another sort at these five beautiful gardens. For more information, e-mail gail@spottedowl.co.za.

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