Midlands open gardens: English flowers, birds and indigenous trees to enjoy this weekend

2008-10-16 00:00

Three exceptional midlands gardens are open to public viewing this weekend — those of Rose Sivright and Veronica Ratsey in the Rosetta area and Priscilla Francis’s well-known Milestone Forest in Balgowan.

The Sivrights’ is an English garden in the midlands, showcasing beautiful rhododendrons, Russell lupins, astilbes, hostas, hellebores with a sprinkling of annual poppies and pansies. There will be a tea garden at the Sivrights’ and plants will be on sale.

The Ratseys’ beautiful garden will also have plants for sale and you will be able to see a wide variety of English trees coming into leaf. The exceptional views of the Drakensberg from this garden make it a must-see on the Open Gardens’ circuit.

While you’re in the area, be sure to visit the Francises’ Milestone Forest in Balgowan — this portion of indigenous KwaZulu-Natal mist forest is a National Heritage site.

The Balgowan Conservancy and the Wildlands Trust have over the years developed a tree walk, which has been enjoyed by many visitors.

The forest also attracts an abundance of bird life, so be sure to take your binoculars and wear good walking shoes. Spectacular Cape chestnuts flower in late spring and the garden also boasts hydrangeas, azaleas and rhododendrons.

Brochures of Open Gardens are available from Berry’s Mowers and Pools and select nurseries and garden centres, or you can contact Gail at 082 445 2577 or e-mail her on gail@spottedowl.co.za for more information.

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