‘Witness' Open Gardens: celebrating the start of summer

2010-09-21 00:00

GARDENERS from throughout the country will be celebrating the start of summer this weekend while enjoying The Witness Open Gardens in Pietermaritzburg and the midlands.

Twenty-nine gardens open their gates this season, offering visitors the opportunity to meet the gardeners and benefit from their advice.

Some gardens are small townhouse affairs, others sweeping farm creations. Some offer traditional English teas among rose-scented beds, others lay on light lunches, art and music. Several have speciality plants for sale.

One of the showpieces on display this weekend is the Benvie Garden in the Karkloof, which is 30 hectares (70 acres) in extent. It was established by John Geekie about 125 years ago and is still held and maintained by the family.

The garden consists mainly of large conifers, azaleas, azalea mollis and rhododendrons. Trees and shrubs from many parts of the world were planted to create the garden.

Visitors are encouraged to bring picnic baskets, and there is a R50 entry fee.

Be sure to get your copy of Weekend Witness this Saturday for the Open Garden supplement, which has a full listing of open gardens. Log on to www.witness.co.za for more information.

Open Garden supplements will also be available at garden centres throughout Pietermaritzburg tomorrow.

Another celebration of spring is the Hospice promotion on October 1 at 10 am and 2 pm, which will be addressed by gardening expert Keith Kirsten. He will also be launching his new book How to Plan, Plant and Maintain a Garden.

Tea and refreshments will be provided. Entry to the talks is R60. Tickets are available from Hospice. Contact Anila at 033 344 1560.

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