02 November 2010
Elgin Open Gardens - Part 1
Date: 31 October 2010
Location: Elgin, in the Overberg
Walkers: Dorothy, Michele, Vanessa, Tarryn, Summer, Dominic & Helen
The Elgin Valley is about an hour's drive from Cape Town. The area is known for its apples; the mild climate is also very good for gardening. Several of us made the trip to attend Elgin Open Gardens.
Our first stop: Freshwoods
We were thirsty after the drive so we went straight to the tea table for a cuppa and a scone, enjoyed under the enormous oak trees.
After our refreshments we began our stroll around this large and beautiful garden. The generous beds were filled with a variety of different plants and flowers, growing in a soft higgledy-piggledy fashion. This is the romantic English-country-garden style I like so much.
We saw an astonishing variety of colours, scents and textures amongst the plants in flower. There had been a bit of rain the night before and many blooms were still covered in pretty little water droplets.
(On these and all photos: click to enlarge)
The graceful poppies were outstanding.
At the small pond: abundant Louisiana iris and a giant gunnera.
From here we walked through a bamboo forest. This wasn't here at all on my last visit (two years ago) and I was astounded at how enormous the bamboo had grown... the dark stems disappeared into the heavens.
We walked to the edge of the garden where several unusual trees were growing, as well as arum lilies and these huge golden wachendorfias.
Next we explored the woodland garden. This area looks like a natural woodland, with banks of shade-loving plants thriving in the undergrowth. The tall yellow primulas were lovely.
Up above our heads: fresh green leaves.
Also, lots of aquilegias...
... in every shade.
Not all the plants were bright colours. I'm not sure what this is, but I really liked the form and subtle creamy-green colour.
Granadilla creepers have the oddest flowers!
Freshwoods is known for its well-established rhododendrons and azaleas.
The buds open into the most showy flowers...
... in jewel colours and the softest pastels.
We wandered back to the main garden. Here we found green lawns and more beds beneath trees and large shrubs. There are lots of different areas and we walked round and round exploring it all.
I've been to Freshwoods several times in the past but I don't think I've ever seen it more gorgeous. Didn't hurt that it was a perfect sunny day!
Roses! Heritage roses! They had the most intoxicating sweet scent.
And velvety petals.
So much loveliness!
Lilies, another one of my favourites.
All sorts of unusual plants, including many that I didn't know at all.
So many blue ones!
This attractive tree was very popular with the birds.
And this tree was covered in these blooms (a type of rose? blossom?) making a ceiling of pink pompoms above. I don't think you can get more exquisite spring loveliness than this.
After an hour or two of walking around this garden we still had energy for more! So we continued our tour onto the next garden.
Part 2 of Elgin Open Gardens coming soon.