31 October 2010

Constantia Valley Open Gardens

Date: 30 October 2010

Location: Constantia

Walkers: Jenny, Iain & Helen

Hooray, open garden time of year again. I joined Iain and Jenny on a tour of five private gardens in Constantia and Bergvliet in the leafy Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. A small entrance fee was payable; this goes to charity (more info here). Visiting open gardens is a popular activity... there were a lot of people everywhere we went. We drove between gardens, and while in the gardens we simply strolled about. But it added up to a good couple of hours of walking... and bending and squatting down to see flowers and take pictures... altogether, surprisingly tiring!

First stop on the tour: 9 Sun Valley Avenue, Constantia.

This is my favourite type of garden: full beds with a mix of flowers, colours and textures in the English style... lush, romantic, overgrown. I know of course that this sort of garden is the hardest to plan and maintain, and that enormous work goes into making it look so relaxed and natural.

Many beautiful flowers, in shades very pleasing to my eye.

(click to enlarge photos - these ones and any other photo)

The sunny beds were a riot of colour, with everything in flower right now.

It's always interesting to see how gardeners resolve issues like walkways, edging of beds, places to sit etc. I particularly liked how this garden has potted plants dotted throughout the garden.

The patio area was filled with a fascinating mix of succulents, bulbs and all sorts of unusual plants.

The amaryllis was in magnificent full bloom!

This canna lily was the focal point of one of the lower beds. I really liked those large red leaves amongst the green foliage.

I also loved the variety of flowers in gold and orange shades, adding warmth to the garden.

My favourite thing in the whole garden however was probably the bougainvillea bonsai. Spectacular!

On to the second garden: 3 Zomerlust Avenue, Constantia.

This garden had large rolling lawns and very colourful and pretty beds.

I could see that Iain was looking at all the gardens more carefully and critically than me. He has his own garden/landscaping business (he did my garden) so was studying the gardens with a interested professional eye.

While I was more "oooh, pretty colours!!"

I was especially fascinated by the aquilegias. Love them ;-)

Large shady trees and soft colours made this garden very easy on the eye.

This property also had an enclosed courtyard with a water feature and potted garden. I imagine the owners must use this space all the time.

Onwards to garden number three: 11 Bruce Rd, Constantia.

Fabulous house! And a much more formal architectural garden than the first two, with neat clipped hedges dividing the garden in different areas, linked by formal walkways.

I do like this sort of garden too... very calm, neat and ordered. They have a beautiful rectangular swimming pool, echoed in the pleasing water feature in another part of the garden.

This happy salvia was growing in the beds alongside the driveway.

Some of the other flowers we saw here: foxglove, justicia and sweet pea.

After a walk around this large garden we sat down to a cup of tea.

And then, garden four: 34 Vineyard Road, Pekalmy.

There was much thought to texture in this garden I reckon. I liked the strap leaves and tufts of grey festuca.

Amongst the flowers were growing lettuce and chard (thriving!) as well as succulents, aloes and air plants.

Pastel watercolour pansies were in full bloom down one end.

And finally, a quick visit to the fifth garden: 1 Ceres Rd, Bergvliet.

This vegetable garden was new, planted in January of this year. Bumper crop I'd say, with cabbages, spinach, broccoli amongst the veggies ready to pick. I really liked the mix of vegetables, herbs and flowering plants.

The main garden had a more traditional look, with lawns and shaded beds.

Interesting mix of greens and white in one bed of this pleasant garden.

And that was the end of our tour of Constantia's Open Gardens for 2010!