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Bits and bobs about my life in my lovely home, Thatchwick Cottage, Pretoria, South Africa.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuesday, 20 January '09: My World - Brenthurst Garden, Johannesburg



Brenthurst Gardens in Parkhurst, Johannesburg is a relatively undiscovered gem. The 48 acre eco-friendly gardens are over a century old and have been owned by the illustrious Oppenheimer family since the turn of the century. Harry Oppenheimer, mining magnate, philanthropist and great son of South Africa, and his wife, Bridget redesigned the magnificent estate in the late 1950's. Today the gardens are the responsiblity of Strilli Oppenheimer, wife of Nicky Oppenheimer, who lives in Little Brenthurst pictured above. I first visited the gardens in November last year and was moved by the tranquillity and beauty of a planting which borders one of the busiest stretches of urban highway in the whole of South Africa!


As our little group proceeded along the majestic avenue, we were met by the tall imposing Strilli elegantly striding along in her gardening togs accompanied by her two dogs. She paused to explain to us her vision of the garden: "Totally free of insecticides, pesticides and manmade fertilizers, I and my head gardener, Dawid Klopper, believe in working with nature rather than fighting it or imposing our 'perfect' picture on it."


I returned home inspired to add more and more indigeneous plants to my own garden at Thatchwick Cottage. To encourage butterflies, insects, frogs and indigeneous birds. To use only natural recipes for controlling plant diseases and pests.

This fantastic garden takes about three hours to explore with a very friendly guide. I returned in mid-December with a posse of friends who were awed and struck with a new gardening vision. There is an admittance fee which all goes to the Little Eden Society for the care of persons with mental handicaps. Tea is served and there are books and indigeneous plants to buy at very low prices. The garden at Brenthurst is also a Quiet Garden, a project sponsored by the Anglican church as a garden open to visitors for meditation and prayer.

If you are visiting Jo'burg, South Africa, why not Brenthurst? This is a lovely part of my dear world! And my debut into Show your world Tuesday. Visit the Show your world page and explore the globe.

21 comments:

Dirk said...

Leuk om zoveel groen te zien, mooie foto's!

Judith said...

How beautiful and serene and quiet. I would love to visit the Quiet Garden. Judith

Raph G. Neckmann said...

This is absolutely fantastic, Eleanor! I so love gardens and visiting them is like paradise to me. The tranquillity is so evident in your photos.

Strilli's natural garden philosophy is mine exactly. Are your natural methods working in your garden? I use garlic heated up in water then steeped overnight and sloshed over my hostas and other sensitive plants to protect them from snails.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

PS; Eleanor, I'm looking at the tall flowers on the first photo and wondering what they are? They look a little like Eremurus.

Smilingsal said...

What a beauty this spot is! I love the way you visit and take away so much information to share. (That's the teacher in you!) Thank you.

Claire said...

thank you for sharing this gem E... i love gardens and i can't wait to explore this one!

Gattina said...

This garden looks gorgeous ! and the house too. How interesting !

Louise said...

What an incredibly beautiful place!!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Oh how lovely! Thank you for sharing this, Eleanor.

XO,

Sheila

Arija said...

A truly inspired place. A garden should be a sea of tranquility. My garden too is built on the same principles. Natural fertillizer, chiefly from our own sheep and cattle, compost and mulch. With birds and beneficial insects for pest control as well as a milk spray to control possible outbreaks of fungus during the hot weather.

Clif said...

I was here earlier but my computer stopped working. I will try again...The garden is beautiful. And you described it in a beautiful way. I wish you were not so far away. I would love to see your country and especially that garden. ...Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting on the Cardinals football team.

chanpheng said...

Lovely pictures. Doesn't seem like Africa!

Pernill@ said...

That is so beautifull !!
Really nice pictures !
/ Pernilla

Glennis said...

A lovely peaceful garden, with lots of mature trees and flowers, I would enjoy strolling along that avenue, and more so among the trees and shrubs, listening to the birds and insects.

Gaelyn said...

Beautiful gardens! How nice to plant with wildlife in mind which is automatically friendly to nature.
Thank you for the tour. I am intriqued by your part of the world.

Welcome to MWT

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Eleanor - there's an Award waiting for you via my blog ...

Poetikat said...

Always, thank you so much for sharing your far-away world. Please stop in at my blog for a little gift from me.

Kat

Barbara Martin said...

Beautiful garden with such interesting plants I've never seen before.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely, romantic setting. Watched Brideshead Revisted and absolutely loved it. Smart plot and dialogue. Lovely ending. Hope you are doing well.
Big hug and kiss ~
Alexandra

Ordinarylife said...

wow - what a beautiful place.

Max-e said...

Hi Eleanor, it looks like a really beautiful garden. I cannot say that I have ever heard of it, but when next I spend time in that part of the world I will certainly visit Brenthurst