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.