Fairview Homestead | Gardening in the Garden Route
gardenroute, gardening;
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Flowers from the garden


I have known the Benkensteins and their Fairview for my whole life (literally) and during a recent stay found myself creating a slightly excessive collection of arrangements from the garden of the beautiful and carefully constructed second ‘home’ , the wonderful Guest House that is Fairview.

Philda needed something green for a photo shoot and I enthusiastically, half compulsively said – ‘I, let me do it’ as I have  gardeners, hoarders’ and ‘must build things out of other things’ genes. I tried to avoid slaying anything holy with the pruning shears and approached my harvesting as a matter of intuition and faith. I did not want to be the one cutting off the only blooming or seeding head of the whatever single holy specimen was blooming for the first time. I tried to keep with whatever presented itself in multiples, but the curious, ‘ooh must have, sniff out and grab ’instinct connected to some primitive part of my brain caused all good intentions  to fall by the wayside. As the gnomes or fairies would have it I was lucky, or maybe my frontal cortex granted me some harvester’s discernment.

Of course I was still wandering around the garden with my bucket tucking in my findings with more care than any candidate with a handcrafted basket could. My specimens were carefully picked according to texture, colour, size, shape or whatever category whim dictated – the ‘ooh must have, sniff out and grab’ does not abide to any watch so I was still on the gather when I heard the ‘Anja – she’s here and ready’ call. Fortunately I had unpacked some vases in preparation and jumped into making a series of four minute arrangements according to the the intuition that I have come to trust when collecting material and so proceeded wabi sabi style. There was enough material to continue the next day however so a leaf and stem or two flowed into a slightly compulsive creation of floral constructions.


Philda Benkenstein

In 1995 we moved from Namibia to a town called George on the Garden Route in South Africa - we found a wonderful property,first registered in 1861. The place was very neglected, but I undertook to start a guest house, so that the house could at least pay for its own upkeep after the restoration, and of course - for Desmond's garden. That is the start of my life as a guest house owner and this is the story of a house and garden,lovingly restored and shared with our guests, with family and friends...

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