Fairview Homestead | Visit to our Garden by the British Royal Horticultural Society
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Visit to our Garden by the British Royal Horticultural Society

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It is countdown to the annual Garden Route Open Garden Festival this Saturday and Sunday. Desmond is gardening before work and I hardly get greeted before he is off into the garden again after work (he jokes that he actually goes to rest in his air conditioned medical practice during the day as the real work starts when he gets home!)All the hard work shows – our garden is looking spectacular. I am excited about a little collaboration with Of the Earth Catering  –  delicious French pastries and healthy lunches will be served at Fairview Historic Homestead’s Pop-up Tea Garden.

My hard work organising the Open Gardens is also coming together. We have beautiful maps sponsored by Coke.  I have got quotes for a new brochure to showcase private Garden Route gardens open throughout the year for viewing by appointment. We are holding thumbs for a succesful new tourism product for the garden route. Already a year ago a group of gardening enthusiasts chanced upon the website and subsequently visited our garden – I copy the letter I received from them:

‘Please do forgive me the time that it has taken to write and thank you.   Although we never met, you were very generous to an RHS Holiday tour party back in November in allowing us to come and visit your garden   It was during the torrential rains that we had during that month and our day was supposed to involve a trip from Knysna to Hermanus enjoying the beauty of Wilderness along the way.   Considering the dangerously high water levels, Wilderness was never going to happen and so we sought out an alternative option.   The tour was about seeing the Floral Wonders of South Africa, but many of our guests had wanted to see a “typical South African garden”.

I am not sure I would count your garden as “typical”, it was  so far above the average South African garden, but it was really  appreciated by the group to see what a keen  gardener can achieve in South Africa.   Through a continual downpour, the group enjoyed browsing amongst the  various rooms of the garden, admiring the structure and mix of plantings, both native  and non-native plants (several of them commented that it was so nice to see plants they recognized!).   It was only a short visit, and everyone was drenched by the end, but it gave the group something special to remember from an otherwise dismal day.

So thank you very much for your openness  to let us visit ; it was just a shame that you were not there to show us around as you would have had a very attentive audience.   There is another tour planned for 2015, and maybe it would be possible to actually plan in a visit more officially into  the programme, as well as other  local gardens that you are now promoting through the George Open Gardens.   If you think that this would be a possibility, then please do get in touch with me and I will pass your details onto our RHS Holiday  organizing team. “

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Philda Benkenstein
benkenstein@mweb.co.za
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