Friday, December 2, 2011

La Brie [Franschhoek Open Garden 2011]

The Lake at La Brie
I cannot believe how quickly time is passing. Our wonderful trip to view the open gardens in Franschhoek seems a distant memory apart from the reminder we have by way of the hundreds of photographs we took.

La Brie, the farm garden I am showcasing today, presented us not only with three separate gardens to view...
...but also with the opportunity to meet a number of the resident animals. Here's looking at you, Odie!
I had considered doing this post in two parts...
...since there is so much material...will you look at those bushy eyebrows!
...but I have opted to keep this post it as one...
...even though this means it is going to be fairly lengthy...

So, for those of you who have braved my lengthy posts before...brace yourselves. Those of you who are too busy to hang around...Cheers! Porky over here will be happy to escort you off the property.

"I have heard Odie, over at The Simple Life, absolutely loves my kind!"  
"So, Odie, here I am practising my best pose for you!"
"I've been growing my goatee to delight the ladies. Do you think it's looking impressive enough?"
"Excuse me...may I please remind you that this is meant to be a post about our farm, not YOU, Billy Goat!"

Thank goodness for Toady! At last we can proceed with the tour of this garden...we'll spend a few moments at the waterlily covered lake to set the scene...

It was overcast and drizzly, but we were not at all deterred!

Surrounded by so much beauty, who would care about a bit of drizzle?

After enjoying The Lake, we moved to the next garden at La Brie...The Potager! 
This was a delightful garden of roses, herbs and vegetables, beautifully laid out and carefully tended...

...with the central arbour forming an exquisite focal point!

This was huge, but I'd love a smaller version in my own garden!
Isn't it gorgeous?
Have you spotted the horses in the paddock ahead? I'll show you where they are stabled in a little while.
I just want to sit quietly on this rustic bench to imbibe the loveliness and sense of calm pervading the potager garden.
As with all gardens in and around Franschhoek, this one is surrounded by lush  vineyards and superb mountain vistas. 
Artichokes are such sculptural flowers! Since they require so much space, I've not tried to grow them myself. 
As promised, here is the stabling for the very lucky and pampered horses that call La Brie, home!

They each have their own hanging flower basket! 
Much of the main garden around the Manor House consisted of perfectly manicured lawns, surrounded by formal plantings in beds demarcated by neatly clipped hedges.
A number of lovely, ornate water features added their silent reflections to enhance the overall beauty and pervasive calm of La Brie. This one is at the side entrance to the Manor House.
That attractive building was the garaging for cars.
This sculptural depiction obviously holds significance for the owners. Perhaps twin daughters who love to dance? Or, perhaps Mother and Daughter?
Formal garden on this side of the white washed boundary wall. Sprawling vines beyond.
A closer look at the dancing girls framed by the fence behind.

A wide-angled shot of the Manor House side entrance.
...and here we view it from the front. Regular readers of Driftwood Ramblings will by now easily be able to identify this architectural style as Cape Dutch.
Look at the striking contrast of the bright, white-washed walls, snow white Iceberg roses and the rich green of the lawn and trees, set against the blue-grey backdrop of the imposing mountain. 
I kept thinking of how our dogs would have loved to run about and play on these expansive, level lawns. Just as we were ready to leave, the lady of the manor exited the house at the rear with three Great Danes and two smaller dogs. She called out to us that they were "going stir-crazy" with having been locked up in the house all day (obviously, due to the open garden day). Those dogs literally shot out of the house and were so excited. They, with their owner, disappeared into the vineyards in the blink of an eye, to enjoy their carefree romp.  
The front door of Cape Dutch homes is traditionally a stable door. The upper half of this door was open and beyond it was a magnificent floral arrangement highlighted by a huge, ornate French chandelier. I saw others marching up boldly to take a photograph of the interior from the open doorway, but I did not feel comfortable doing this. There is a fine line between being an appreciative visitor and overstepping the boundary to become annoyingly intrusive.    
The statuesque heads of Foxgloves lend themselves to these sizeable gardens.
I have a permanent love-affair with blue flowers. Aren't these absolutely  glorious? 
This is the back of the house, but it was as beautiful, if not more so, than everywhere else. There were a couple of seating areas, each one quite charming!
These beautiful aged walls embellished with ancient mosses and lichens divided the back garden into various sections. The swimming pool was beyond this one, on a raised terrace. 
Roses perfumed the air... 

Just tossed this one in to make sure you're paying attention! 

Swoon...there's that startling blue again!
And look at the detail within the bell of each creamy, white Foxglove flower. 
Gnarled old trees and solid old walls will outlive us all. They hold our secrets in perpetuity.
A naive sculptural form, perhaps representing an angel? Or a lone figure standing in silent awe, contemplating the marvellous sights that make up La Brie.
What a wonderful spot for enjoying those long, summer evenings outdoors! Or al fresco luncheons that go on forever...
Or, we could move out here, under the Willow trees to catch the cooling breezes and enjoy the mountain vistas, while some amongst us might wish to lie on the cool, green lawn and daydream.
Aah! Here is the third stone sculpture in this unique style that we saw in three of the gardens we visited! I still haven't found out who the artist is!
These flowers were in a tree we have yet to identify.

Just a pretty view over a section of the vineyards...
And a section of vine left after the last pruning!

That brings us to the end of this visit. I do hope that those of you who managed to stay with me to the end, enjoyed it. 


  1. so much beauty and so much to comment on! love the farm animals, the white roses, the waterlilies, the metal arbor. gorgeous!

  2. I was a little tired so much walking. However, it was. Animals oglądłam happy, especially goats. Water lilies in this mountain landscape beautifully presented. A flower gardens and flowers, that was a delight for sensitization. Thank you for the opportunity poogladania and greet.

  3. Desiree what a beautiful garden I am also in love with blue flowers but strangely I don't have any in my garden.

  4. I assure you that I remained captivated from start to finish, dear Desiree. The La Brie farm garden is an absolute joy to behold, a sprawling nature lover's paradise ringed by majestic, jagged mountain peaks. The pictures of ornate beauty that you collected on the premises and displayed in this post are suitable for framing. They're that good. Wait till Odie lays eyes on those goats. We both know how much he loves them. What? No rats for Shady? (LOL) That's quite alright, TDD, because I also happen to love pigs. Judging from the stern look on Porky's face we all need to behave ourselves whilst poking around his property. I wish I could have seen those Great Danes and their smaller companions romping and playing in the vineyard. That arbour truly is the centerpiece of the complex. I wish I had a smaller version for my own garden. The graceful dancing girls statue is a focal point as is the crude but magnificent stone sculpture similar to the ones we've seen elsewhere. The Cape Dutch architecture serves as a neutral canvas upon which lush greens and matching and contrasting floral accents are placed tying every element together into a cohesive design. Not a spec of litter or debris is to be seen anywhere on these well kept grounds.

    As I made my way through La Brie via your pictures and poetic captions, a sense of peace swept over me and for a time I was able to forgot my cares and worries. That's blogging at its finest and I thank you for everything you put into it, Desiree. Have a safe and happy weekend, dear friend!

  5. What a beautiful garden tour! Thanks for taking us with you. Flowers and critters and long, lovely vistas! And chickens too! I thoroughly enjoyed this post.

  6. Your posts are always so it very much....thanks !!♥.. ♥... ♥....

  7. Love the dancing girls! Not sure why they bother with dresses though! I also can identify with the fruits ; they grow well in New Zealand too in my daughter's garden.

  8. I know I've said this before, but every stop on this wonderful blog is like a mini-vacation! I love the great photos, the animals in this one were particularly cool shots. Thanks!

  9. I think this is my favorite of all the places you have shown me. I loved everything about this one! Thank you.
    BTW no worries. I'm not ratting you out to Phil for laughing at him. He's then expect a public apology for making him look like a girly man. giggles.

  10. I just love tagging along with you on your adventures into beauty! Everything--from the goats, donkeys, and toad to the statues, lilypads, and assorted flowers. You have a way of taking pictures so that we feel like we are standing right there with you. Thanks so much!!! :)

  11. Hello Dearest Desiree,
    Oh, how wonderful "The La Brie farm garden" is☆☆☆
    OH!!! Sure feel beyoud WORD can describe♬♬♬ Reading your friend's comment before me, I don't know how I can say.
    Made my heart warm with lovely animals and astonished with the beauty of the scene. And as for the caption, I LOVE "Here's looking at you," the most with cute eyes. The donkey sure gave me a smile.
    Oh, I've never seen and eaten Artichoke, this is what it is, haha. Thanks SO much for the marvelous time again, my friend.

    Time sure flies!!! Take Care of yourself as it is a busy season.
    I am not able to imagine hot December, p;) Miyako*

  12. What a feast for the eyes, Desiree. You have taken us on such a journey. It's almost as if I could step into any one of these photos and be there, too. Thank you.

  13. Dear Desiree, I am very late getting to this latest blog post of yours. I read it with great interest and was all set to write my comment when, to my utter astonishment and dismay, I noticed the long, grandiloquent dissertation submitted earlier by this TDT fellow. I'm a bit perturbed because this new kid on the block, this poser, this pretender, this new best friend wannabe stole my thunder! He wrote everything that I planned to write! I got nothing! I demand to know where he came from. Let me guess. He followed you home from Diane's. No, I've got it. You met him at Carol's book bash. That's it, isn't it? I knew it!!! Now here he is trying to impress you with his flowery language and worm his way into your heart. Please don't let this impostor steal your bloggy affection away from me! Although I don't welcome it I'm not afraid of a little competition. However I sincerely hope that you still consider me the better writer - slash - blog friend. Heaven knows I'm a better speller! Tell him it's spelled "speck" not "spec." That's a rookie mistake you'll never catch me making. Anyway, I just had to vent because I don't like some Johnny-come-lately trying to turn your head and wow you with words. That's my job!

    I hope you got a good night's sleep and enjoy a fabulous weekend in your lovely part of the world, dear Desiree. Please give each of your dogs a hug for me!

  14. Wow I really enjoyed looking atr these phots they have made me feel really good inside and think La Brie is gorgeous

  15. These gardens that you have shown us are all so wonderful. SA gardeners rule! It was a great tour and I enjoyed all the photos. The animals, gardens and close up flowers are all great shots. I'm with you on blue flowers.

  16. Dear Desiree,
    Absolutely stunning photographs - smiling big time while browsing through them. That mansion is absolutely beautiful, loved the sculpture, and the cute animals. I especially loved the cute goat.
    Have a lovely day my friend! Hugs x

  17. Desiree, this is yet another fantastic virtual tour, thanks so much for sharing your glorious photos.

  18. OMG Des you hit Olympic Gold with this one girl. Of course I loved the goats and so appreciate you thinking of me as they posed so beautifully. I scrolled down showing these heavenly photos to Linda thinking about how "perfect" everything seems to be kept in all the pictures. No imperfections, just glorious beauty and the way you can capture the loveliness in a piece of vine on a wire continues to amaze me. You are an artist and I simply love your work. In fact a while back I purchased a thumb drive that I carry in my pocket that I save your blogs so they will always be safe in case Blogger messes us one day. As I was looking at todays pictures I had thoughts of how could heaven look any better? Thank you so much for allowing us to see the beauty all around you.

  19. Stunning! We do live in a beautiful country!
    Your photography is WOW! Just loved every part of that tour you took us on...
    Thanks so much for visiting me too.

  20. Such a beautiful place - its a corner of paradise! and such magnificent photographs!!

  21. I'm beginning to love the Cape Dutch architecture. This was a beautiful post - the animals, the buildings - I'd love to sit on that rustic bench to take in the potager and the roses!

  22. Excuse me - TDT - WHO HE??!! I agree with ShaDY, WE DON't want any Jonny Come Latelies coming over here and turning your head!! Let's see how long he lasts my dear friend. Anyway, I did stay to the end, and here I am AT the end!! You have blown me away with Le Potager garden - scrumptious, and I thought of Odie as soon as I saw those goats!! The animals were fabulous, but that garden was to die for. I loved it. Your photos of the roses certainly did the whole thing justice. ThaT DINing seating area looked lovely. I could juse see myself sitting there with a bottle of Rose` or two! I really do think that this is one of my most favourite gardens out of all the ones you have so generously guided us around, so thank you very much. By the way, have you seen that our very dear friend (take that TDT!) has issued you and I with a challenge in his comments section????? Big hugs to my dear friend from South Africa.

  23. Well! I don't have to sit here and be insulted. I can go elsewhere and be insulted. I've taken quite a pummeling from Shady and Thisisme but as it turns out I got the last laugh. I'll have you know that TDD and I eloped to Vegas last night and were married in a chapel/pawn shop by none other than Elvis Presley himself! (He has since left the building.) That's right, I've found bliss, so eat your hearts out Shady, Thisisme and Desiree! Now why don't the three of you leave me and my new bride alone and go back to business running that smug little mutual admiration society of yours?

  24. What a beautiful place. You certainly have a knack for showing us the beauty of you country.
    Hope you have a lovely holiday season Desiree!

  25. No matter how long your posts are I always stay until the end - you have a way to draw me in and keep my attention! I love the white walls - such a stunning backdrop, but then that lone mythical statue among the greenery captures my attention, oh and I am such a sucker for willow trees.... Yet another lovely garden you showcased for us. thank you!

  26. Like Africanaussie...I also am mesmerized by your garden tours ..and all of your posts actually, and stay to the very end. I don't want to miss a single thing. The arbor..yes..I can see exactly why you would want one in your own garden. It's just lovely.
    How on earth do they keep these gardens up. Surely they have some sort of help. Gorgeous, Desiree!! Just gorgeous. We all appreciate the effort you time you put into giving us this gift of something we would never otherwise experience!
    Thank you SO much..and also for being the dear friend you have become!

  27. A beautiful garden again. I think kids would love exploring here because of the animals. I do have to add that I don't really like the formal garden style of the middle photos. Just too much for me.

  28. Dear Desiree,
    I so enjoy wandering through these gardens with you. You provide glorious photographs of the surroundings and of the animals and then you give us a text with lines like this: "Gnarled old trees and solid old walls will outlive us all. They hold our secrets in perpetuity."

    That evocation line really stopped me in my tracks and got me thinking. Thank you for nudging the brain cells into activity. I'd never thought before about nature holding "our secrets in perpetuity." But now I can think of all the secrets the creek and I shared when we were growing up. The creek and I and Arthur, my imaginary friend.

    As a final note: Would you please in a posting tell us how many gardeners make their livelihood from gardens like this??? They are so beautiful and well tended.


  29. Desiree - it is your little friend here again. I rather think I should write this 'anonymously' for fear of retribution from TDT! Eeeek!! I've obviously got something wrong here, because I thought TDD was That Darned Desiree! But he obviously hasn't eloped with you. I think you're right - I blame everything on our friend Carol. I think that is why she is keeping such a low profile at the moment!! I shall now head over to see Shady's latest comment x

  30. Normally I am annoyed that I am last to visit your blog but I have enjoyed the comments as much as the wonderful photographs. it true? Did you find a little romance at my last party? Shall I reserve a quiet corner for you at the next one? I was so busy trying to stop fishducky and Craziness Abounds form trashing the place and rescuing Hubby from the shed where he got locked in that I missed all this.
    On a more serious note I also love reading how everyone of us enjoys your posts. We all seem to share the same thoughts and always appreciate the beauty of your wonderful country.
    See you next weekend you leetle minx!

  31. Hi Desiree, I have been overwhelmingly busy, but am glad that I did not miss this the latest instalment in your garden tour series. I think that I may just have to move to South Africa. The garden tours here are never this impressive! I love the Potager in this garden particularly.

  32. Hi Desiree. I am so pleased to find this post of yours on La Brie! I propmtly ran out of battery power shortly after completing the Lake :(( So very happy to see your pics and the animals. They were cute and the horses were also magnificent! That red tree is my favourite tree and is Schotia Brachypetalum ( Huil Boerboom) I was very happy to see it adorned with its red blooms full of nectar! I have a tiny one growing and can't wait for the forst crop of flowers! Your post was de lovely and I wish I can do open gardens all over again and not wait for next year!


  33. what can i say!!?? as always...the gardens you take us tyhrough...are breath taking, to put it mildly!

    the flowers...the colors...GORGEOUS!! and the metal donkey!! i want one!! favorite...MORE than anything else...(well, almost...) are the AniMaLs!! that close up of the donkey's face is hysterical!! i LOVE that!! donkeys are just soooo cute! and the billy goat! i used to have one...and he was the STINKIEST animal ever! but they have such character...i sure hope he is FAAAAR far away from the gardens! and has no chance of getting there because i'm sure he would just love to munch on all that beauty!! OH, and the little froggie...and the water lilies!! NICE!!

    thanks desiree!! what a wonderful trip!!

  34. Desiree, you are a master of garden posts! This was stunning from beginning to end. I loved the pond shot in the middle of the roses, just to see if we were paying attention!
    The statues were gorgeous, and the shot with the gnarled tree and ancient wall really demonstrated the agelessness of this beautiful place.

    I was proud of you for not going right up to the open door way to take photos. I'm sure it's hard to resist, but you were a good visitor!

    Thank you so much for your warm and welcome words of compassion and cyber hugs. I look forward to your comments. You make me feel like you truly care, and I appreciate your thoughts.

  35. I feel smarter after reading your posts. I feel like I've traveled the world! First off, I can't get over the fact that this farm was started in the 1600s. Over here in the States, that is ancient! Second, I loved, loved the bushy eyebrows on that goat. Third, the lily pads! I just got lost in those pictures. Fourth, and unrelated, thanks from the bottom of my heart for all of your encouraging words on my blog. Your comments make my day!

  36. I love travelling South Africa with you Desiree. It seems to be a land of beautiful gardens. Thanks fkor sharing.

  37. Nothing cheesy about La Brie. Oh my goodness, I feel like I just fell into a Monet painting and can't get out. Loved the tour and thank you so much for sharing....

  38. So very beautiful! I am a painter so I always look at everything (photos) with an artist's eye. They inspire me. Thx for sharing. Sandra

  39. The farm animal photos alone were extraordinary and by the look of the stables, the animals are very well cared for. The home with it's garden features and flowers couldn't be more beautiful.

  40. Another beautiful garden! A friend of mine came over on purpose to see what blogs were all about (she doesn't have high speed internet) and your blog was the first I showed her (she's a gardener.) Needless to say, she was most impressed with all the world out there.

  41. Once again, such splendour!
    Are there no ordinary gardens in SA?
    I expect the occupants of such palatial grounds need to have their purses well filled and an army of gardeners.


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