Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Last Three Gardens [Franschhoek 2011 Open Gardens weekend]

Jackie Loubser's 5 year old garden as seen from the back of the house where a most impressive potager garden has been established.
With 2011 almost at an end and the holiday season right upon us, I really do want to finish showing you the last three gardens we visited during our Franschhoek Open Gardens weekend tour. I am combining them into a single post, since they were all fairly compact in size and all young gardens. Each is evidently much loved by its owner and well thought out and each had its own unique look and feel.

The first garden was really lovely and blew us away with how full the beds were (both in the flower garden at the front of the house and in the extensive vegetable pottager at the back. 

The owners are passionate about their garden and have the most impressive composting system I've ever seen. The husband is an engineer. Generally, engineers are known for their compulsion to have everything precise, well designed to work efficiently and with minimal upkeep or interference. Those steel bins were humming!  

Jackie spoke to us with so much enthusiasm and it was abundantly obvious that she takes her gardening very seriously. Unlike me, she keeps a detailed diary of seasonal plantings and plans her garden intimately. And no, she's not an older gardener who has heaps of time at her disposal. She is a young woman who is determined to learn as much as she can so that she will enjoy many more successes than failures. 
Jackie Loubser is very much "into" companion planting and has made a thorough study of what works best with what. 
This potager garden was the picture of health!
The ducks are an important facet of the health of this garden, too. Their job is to keep slugs and snails down to manageable numbers and their poop is used as fertilizer. 

All of the water features were self built as well and, you guessed it, constructed of steel, thus ensuring that no unwelcome algae would dare deface the clear water. In contrast, the wife, Jackie Loubser, was all about growing things as naturally and organically as possible. Soil health and enhancement using her own homemade compost is her passion. 
I really loved Jackie's garden and her whole ethos towards growing things in a healthy, sustainable way. Jackie was most inspiring and such a warm, animated hostess. It was a treat to have met her!  
Jackie loves attracting wildlife to her garden. She has a whole family of chameleons in residence at present.
The second garden, Mayflower, was very formal, making excellent use of the limited space available and expertly drawing in the view of the surrounding mountains in a most pleasing way.
It rained fairly heavily when we visited this garden...
 Everything was precise and strictly controlled to establish order and harmony.  It was very interesting to see and without doubt, a truly lovely garden. 

While I did admire the very formal layout of Mayflower, this type of garden is not one I would want to emulate. I prefer a far more haphazard approach in my own garden. 
Nothing was out of place in this 3 year old garden!

The narrow back garden...all available space was put to good use in a most pleasing way.

And an even narrower side garden was attractively designed and perfectly maintained.

The third and final garden, Rehoboth, was my least favourite of all the gardens. Not because the owners had not put a lot of thought and planning into the design. It was clear they had and it certainly was pleasant visiting this garden, but I found it quite difficult to take pictures. It just didn't have enough that really held my interest and I have to admit to having had to find my pictures. In gardens such as Fay's and Henk's, although also small, the pictures leapt out at me from all directions. 
The water feature was very pretty and served as the focal point on the top terrace.

View from the top terrace down the length of this 4 year old garden, towards the street.
I liked this built-in stone bench!
This scene appealed to both my eye and that of my camera.

The back garden was neat and compact.
An interesting bench design added some drama to the terraced garden.
A very neat small potager garden filled with herbs and salad veggies.
A pretty pink floribunda creeping rose.
The bees were attracted to the birds' nectar feeder!
And that concludes the Franschhoek 2011 Open Gardens tour. I'd be interested to hear which ones were your favourites, now that you've seen them all.

I plan to do one more short post before I take a three week break from blogging. With the holiday season almost upon us, I intend to spend it making the most of my own garden. I will share some recent pictures of my garden in the very first post I do in the new year.


  1. very nice. i agree, the 2nd one is almost too pristine. i wouldn't be able to relax in it. :) the first one was really nice! :)

  2. Welcome to the next, wonderful gardens. From the illustrated today's most like the first full of beautiful roses, ducks and chameleons. The second is a very well maintained, but a very harmonious for me. Nice is a green wall of water. In the third I like the vegetable garden and a beautiful stone bench. Thank you for the opportunity to watch. I hope you come back to us soon :-). I greet the heat

  3. Oh my goodness! That photograph of the chameleon is jaw-dropping exotic!

    I loved the ducks swimming in the fountain pond. :) You live in such a beautiful area!

    I hope you have a marvelous holiday!

  4. There's nothing wrong with your photos Des! They are fantastic. I love the ducks and the chameleons and the bees, as well as the beautiful flowers! Those rainy photos are great too!

  5. I don't know if I could pick! Each garden has its own special beauty.

    This garden is meticulous. I love the chameleon!! The stone bench and the wooden one with the circles are both unique. The angel picking flowers is precious. Nope. I don't know which garden I would pick. :)

  6. Beautiful seems so inadequate. I can only imagine how breathtaking it was to see those sights in person. There was so much attention to detail with the gardens and the buildings but of course my favorites were the ones with live creatures in them. I love the closeups. Can't wait to see your beautiful garden. Have a great rest of the week and thank you for blessing us with so much beauty.

  7. The gardens were all beautiful, but I especially liked the ones attached to the first Dutch Colonial houses. Today's first house was my favorite of this three, and I'd have loved to see the composting system. It was a real treat to be taken on this tour with you - thank you for all the work involved in putting it all together. It would certainly be worth it to make sure that trip to your part of the world is taken when this open garden event is on.

  8. Desiree...while I loved the last two I think the garden that appealed to me the most was the one the gentleman allowed you in to take pictures. It was one that seemed to encompass his hobbies and nature in a relaxing and soothing way.

    We compost our food waste and leaf mold. We have lovely earth worms that contribute to the mixture as well! I will occasionally add a little chicken poop when it calls for it. Making compost tea for my plants is fun. One can almost hear them singing afterwards!

    Enjoy your holidays...I am looking forward to your garden posting!

  9. Desiree your pictures tell of a wonderful. Its wonderful to see other gardens in different areas of our country. Our area is still dry and brownish but this is an inspiration! Thanks

  10. I have really, really enjoyed your garden visits. The first garden today looked too beautiful to be real. All of them were so well maintained and not a blade of grass out of place. All the homes looked very well to do also. I couldn't pick a favourite too hard. Have a good break and looking forward to seeing your garden. I bet you have been motivated by what you have seen. My garden is crying out for attention after I was away so much this year but it is too darn hot to stay out their long. I sprayed weeds today and pulled up all the tired veggies.I think I need to wait until it is cooler before planting more.

  11. I realy want to rush out and either buy a ton of roses or a plane ticket to South Africa

  12. I wish I knew where people get the time to do all this to their gardens. They probably have whole teams of gardners working on it 24 hours a day

  13. Great blog.. the pictures are really very beautiful !

    garden water features

  14. The visual tour of the gardens has been a beautiful experience. I don't know that I have a favorite, although the first one in this posting would be right up there. Enjoy your break and your Christmas.

  15. Simply gorgeous, as always! Thank you for this lovely walk!

  16. Dearest Desiree,
    The Owner, Jackie Loubser and her husband must have the very knowledge required for everything precise (as you said) and meticulous to keep their garden♡♡♡
    Oh, your explanation about the duck was really educational to me, as well as the important other factors.
    I was really busy these days, just enlarged your picture and enjoyed relaxing worthy time of the beautiful garden for a while♬♬♬
    Thank you very much.
    Love and Lots of Hugs to you, from Japan, xoxo Orchid*

  17. Hi Desiree, I'm just stopping by for a respite into the amazing gardens of your world. Are the white flowers in the first garden Camelias? They are so pretty growing in big heaps like that. My pink camelia is in bloom right now but I think it could use some of that duck's fertilizer! While you are away from blogging, I hope you have a wonderful holiday. Merry Christmas with love from your friends Jenny, Richard, Elliot, Annie and Ozzie. xoxoxo

  18. I have so enjoyed this series of garden posts Desiree, you always share so many beautiful photos with us, that transport me all the way to your part of the world.

  19. Wow! Every time I visit your blog, I am just so amazed. Such beauty! I bet this is what Heaven looks like--I hope :)

  20. Dear Desiree, thanks for sharing the amazing photos of climbing roses, chameleons that could put our desert lizards to shame and privet hedges that look right out of a fantasy. Your blog should be required reading for all landscapers, architects and gardeners. Merry Christmas and I am so glad I met you this year! Hope next year takes you to even more lovely places!

  21. It is always such a joy to come here on your blog !!...owwww that angel.....love from me...xxx...

  22. My dear Desiree - here I am at last! I seem to have missed this post! I am a bad, bad girl!! Stunning photos as always. I loved the one of the chameleon, but I really really loved the one you caught of the water almost still, with the three flower heads floating in the water. Hopefully I'll be able to do something like that when I finally open my new camera again at Christmas!! I didn't like the last garden here as much as all the others, because it was much too formal for my own personal liking. I have really enjoyed this series that you have painstakingly created for us. Enjoy your bloggy break, and I really do wish you and all your family the happiest of Christmasses! Big hugs and look forward to seeing you again in the new year.

  23. Oh these photos are breathtaking..you certainly know how to handle your camera..
    I love the one of the chameleon...priceless.
    Thank you for sharing all these amazing gardens.
    Wishing you and your family an awesome festive season.
    Take care.

  24. First, thank you! I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to read your comment on my post. I know my home is rather old fashioned..but you always make me feel so good about it. It warms my heart and I thank you for it!
    Sometimes..there just are no words.

    Like you, I like the more unstructured garden. Free..not too "planned" looking. I don't have the freedom to make a garden like I want..but I am happy just having a nice yard. I loved what I saw of your yard. Mine is suffering right now from lack of attention. The winds really capped off the neglect it already had.
    What beautiful country...everything I have seen so far is amazing! Like here, I am sure there are nice area's and not so nice..but over all I love Africa. I will never, ever, forget the scene's from Out Of Africa...which is my favorite movie. I always cry when I watch it..which is probably too often! :)
    Much love..and Merry Christmas, Desiree!!

  25. We're heading out on holiday on Saturday so I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I have done forward posts for both my blogs so they will still come up on your feeds every day, I just won't be commenting as I'm not taking the laptop along.

  26. Hi Desiree, All three gardens were just lovely and completely unique. The use of white roses in the first two gardens struck me as both fresh and pleasing. I must remember that when I plan for next summer. I have one more post next week and then I too am going to take a break. I'll be back for your last post with seasonal wishes to you and your family.

  27. These gardens are just marvelous!!! Guess mine would be call very cottage and casual in comparison.

    God bless ya and have yourself a marvelous day from the hills and hollers of the Ozark Ponderosa.

    BTW: Giveaway, my place...ya'll come! I'll leave the door open, cider simmerin' and throw out a tray of homemade fudge! Heehehehee!!! :o)

  28. The house and garden is simply gorgeous! Thank you for sharing,

  29. Dear Desiree, please know that I haven't forgotten you and I hope you haven't forgotten me. I am swamped with family matters and very late getting to your blog and the blogs of other friends. I have missed/skipped several altogether. It's not like me to phone in my comments but it can't be helped. You labored long and hard to bring us another outstanding garden post and yet I simply don't have enough time to do it justice. I gazed at each photo and it brought me peace. I treasure your friendship and hope you have a safe and happy week ahead!

  30. Like you, I prefer the more haphazard style of gardening. I think it is all I can manage, really. Fabulous gardens though, and my favorite images are of the white roses mixed with bluebonnets, the little chameleon ( what a gorgeous little boy he is!) and of course, the ducks. Wishing you a blessed Christmas!

  31. Beautiful gardens. The first is my favorite. Love all the colors.
    Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season and look forward to seeing the photos of your garden soon.
    Have a wonderful holiday season~


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