Each year Garden World in Gauteng, to the west of Johannesburg, has its Spring Festival. This year there are more than 20 designer gardens on display until 4 September 2016. Many of these designer gardens are different from your usual show garden as some of them are revamps of the previous year’s garden and some are makeovers of a much older garden. This is good because it makes the designer see the show garden more like designing for a residential client where there are always things to keep as well as places for new ideas.
Designers who have been awarded a Platinum Award are invited to revamp their garden in the following year. For others doing makeovers of old gardens, it can be like doing an archeological dig – you find all sorts of things. The existing feature might be an old water feature and waterfall, as in mine, which no one has the heart to break down, or it could be huge rocks which were brought in by crane initially and cannot be removed now because of all the walls built around newer gardens.
But the best thing about building a garden at the Spring Festival is the bonding, enthusiasm and simply helping each other that does not occur anywhere else but at Garden World. There is a bond between the landscapers which is amazing – they all help each other.
One of the star attractions of the Garden World Spring Festival is also a rebuild of the SANBI-Kirstenbosch South African garden display that was at the Chelsea Flower Show earlier in the year. This year’s display, designed by David Davidson and Ray Hudson, represented the flora of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve in Harold Porter National Botanical Garden at Betty’s Bay, just east of Cape Town and features many iconic South African plants from the fynbos like Protea, Eric, Disa and Restio.
The high quality photographic backdrop really sets the scene for where these plants grow:
My favourite Designer Gardens at Garden World this year are:
‘Harmonised Tranquility‘, designed by Priscilla Banda and built by Green Dimensions for TV show ‘Top Billing’.
Harmonised Tranquility takes the living area outside under a peaceful blue pergola with that same colour echoed in decorative garden spheres. The planting uses foliage texture and colour with just a few splashes of harmonising flower colour, and the water feature adds a soothing note. Key plants include Nandina ‘Pygmaea’, arum lily, black mondo, Phormium,Strelitzia plus Penstemon, Scabiosa ‘Pink Mist’ and Cyrtanthus mackenii.
‘Easy Living‘, designed by Pieter Goussard and installed by Pieter and the Garden World Team for AgriSETA
Soft creamy pastel paving and stackstone walls combined with white flowers and grey-leafed plants create a refreshing outdoor room. I think Pieter is a really talented designer and this garden felt very peaceful and tranquil to me. Featured plants include grey-greenWestringia (picked up in the coloured wall), Juniperus ‘Skyrocket’, white Argyranthemumdaisies, Papyrus in the water feature and raised mosaic planters filled with Liriope
‘Sustainable Beauty‘, designed by John Sauer of Ngena Succulents
And now for something much more colourful. John likes to have some fun with these really adaptable plants – I love the flying geese and the cows on the wall! Featured plants include barrel cactus, Aeonium ‘Starburst’, Ebracteola wilmaniae and Echeveria ‘Mauna Loa’.
‘Cycad Odyssey‘, designed by Lezani Botha (drafted by Bernadine Drath)
Another clever use of photograph (this one from Wall X Scape) to create a great backdrop for the garden. Lezani is the CycadLady and in this garden she shows their stiff and beautiful form off to best advantage, supported by pale rocks and bleached grasses. Featured cycads are rich green Encephalartos ferox and grey-green Encephalartos lehmannii with small patches of colour from Aloe greatheadii var davyana, Ornithogalum juncifolia and Polygala virgata.
‘Visual Delight‘, designed by Susan Harkema of Dandy Scapes
This is a pretty and romantic garden that works the angle really well. Some plants are chosen to suit a partly shaded position, like the tree ferns and Asparagus densiflorus but there is still plenty of flowers like pansies, primulas, fuchsia, Scabiosa ‘Pink Mist’ and dietes.
‘Young at Heart‘, designed by Ashley Hempel and installed by Revoluta Landscapes
Ashley is a great young designer and he really pays attention to the fine details in a garden. There are warm earthy tones in the brickwork and gravel, and what an excellent mix of plants with those slightly twisted tree forms, starbursts of pale yellow cordyline and a tapestry of smaller flowers like penstemon, verbena, felicia and statice. And those colours are in the wall art too. The arched steel structures make both a sense of arrival and just enough enclosure for the conversation pit and the wall art lifts it all with some youthful exuberance.
There are so many wonderful gardens at Garden World this year, so come along before 4 September 2016 and see them for yourself!
Here is a gallery of the many other great gardens in 2016: