A new garden book, The Gardener’s Garden, by Phaidon showcasing gardens from all over the world has just been launched. Five South Africans were selected for the list of the 250 most remarkable gardens globally. Babylonstoren, Kirstenbosch, Vergelegen, Bridle Road Residence and the quirky Rock Garden of Magaliesberg made the cut.
Remarkable how gardening globally is still led by the classic set-pieces of the UK and France. (The designer of the Babylonstoren garden, Patrice Taravella, gets a warm review for his Prieuré d’Orsan - well worth a visit when next you’re in France.) Surprisingly Germany, an economy much larger than those 2, hardly feature outside of public parks.
Southeast Asia is also underweight, while Japan is resplendent in the glory of Zen.
But the US is storming up the rankings: money, ego and inventiveness combine to produce fresh, modern concepts.
Not so the rest of Africa. Apart from the 5 South Africans, only Morocco (4) and Egypt (1) get a look-in: no other country features any garden of note. Let’s hope Kenya and Nigeria (whose GDP recently surpassed ours) now make a go of it!
The Gardener’s Garden is published by Phaidon, 472 pages, weighs a ton. Some beautiful pictures and great ideas.
During the festive days the garden at Babylonstoren was prettier than ever. Our visitors added their own exquisite style with dresses ranging from very skimpy to flowing, from bare and sheer and slim to flared and romantic.
A chamomile lawn remains a delight to us all, especially at this time of the year when it’s in flower. Well worth attempting at home provided you have full sun and good quality soil.
We created a perennial lawn of Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile/ Anthemis nobile) that has medicinal properties similar to the annual, as well as the somewhat better known German chamomile (Matricaria reticulata). The former’s flowers are slightly more astringent compared to German chamomile. About five blossoms to a cup will soothe you as a sedative, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory aid.
Here’s how we did it: Prepared our soil as for an ordinary lawn, adding compost and chicken manure, as well as a dash of bone meal with a layer of lawn dressing on top to allow levelling. The plants were propagated as plugs by Bridget Kitley. These were planted as tightly as possible ( about 15cm) to close out weeding until they are properly knitted into a lawn.
House-tame husbands will be happy to hear that a chamomile lawn is low maintenance, only needing one mowing after the flowers have bloomed. Weeding is required a few times a year, and watering would be the same as for ordinary grass.
A relaxing barefoot walk on the chamomile lawn is part our daily garden tours. For bookings and enquiries please phone (021) 863 3852 or email email@example.com.
Our farm shop stocks up with wonders
Brimful with the delicious and the delicate. Come see new Delft cloths and napkins. Margie Malan’s fine Babylonstoren porcelain range. Garden soaps and candles, plus crafts from the farming community. Even a few cases of special wine, like the new Nebukadnesar.