Old trees, expansive lawns, bulging borders and lightly controlled wildness contrasting with formality, all encompassed in a series of garden rooms – this is the essence of Stellenberg Gardens.
When you walk into the yard and past the well to reach the main entrance of Stellenberg Gardens, you are already made aware of (or rather overcome by) a feeling of timelessness, old-fashioned grace and serenity, thanks to just being in the presence and enveloping shade of old and mature trees planted many, many years ago.
Every heritage home and every great garden is enshrouded in history, and this beautiful 18th-century Cape Dutch manor surrounded by a magnificent 5-acre garden in the heart of busy Kenilworth is no exception. The homestead, along with the surrounding land (which used to be much larger), has played many roles in its long history, which also reflects the history of the Cape of Good Hope. It has been a farm dwelling, manor house, country retreat, patrician residence, it is a provincial heritage site, and today is the family home of Andrew and Sandy Ovenstone.
It was Sandy’s vision to create a series of garden rooms interlinked by walkways or allées, as she was surrounded by historic walls, columns, dramatic gateposts and teak railing that enclosed the back courtyard. In the 1980s she began to realise her vision. Her plans were enhanced and broadened with the input of many landscape gardeners and designers who came visiting.
Designer David Hicks, for instance, had a hand in the design of the Vine Walk and Walled Garden – the latter built to celebrate the Ovenstones’ 25th wedding anniversary in 1989. The garden is ever evolving, and Cape Town-based landscape designer Francesca Watson became the creative force behind the Garden of Reflection, Stream Garden, Vegetable Garden and White Parterre Garden.
Stellenberg gardens have it! Whether you are just a gentle soul appreciating an outing to a gorgeous garden or an avid gardener looking for inspiration, Stellenberg Gardens has it all. During a visit you will see how to:
- Garden in the shade next to water;
- Create logical links from one area of a large garden to another;
- How to interpret and use symmetry and asymmetry;
- How to create a vegetable and herb garden not only for functionality, but also to please all the senses;
- Use the principle of less-is-more with dramatic mass and monochromatic plantings within a strong framework.
For more information and viewing times, visit Stellenberg’s website