House Vermaak – SALI Gold Award winning Garden 2018
This Gold SALI Award winning 2-acre ‘old Kloof’ garden boasts the original structure of very large old specimen trees and flowing beds that followed the existing slope.
The redesign of this garden and walkways entices you through the space and is hugely relaxing.
Julia Vermaak’s brief to us was that the garden had to have an informal and natural approach, with curved beds with special features that included stop-off points, water features, a gazebo, garden art and sculptures. The planting combination had to be unconventional, with a sense of incredible adventure and journey moving from one room to the next.
The basic plant palette has been repeated in large sweeps of groundcovers throughout the site to create a basis for a diverse range of flowering shrubs, fillers and bulbs.
The front entrance starts with an interesting invitation to meander through the different rooms that link the garden, culminating in a very fun and quirky kitchen garden. In fact, the garden certainly reflects the very infectious and eccentric personality of my client, giving the garden a stamp of originality and an ‘out-of-the-box’ feel.
Due to a lack of light in certain areas of the garden, we embarked on uplifting the trees and pollarding the canopies. This has had a positive effect on the understory growth in all of the beds. Our approach is ‘zero visible soil’ in bed spaces and we certainly have achieved this.
We have focused on 100% groundcover coverage to prevent weed invasion. The groundcovers are divided every three years.
Emphasis has been placed on creating a low-maintenance and self-sustaining garden. However, there are many flowering shrubs that require monthly feeding to produce high-quality blooms. We apply monthly applications of slow-release 5:1:5 in the summer months, which produce an abundance of blooms.
The main focus here is that the original design and philosophy of the garden is maintained and fulfilled with a professional maintenance programme.
We have been extensively involved in the direction of this garden over the past six years. My client’s staff have also attended our Garden Workers Training Course and received on-site training throughout the installation process. This process has empowered the gardeners, giving them the knowledge to oversee all the nurturing and maintenance of the garden. The Vermaaks continue to nurture their investment and are very committed to the overall vision of the garden. They are also committed to empowering other gardeners to pass on their horticultural knowledge.
From a landscape design point of view, we believe that this garden will continue to develop over time.
There are many reverse views and wonderful vistas that open this garden up, creating incredible perspective and depth.
This garden process has been an incredible adventure with the Vermaaks with many interesting anecdotes along the way. We continue to have a wonderful, ongoing relationship with our friends.
We continue to visit the garden monthly on a consultation basis to bring direction to the maintenance programme.
This garden has been a huge success and our relationship with the Vermaaks has been a great pleasure and continues to grow. It has also brought great joy to our client and is a place of solace for Julia.
Well done to the JPJ team, as well as the Vermaaks’ gardeners and, most importantly, the Vermaaks – teamwork, as well as a huge amount of hard work and determination, vision and passion, have resulted in the garden receiving a prestigious Gold SALI Award for Landscape Construction with In-House design.