The Best of South Coast Splendour

The indigenous gardens of Renishaw Hills have certainly caught many eyes, with both residents and visitors remarking on how spectacular they look all year round. Last year the KZN Branch of the Botanical Society of South Africa selected the mature lifestyle village to host their Winter Gardens Open Day, and we at The Gardener took the opportunity to go and see for ourselves. 

Located in Scottburgh, KwaZulu-Natal, Renishaw Hills is a true coastal gem. It is situated within the Mpambanyoni Conservation Development, and the developer’s commitment to nature is immediately evident as you drive up the impressive entrance road, across a large wetland currently under restoration. The flourishing setting is indeed the result of the commitment, foresight and work of the developers. It began some five years ago, with the establishment of Izinyoni Indigenous Nursery to provide plant material for the estate.

The gardens bordering the 3km-long entrance road, as well as those within the Renishaw Hills boundary, have shown incredible growth in such a short time. The establishment of the gardens has been under the watchful guidance of Dr Elsa Pooley along with the passion of the developer’s team of experts, and what were once sugar cane fields have blossomed into an indigenous haven. Thanks to a careful selection of flora, the gardens in the village need very little upkeep. A great test has been lockdown, where residents continually remark on how beautiful everything looks despite the virtual lack of any maintenance.

“The indigenous gardens at Renishaw Hills are colourful and interesting throughout the year, changing with the seasons.” – Dr Elsa Pooley

When asked about the initial vision for Renishaw’s glorious gardens, Elsa added the following: “The designs were planned to provide natural planting, with structure in places. This was done using a varied plant palette to give vibrant colour, privacy where necessary, and a habitat for garden wildlife. Not only do these attract an array of birds and insects, but they also provide wide-open spaces for interesting and scenic walks around the village.”

It wasn’t always smooth sailing, though. Challenges included the securing of steep slopes and dealing with the harshness of clay soils. These battles were won through the use of plants like agapanthus, grey aloe (Aloe chabaudii), Van Balen’s aloe (Aloe vanbalenii), and species of Kniphofia and Dietes that stabilise the soil. Elsa and her team then turned to local plants such as plumbago (Plumbago auriculata), Cape honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis) and a range of others to introduce colour and provide screening for homes.

Elsa’s indigenous top five:

  • Aloes
  • Tonga pelargonium(Pelargonium tongaense)
  • Two forms of spekboom (Portulacaria afra), one as a shrub and another as a groundcover
  • Shell bush(Ocimum labiatus) – it’s tough, water-wise and gives a burst of pink almost throughout the year.
  • River indigo (Indigofera jucunda)– it’s quick-growing and copes with the demands of clay soils and dry winds.

Living the holiday has never looked more beautiful

Phil Barker of Renishaw Property Developments commented: “With more days of sunshine and every need taken care of, those golden years could feel like a vacation that never ends. Thanks to a variety of home types on offer and the option to choose your finishes, you could soon be taking a stroll amongst the aloes at Renishaw Hills.”

 To book your private tour of the village, complete with health and safety protocols, please email Renishaw Hills.  

The Gardener