Reader gar­den A for­mal af­fair

The mag­nif­i­cent gar­dens at Eil­don have been de­signed with bal­ance and sym­me­try in mind.

Home (South Africa) - - NEWS -

Alex grew up on the farm, while Bar­rie made it her home 40 years ago.“When I ar­rived in the Bed­ford dis­trict, I was keen to put down roots and in­spired to cre­ate a gar­den by the in­fec­tious gar­den­ing spirit of the lo­cal com­mu­nity. And it made sense to cre­ate a beau­ti­ful space to en­joy af­ter a hard day’s work on the farm,” she says.

But it was only af­ter she saw old pho­tos of the house and gar­den that the lat­ter came into its own about 20 years ago. Those pho­to­graphs – which still hang in the farm­stead’s hall­way – re­veal a for­mal gar­den with straight lines and a walk­way down the cen­tre.

“When I saw the pho­tos, I knew ex­actly what I wanted to do. We straight­ened all the lines of the pre­vi­ous de­sign and gave the gar­den more struc­ture in keep­ing with the ge­om­e­try of the house. Alex sup­ported this change en­thu­si­as­ti­cally; it just felt right.

“I was ex­cited by the po­ten­tial of a for­mal de­sign. As I went along, new gar­den rooms were es­tab­lished and the rest of the gar­den de­vel­oped into what it is to­day.”

A sim­ple ap­proach

Bar­rie didn’t use a land­scaper to help re­design the gar­den but rather drew her in­spi­ra­tion from all the gar­den­ing en­thu­si­asts who visit the an­nual Bed­ford Gar­den Fes­ti­val as well as from places she has vis­ited on her trav­els.

“My gar­den de­sign process is ac­tu­ally quite sim­ple. I start with the broader con­cepts and then plan the de­tails. Ini­tially, I laid out gar­den hoses to cre­ate the out­lines of the flowerbeds so I could get a feel for what they would look like and to de­cide on the fo­cal points. When I was happy with the lines and shapes, they were marked out with white­wash and then the plan was drawn to scale. With the final de­sign in hand, masses of our own com­post and bone meal was worked into the beds be­fore any­thing was planted.”

Bar­rie spends a lot of time work­ing in her gar­den and has been ably as­sisted by her right-hand man, Si­mon Ado­nis, through­out the years.

“I love the cre­ative side of gar­den­ing such as the plan­ning and im­ple­men­ta­tion of new ideas and see­ing how it all takes shape. Our cli­mate is ex­tremely harsh. In our very cold win­ters, the tem­per­a­ture of­ten drops be­low zero and we need to wrap the less hardy plants such as gar­den he­liotrope and Du­ran­tas in frost cov­ers. But then the cel­e­bra­tion of spring is height­ened when the gar­den bursts into life and glo­ri­ous colour. That’s when one re­ally ex­pe­ri­ences the in­cred­i­ble re­wards of gar­den­ing!” >>

Alex and Bar­rie are the fifth gen­er­a­tion of the Pringle fam­ily to live at Eil­don out­side Bed­ford in the Eastern Cape.

Strong lines and gar­den rooms

The gar­den has two cen­tral axes that run through it in the form of long walk­ways. The main axis is a grass path­way that runs from the front door to the for­mal rose gar­den at the bot­tom of the gar­den. A path­way made with flat stones col­lected on the farm forms the trans­verse axis. This runs from the main gar­den gate to a wooden gar­den gate that beck­ons you to walk out of the gar­den into the veld. The two axes in­ter­sect at right an­gles that em­pha­sise the for­mal de­sign.

The var­i­ous gar­den rooms were de­vel­oped from these two axes. Bar­rie has six gar­den rooms, each with a for­mal en­trance and a cen­tral fo­cal point. All the gar­den rooms are framed by ei­ther a wall, hedge or shrub­bery.

The first gar­den room Bar­rie tack­led was the area in front of the house – a lawn framed by flowerbeds. Then she de­vel­oped the for­mal rose gar­den fol­lowed by a park­like area with lawn and trees and then the ‘Orangerie’. The lat­ter gar­den room con­sists of 20 orange trees sym­met­ri­cally planted within squares of mondo grass and framed by a dry packed stone wall. >>

By Marié Ester­huyse • Pho­to­graphs Fran­cois Ober­hol­ster

Who lives here? Alex and Bar­rie Pringle WHERE Bed­ford, Eastern Cape SIZE OF GAR­DEN 2ha

Two pil­lars, orig­i­nally gate posts, form a nat­u­ral en­trance to the for­mal rose gar­den, with two po­plar trees fram­ing the view be­yond. Bar­rie’s gar­den is a sight to be­hold in spring when the roses bloom in abun­dance.

This path forms the trans­verse axis run­ning from the main gar­den gate through the ‘Orangerie’ to the wooden gate and the veld be­yond.

Farm gar­dens usu­ally have beau­ti­ful views of the sur­round­ing area. The grass walk­way (be­low and op­po­site) lead­ing to the for­mal rose gar­den is framed by laven­der and white ‘Ice­berg’ roses.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.