A magnificent farm garden
Ria Moolman is building on the solid foundation laid by her mother-in-law in this stunning garden nestled among the mountains and dry riverbeds.
This is where Ria Moolman is continuing the good work her mother-in-law Annetjie Moolman began many years ago.
Annetjie established the garden and tended to it for 36 years before moving to town in 2009. Henry and Ria then moved to Belmont and since then the garden has been Ria’s responsibility.
“I’m very fond of my mother-in-law. She taught me everything I needed to know about living here, far away from everything and almost in the middle of nowhere. Her advice: find something that’ll keep you busy. That’s exactly what my garden has done – it keeps me on the go!” says Ria.
Although the garden was well established when she took over, Ria has put her own stamp on it. She retained the existing layout as far as possible, but the façade of the house and parts of the garden were very overgrown. Ria chopped the plants away to allow more light into the house and garden because she wanted to be able to sit on her front stoep and enjoy the view of her garden and the mountains and cliffs beyond.
She also enlarged the lawn, laid more pathways with river stones and discovered, through a process of trial and error, which plants do best in the local climate. She cultivates many of her own shrubs from cuttings and sells seedlings to make a bit of pocket money.
“My garden means the world to me. The best is when you start a project and it all goes according to plan; then you can stand back and admire your handiwork and know that all the hard work was worth it. Every year, the Bedford Garden Festival is a highlight; it gives me so much joy. The entire community benefits and people come from far and wide to visit our gardens. It’s wonderful to share your efforts with other enthusiasts – it motivates me to keep going!” >>
The farm Belmont in the Bedford district has been in the Moolman family since 1974.
Hanging baskets filled with petunias, bedding begonias and dianthus adorn the corrugatediron wall of the ‘bush kitchen’ in the bungalow, which houses guests during the hunting season.