A farm gar­den in all its spring glory

Jus­tine Siebrits says her lit­tle piece of par­adise is at its best when the plum trees are blos­som­ing and the roses are in full bloom.

Home (South Africa) - - NEWS - By Marié Ester­huyse Pho­to­graphs Fran­cois Ober­hol­ster

When she glances out of a win­dow, Jus­tine Siebrits likes to see some­thing beau­ti­ful.

And that’s ex­actly what she has achieved on Keer­weder, the farm where she and her hus­band An­dries live. The two farm­steads are sur­rounded by gor­geous gar­dens and have a view of the nearby plum or­chard with its breath­tak­ing spring blos­soms.

This fam­ily farm is one of the old­est in the Fran­schhoek Val­ley. It lies in the top cor­ner of the val­ley, hence the name Keer­weder which means “turn around”. An­dries and Jus­tine have lived here since 1993; while An­dries farms, Jus­tine’s pas­sion is the gar­den. Their three chil­dren – Fran­cois, Ca­rina van der Linde and Jus­tus – have moved out.

“I love hav­ing a pretty gar­den. Some of the plants in the older part of the gar­den have been here since my par­ents-in-law’s time,” Jus­tine says. “There are old camel­lias, mag­no­lias, a lovely pride-of-In­dia (Lager­stroemia indica) and we are blessed with huge oak trees that are more than 200 years old. We re­fer to the gar­den sur­round­ing the orig­i­nal farm­stead – which dates back to 1830 – as the old gar­den and the sec­tion around our house – built in 1994 – as the new gar­den. Both homes were built in the authen­tic Cape Dutch style.”

The lay­out of the old gar­den is for­mal with low white walls, brick path­ways and a rose gar­den. In the newer sec­tion sur­round­ing An­dries and Jus­tine’s house, the gar­den is more in­for­mal with nat­u­ral plant­ings, mixed borders and tran­quil ponds.

“Back in the day, I called in pro­fes­sional help with the ini­tial plan­ning of the new sec­tion and then we used that foun­da­tion to de­velop the gar­den into what it is to­day. As with all gar­dens, we’re al­ways mak­ing changes. We’ve en­larged it quite a bit and planted lots of new trees,” she ex­plains. “The lawn used to be much big­ger with beds sur­round­ing it but as the trees grew, the grass started dy­ing un­derneath be­cause it got too lit­tle sun. We re­moved the lawn and now have lovely shade borders filled with hy­drangeas, clivias, tree ferns and de­li­cious mon­sters.” >>

Beau­ti­ful and ther­a­peu­tic

When Jus­tine plans a bor­der, she has a good idea of what she wants but doesn’t draw pre­cise sketches of the de­sired re­sult or com­pile lists of ex­actly how many plants she needs. Rather, when she’s at the nurs­ery, she buys what she thinks she’ll use and then once she’s home she sets the plants out and moves them around un­til she’s sat­is­fied with the lay­out. Jus­tine of­ten strolls through the gar­den with her chil­dren and they are quick to ad­vise her on how to change a flowerbed or where to plant what.

Although parts of the gar­den have good loamy soil, there are also sec­tions with clay soil which tends to get very wa­ter­logged. How­ever, Jus­tine came up with a clever idea: she made a marsh gar­den with a pond and planted mois­ture-lov­ing Louisiana iris, de­li­cious mon­ster (Mon­stera de­li­ciosa) and Cordy­line, among oth­ers. She’s also cre­ated flowerbeds right up to the banks of the farm dam, which lies ad­ja­cent to the gar­den. Here, she keeps the shrubs low and trimmed into top­i­aries so that the beau­ti­ful view of the gar­den and the plum or­chard, which is cov­ered in blos­soms in early spring, can be ap­pre­ci­ated to the fullest.

Jus­tine says her gar­den is ther­a­peu­tic. “Both sides of the fam­ily love plants and flow­ers and my hus­band def­i­nitely has green fin­gers. He prop­a­gates a wide va­ri­ety of Cym­bid­ium or­chids, amaryl­lis, aloes and clivias, and has also planted masses of arum lilies but, un­for­tu­nately, the por­cu­pines are fond of eat­ing them. I’m re­ally for­tu­nate. What more could I ask for – I have an amaz­ing gar­den and a hus­band who reg­u­larly brings home arm­fuls of flow­ers!” >>

The for­mal rose gar­den

The for­mal rose gar­den is sit­u­ated next to the swim­ming pool and con­sists of about 200 rose bushes. This gar­den is di­vided into four sec­tions by brick path­ways – each bed has its own colour scheme: white, red, pink, and a com­bi­na­tion of yel­low and or­ange (see sketch). Climb­ing ‘Ice­berg’ roses and pink and white bougainvil­leas adorn the per­gola in the cen­tral part of the rose gar­den, while a ‘Cré­pus­cule’ rose frames the bench on one side.

Jus­tine says the roses used to get badly scorched in sum­mer but then they re­alised that the re­flec­tion off the high white wall be­tween the swim­ming pool and the rose gar­den was caus­ing the prob­lem. By sim­ply paint­ing the wall a dif­fer­ent colour, the is­sue was re­solved.

“I adore roses but they need a lot of at­ten­tion. We fol­low a spray­ing pro­gramme and reg­u­larly re­move spent blooms. A fo­liar feed is ad­min­is­tered at the same time as the spray­ing pro­gramme. The roses also re­ceive 8:1:5 fer­tiliser on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and com­post once a year,” she says.

Other than in the for­mal rose gar­den, Jus­tine also has many ‘Ice­berg’ roses else­where in her gar­den.

‘Cré­pus­cule’ climb­ing rose

The rose-cov­ered arch and per­gola lend a ro­man­tic at­mos­phere to Jus­tine’s for­mal gar­den.

In early spring the plum blos­soms are truly awe-in­spir­ing; the or­chard forms a pic­turesque back­drop to Jus­tine’s gar­den.

‘Ice­berg’ roses and aga­pan­thus fill the gar­den with colour in spring and sum­mer.

A wooden bridge forms part of the path­way that winds through the shade gar­den.

[ROSE LIST] 1 Red ‘Dou­ble De­light’ ‘Fran­cois Krige’ ‘In­grid Bergman’ ‘Cora Marie’ ‘Papa Meil­land’ ‘Red Devil’ 2 Yel­low and or­ange ‘Flamingo’ ‘Ger­mis­ton Gold’ ‘Out of Africa’ ‘Har­monie’ 3 White ‘Virgo’ ‘Green Cream’ ‘Pas­cali’ ‘Porce­lain’ ‘Bride’s Dream’ 4 Pink ‘Duet’ ‘Burn­ing Sky’ ‘Es­ther Gelden­huys’ ‘Nightin­gale’ 5 ‘South Africa’ 6 ‘My Granny’ and ‘Pink Sun­sa­tion’

7&8 ‘My Granny’, ‘Pink Sun­sa­tion’ and ‘Mis­ter Lin­coln’

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