OGC – then and now

abalimi with Rob Small 1994

Handing over the first cheque to Abalimi Bezekhaya in 1994

(you know, when photos had to be printed?)

The first Open Gardens Constantia was held twenty years ago.

1994 was an auspicious year for South Africa: Nelson Mandela was voted into office after our first free elections. Hope was in the air. Great events helped inspire small, good ones.

Our beginnings were modest, and experimental. Ticket prices at the gate were R8, and we raised the grand total of R4000 to donate to the then-fledgling grassroots organization Abalimi Bezekhaya.

By 2000 ticket prices had risen to R25 and we sold an appropriate 2000 of them. Word had begun to spread.

In 2004 OGC introduced the now regular – and popular – Plant Sale. Total funds raised nudged R50 000.00.

In 2012 that figure was doubled.

2014 will be the 20th year in which a handful of private gardens is opened to the public, in order to raise funds for local food garden projects. The gardens on view are chosen up to a year in advance by members of the three garden clubs who collaborate on this biennial horticultural event, and then the real work begins (plants need time to grow, you know). 

Abalimi Bezekhaya remains one of OGC’s beneficiaries. The other is Soil for Life. By sharing our passion for gardening we are proud to help support two organizations whose work is literally at the root of the of one of South Africa (and the planets)’s  great challenges: food production for everyone. Both Abalimi and Soil for Life are local organizations who are instrumental in educating, supporting and empowering communities facing serious social and financial challenges.

How much can we give them this year?

Please help us to help them by visiting our gardens on November 14th and 15th this year. There will be plants to buy, tea and cake to enjoy, and local produce to admire (and purchase), grown by Abalimi’s microfarmers.

Please check back closer to the time for garden locations and visit us on our Facebook page too.