Team effort

Once gardens have been selected to be opened to the public for Open Gardens Constantia, each garden is assessed by the OGC committee. OGC feels it is important to give garden visitors the best experience possible, and if any small changes can be made to improve a garden, they are implemented, months in advance of the open days.

garden renovation

In Carol’s garden – where the Tea will be held – Elaine Conradie (looking at camera) solved a design problem in the lawn, tweaking the layout of the existing set of railway sleeper steps. Elaine has a formidable designer’s eye – her own lush garden on a steep slope in Tokai is an impressive testimony to her talent and engineer’s eye.

We thought it would be interesting to hear from her:

“The original steps were just a series of sleepers, graduating from narrow at the top to wide at the bottom of the bank with lawn all around and in between.  We decided to make a feature of them, firstly by taking out the strips of lawn between (which gardener Wiseman is doing, above) and replacing with Alyssum . We then positioned two large pots on each side of the top step. ”

steps in lawn

“I then took into consideration that the sides of the steps leading down from the veranda behind (on which these steps were centred) were at 90 degrees to the veranda (forming a square).  I felt that the triangular shape formed by the sleeper steps did not complement the situation, so I came up with the idea to “square off” the flight of sleeper steps by taking a line from the outside of the pots, straight down at 90 degrees, resulting in two triangles on each side. We planted those up with Alyssum to tie in with the risers between the sleepers. This had the overall effect of giving these steps a square form, too, as well as making them more of an unusual feature.”

Photos: Carol Watson, Saskia Taylor

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