Hand Over to Beneficiaries

Ma Kaba and Maureen Viljoen

The final event of Open Gardens Constantia 2014.

A celebration was in order after our wonderful 2014 fundraiser for two really worthy causes: Abalimi Bezekhaya and Soil for Life.

We were thrilled that OGC 2014 raised far more than the previous Open Gardens, despite a deluge on Day 1. The event showed a profit of R115,000.00 (of which over R25,000.00 was generated by the sale of plants grown by members, the majority with origins in their gardens). This was donated in two cheques, split down the middle, to each organization.

The informal  function took place in the garden of Soil for Life, and was attended by members of the Constantia Valley, Constantiaberg and Flourish garden clubs as well as gardeners whose gardens were open to the public. Also in attendance were Ma Kaba, who had travelled from Kayelitsha with her grandson, Mzwandile Kaba (who is following in her footsteps) and Rob Small, both very influential figures at Abalimi, as well as Jo Fuller, from Soil for Life.

Ma Kaba addresses the gathering

Open Gardens Constantia chairlady, Maureen Viljoen said,  “Abalimi Bezekhaya and Soil for Life have been the recipients for many years. We have strong bonds with both these admirable organisations and know that the contributions we hand over will be well used and greatly appreciated by those whose lives will be improved and uplifted by an increase in self-respect and a sense of achievement.”

Jo Fuller, Soil for Life

Thank you to all our members, gardeners, helpers, and sponsors, and especially to each person who bought a ticket.

You made a difference.

See you in 2016!


Carol’s vegetable garden

basil border open gardens constantia

Carol’s garden was a natural draw at Open Gardens Constantia 2014.

Why? Tea was served there! Also a lot of cake, and sandwiches.

But the surprise waiting for everyone at the garden gate was the beautiful herb and vegetable garden, which was very popular with visitors. Above, Thai basil and an Alpine strawberry collection formed a luxurious border at the entrance.

garden seating open gardens constantia

Carol told us, “I enjoy vegetable gardening as it is so worthwhile eating what one has produced, and knowing that it is organic.”

Knowing what you are eating, how it was grown, is one of the great pleasures of the home gardener, regardless of scale.

giant mustard ogc

Giant mustard is flanked by companion marigolds, natural pest controllers. They have long been used by organic gardeners as pest traps. In the background is the indigenous and familiar Tulbaghia, or wild garlic. Both edible and useful, it also has a reputation for driving away harmful pests.

ruby chard ogc

Picture-perfect ruby chard (the stems are delicious cooked in their own right as a side dish).

rustic tuteurThe centre of the vegetable garden has a rustic wooden tuteur as its focal point, drawing the eye and supporting tomatoes.

Now that the guests have left, Carol can get back to eating her vegetables again!

Colleen’s flowers

open gardens constantia colleen

Visitors to Colleen’s corner garden in Bergvliet were entranced by the flowers they found.

open gardens constantia roses

They spilled from baskets…

open gardens constantia visitors

…grew up trellises…

open gardens constantia

…tumbled from urns…

just joey

…made focal points in beds…

red rose

…floated in a fountain,

floating roses

…and provided pretty backdrops for friendly cats.

open gardens constantia 2014 colleen

Here’s a trick question:

What is Colleen’s favourite flower?

Plant sale

open gardens constantia plant saleJust some of the interesting and beautiful exotic and indigenous plants – all in excellent condition – at our Open Gardens Constantia plant sale, on Friday and Saturday.

Friday hours: 2pm – 5.30pm
Saturday hours: 10am- 5pm

Visit this link for ticket information.

Striking sage

Salvia canariensis is a strong-growing, tall plant with the grey, soft, felt-covered, arrow-shaped leaves. Come summer it excels itself, producing spikes of deep magenta-pink flowers. Apart from appealing to sunbirds and pollinators, they make excellent cut flowers, too.  They are ideal for a sunny spot at the back of a border.

We will have a few of these stunners at our Open Gardens Constantia plant sale tomorrow and Saturday.

Photo and text: Marianne Alexander

Feverfew at the plant sale

There will be quite a few of these plants available at the Open Gardens Constantia plant sale (tomorrow and Saturday) in the herb section.

Tanacetum parthenium is a quick-growing perennial, native to the Caucusus region. The pretty herb sows itself freely in the garden and can also be propagated by taking cuttings. Feverfew needs a sunny position in the garden, as it is liable to get mildew when grown in the shade.

Apart from being a most attractive addition to the garden and indoors as a cut flower, feverfew can be used as a deterrent for moths and is planted in the garden to keep away aphids, especially in the vegetable and rose garden. The leaves and flowers are dried and used in pot pourri.

(Follow this link for open gardens ticket information.)

Photo: Marianne Alexander. Text: Lyn McCallum

Comfrey – the wonderplant

Looking for comfrey plants? We will have some of this hard-to-find, all-purpose herb at our plant sale on Friday and Saturday.

Garden accent, healer, compost activator, green mulch and liquid fertilizer, all in one plant.

Apart from its reputation as a healing herb (one of its common names is knitbone), comfrey – Symphytum officinale and cultivars –  is also a good compost activator (add a layer of leaves to your dry, brown matter). Its leaves’ high nitrogen and potassium levels make it an excellent green mulch, too. Steeped for six weeks, a comfrey tea is a good liquid fertilizer (and about as smelly, in its own way, as seaweed).

5 comfreyComfrey’s attractive, bold leaves make it a useful accent or contrast plant in the garden. The more common specimens have purple flowers, but some produce remarkable blue blooms.5 C5 omfrey herb JENNY F 5 DSC_0051 (58)

Got tickets to Open Gardens Constantia? Follow the link for more info.

Photos: Marianne Alexander. Text: Marianne Alexander, Marie Viljoen.