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!


Author visit

marijke honig book open gardens

Beautiful Marijke Honig at Rosemarie’s garden, photographed with her new book, Indigenous Plant Palettes, which is the first prize in our OGC raffle.

You still have till 5pm to enter to win! Proceeds to Abalimi Bezekhaya and Soil for Life.

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

Indigenous honey for the honey makers

Are you looking for a showy, easily grown indigenous small shrub that is tough and can take full sun and only needs moderate watering? Then southern African native Euryops virgineus or the honey Euryops is the plant for you.

Called the honey Euryops because it attracts our busy little honey bees which pollinate the many sweetly-scented bright yellow flowers that open on the plant in late winter and spring, it is an easy-to-grow, tough shrub that brightens up that dry sunny space in your garden in no time at all.

Prune back quite vigorously after flowering to keep the plant tidy and you will have the pleasure of this sturdy plant for several years.

There will be a limited number of these plants at the Open Gardens Constantia plant sale on the 14th and 15 of November, so if you want one, be sure to arrive early to avoid disappointment.

(Follow this link for ticket information and open garden times)

Photo: Marianne Alexander. Text Lyn McCallum

The Seniors Tea

pensioners tea 2008

Our first open garden day, next Friday, starts at 2pm in the afternoon. “But why not open the five gardens to the public in the morning?” people have asked.

Mystery solved:  The morning is given over to the Seniors Tea. Now in its eighth year, the tea is aimed at local seniors and pensioners who love gardens, but who are unable to manage traffic congestion, and who do not get out to enjoy them.

Liz Simpson, a Soroptomist and member of the Constantia Valley Garden Club, contacts about 15 local retirement homes and a contact for Zimbabwe Seniors, to advertise the event, which is open to all seniors regardless of whether they are in a retirement home or not.

Soroptimist International is a world-wide organization working for the upliftment of women and children. Liz’s club is Cape of Good Hope. The organization was originally started in America over a hundred years ago, when women were not allowed to belong to Rotary (!). There are now seven federations, and clubs all over the world.

For the Seniors Tea, Soroptimists supply transport where necessary, the eats, and help with serving tea. In 2012 a record number of 200 Seniors visited in the morning.

Two gardens are opened, one for tea (Carol‘s) and the other where plants are for sale (Rosemarie‘s) from 10am-12pm.

Then follows a very speedy clean up, with fresh tablecloths, fresh water on the boil, and the setting up of hundreds of cakes, sandwiches and muffins for the teas to come, when the thirsty ticket-holding visitors arrive at 2pm.

Auldearn Garden in Elgin – open this weekend

AULDEARN GARDEN (Jenny Simpson)IMG_0606

It is open garden time at the Cape. The next two weekends will see 20 Elgin-area gardens in the Overberg open to the public.  Proceeds from the ticket sales go to the Grabouw Animal Welfare Fund.

Jenny Simpson, one of the Constantia Valley Garden Cub’s members, lives in apple-growing Elgin, and she opens Auldearn, her delightful farm garden, every year at this time.

Jenny: “The reason the house and garden are there is simply that this was the only piece of ground on the farm on which apples could not be grown!”

There are wonderful mountain views in all directions: of the Hottentots Holland, the Koggelberg, the Perdeberg and the Groenberg. Situated in the buffer zone of the Koggelberg Biosphere Reserve, the property is visited by many wild animals and birds.

JENNY SIMPSON IMG_3854_edited-Watsonia bourbonica subsp. ardernie_jpg._JENNY SIMPSON

Jenny has a passion for growing plants of all descriptions; she describes hers as “a plantswoman’s garden.” Many of her plants are grown from seed or cuttings and include  some unusual and rare specimens. Logically, for an apple-growing region, any plants in the apple family – Rosaceae – do well.  Hence the cherry trees, many and varied roses, strawberries, geums, crataegus, raphiolepis, potentilla, cotoneaster, filipendula and prunus. She skilfully mixes these unusual indigenous and exotic plants, focusing on colour combinations.

Jenny’s garden, along with 19 other gardens, is open this weekend (1st and 2nd of November), and next (8th  and 9th of  November) from 10am – 5 pm.

Entry R15. Tea & rosemary biscuits R10.

Info: info@elginopengardens.co.za
Download a map here. Auldearn is 8.5 km from the N2 on Highlands Road. 
Tel: 021-849-8762

More info at Elgin Open Gardens.