It felt quite apt that we had our first beautiful gentle summer rains during the night, just before Garden Day South Africa. Gardens in Johannesburg were given a good soaking, the dust disappeared and everything felt cleansed and divine, just in time for the first South African Garden Day.
Garden Day is all about celebration. It is a celebration of nature and of the beauty that we have created in our gardens and the beauty that surrounds us. Around the country, South Africans were asked to put their garden tools down and invite people over for garden teas to celebrate life.
There is no agenda. It is about being outdoors and enjoying nature while getting healthy in the stunning outdoors. It is about health, growing your own vegetables, getting your hands dirty and creating healthy therapeutic spaces.
Our Johannesburg Guesthouses have exquisite gardens. We have twenty-four Johannesburg Guesthouses as part of our collection and it is impossible to choose which gardens to feature as they are all gorgeous. Rains this year are late and we have severe water restrictions in place. All of our guesthouses are super conscientious and water-wise, using grey water and water saving practices in garden routines. We all mulch and only water before 6 am or 6 pm. No hosepipes!
Here are few of our special gardens:-
Hands on Retreat
There is a secret garden and forest in Craighall and Hands on Retreat is right in the middle of it. It is quite astonishing that this beauteous urban retreat and Spa is just off Jan Smuts Avenue in Craighall and yet when you step inside, the trees, the stream, the flowers, are all quite extraordinary. Martina has designed a stunning spa, surrounded by greenery and tall trees, and it is hard to believe you are right in the heart of Johannesburg. It’s wild, natural and incredibly beautiful and the perfect place for an overnight stay and massage.
Amanzi Guest House
Pam has created the most fabulous communal vegetable garden on her verge, and if you drive along Rutland Avenue in Craighall Park you will be able to see it. Two scarecrows discourage the birds and crows from eating the veggies and a sign invites people to take what they need while leaving some for others. Pam grows everything – lettuce, spinach, morogo, tomatoes, beans, butternut, peppers – and is totally self sufficient at the guesthouse for veg. She makes fabulous vegetable juices for her guests, and her garden is a delight for all. The main garden at Amanzi Guest House is delightful too, with a fab swimming pool, two lovely dogs and a tree-house luxury deck that is divine.
Janine has a stunning garden in Saxonwold,with manicured lawns and the most astonishing fuscia and rose bushes; a real haven of peace and quiet. What is astonishing about garden at Cotswold Gardens is the birdlife. Janine has bird feeders hanging from trees and the birds and the bees are busy all day. It’s quite easy to just sit outside on the veranda or laze at the pool, and watch the birds. Janine’s lawn is currently purple from the exquisite Jacaranda trees in her driveway and it is only going to get brighter and more beautiful as the summer rains come. Plus, she makes beautiful scones and the birds do enjoy the crumbs…
Liz at Lancaster
At Liz at Lancaster Guest House the cottages have private courtyard gardens, each one prettier than the next. Liz also has green fingers and her pot plants and hanging baskets are quite inspirational. They are always colourful, perfectly maintained and filled with seasonal flowers and plants. As you walk into the main entrance at Liz you are surrounded by flowers, colour and the heady aroma of flowers. Liz picks fresh flowers daily from her garden, placing them in the various cottages, in the dining area and all around the guesthouse. It’s rather pretty, plus, did we mention the beautiful perfumes?
Have a look at our Johannesburg Guesthouses website to see all the fabulous gardens and retreats that each establishment has created. We are super proud of our gardens. Come and see them!