Open Garden Season

It’s Open Garden Season in the Cape. Yesterday OH and I visted some of the Franchoek Open Gardens. On the whole it was a lovely day out but the Lions Club did drop the ball somewhat when it came to organising the event. When we purchased our tickets we were not offered a brochure or map showing where the gardens were. On enquiry we were told the brochures had run out and we should go to the Tourism Info Centre and get them there. Well, of course they had run out there too so the lady there kindly tried to mark the gardens on a town map but with no actual addresses. However she got it very wrong and after walking for some time in over 30 degrees we bumped into an estate agent who kindly gave us a spare brochure and we were on our way. Incidentally it would appear that every second property in Franchoek is for sale, can’t help wondering why when it must be an idyllic place to live.

Here are some of the gardens that we visited
Tight and neat formality



One of many lovely Irises

013Fabulously lush borders

011 031

008Col, do you know the names of the above plants? I love this ground cover with leaves that look like variegated mint and tiny pink flowers. One above  – we saw this shrub with grey foliage and crimson blooms in many different colours and I would love to know what it’s called.

This pool area won me over for  a small manageable garden in a lovely setting.

025And then there was my favourite garden, on a much grander scale and in the English country garden style. Perfectly manicured lawns and beautifully co-ordinated borders in cool white, pink, blue and lilac – absolutely breathtaking in it’s perfection.

097 088 048 075 043A lovely statue perched at a water feature


These stunning ornate gates lead to another section of the garden where your eye is drawn down the tunnel of arches planted with jasmine to a stone bench at the end.


060 061

Railway sleepers interplaned with pansies, lobelia, poppies and ground covers provide a walkway to the seating area at the end.
Here is the view from the seating area looking back through the tunnel of jasmine.

After visiting four gardens we were dehydrated and in desperate need of some sustenance so we parked off in the shade at a cafe on the main street and enjoyed a delicious light lunch at a surprisingly reasonable price.  After recovering and a bit of retail therapy in a gift shop next door we got back into the car to drive to one of the gardens on the outskirts of town.

This grand house has the most amazing view from the pool area.
123 127Some more examples of symmetry
105 040Lastly the glorious Franchoek mountains

In all we saw five of the ten gardens that were open to the public, leaving the other five for next year with maybe a return visit to my absolute favourite English country garden.  We are truly blessed to have a gem like Franchoek on our doorstep. It’s Open Gardens in Elgin over the next two weekends – I am already working on OH 😉


16 thoughts on “Open Garden Season

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  2. I so enjoyed visiting these beautiful gardens via your photos – a welcome relief from the snowy landscape outside my window. That’s the one thing I really miss about SA, the fantastic gardens and scenery. Dankie!

  3. Lovely gardens – having just completed the local Garden of the Year judging in Durban, it was interesting to compare.
    Not positve about those two plants – I’ll try and verify identification.
    I think the grand house should reconsider the pruning into blobs – they don’t really fit..

    • I found both plants at my local nursery, the ground cover is definitely lamium and I am trialing it to see how it likes our garden. Not sure what the other one is but I bought one and it seems to be very happy.

    • Sorry for the late reply cocoa, I think a lot of the houses for sale were probably bought as holiday homes and that market is still suffering from the recession, I’m pretty sure that most of those on sale are not lived in much at all.

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