One of the country’s most prominent garden lifestyle festivals returns after its inauguration last year, promising a fresh milestone for South Africa’s favourite village of oaks. Stellenbosch once again pulls out the stops for gardeners and lovers of the great outdoors in a 10-day long festival that will transform its streets and surrounding countryside from 20 to 30 October.
Garden Town Stellenbosch, inspired by the world-famous flower festival of Girona, Spain, will encompass everything from horticultural tours to flower art; dining to hiking; and, guest garden specialists, all in a majestic setting. DIY vegetable gardening, wine tasting, painting, guided bird walks, wreath crafting, moss educationals, drawing with thread, honey sampling and much more – it’s all on the programme this year.
Garden Town Stellenbosch is an initiative of Visit Stellenbosch, which comprises the region’s tourism stakeholders and partners, including the Stellenbosch Municipality and Stellenbosch Wine Routes. The objective is to grow the tourism and experience economy in Stellenbosch for the benefit of all communities. It draws in many well-known properties and personalities including the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden, Rupert Museum, Quoin Rock, Ernst van Jaarsveld, Lanzerac and Babylonstoren, while also touching the lives of people in the communities of Kayamandi, Ida’s Valley and Klapmuts.
During the festival, the Stellenbosch CBD will be decorated with a flower theme and prominent installations. As with last year’s event, colourful floral displays will be added to public spaces in Bird Street. Look out for cars, bicycles, a Harley Davidson motorcycle and trolley adorned with flowers and on display around town.
The programme of events kicks off with a grand flower parade, and the official launch of Garden Town Stellenbosch on 20 October. And everyone is invited! This is your invitation to dress up to the theme. If you need help, there will be a stall at the Braak – the departure point – selling appropriate paraphernalia.
The parade will be followed immediately by a floral version of the town’s summer pop-up street soirees – a Garden Soiree. This takes place from 19:00 to 21:00 at the recently landscaped gardens at Voorgelegen.
Numerous presentations and installations will take place at the Stellenbosch Town Hall, in the heart of town. These are organised by the Western Cape Association for Flower Arrangers (WCAFA). There will be participation by flower clubs as well as workshops and flower arrangement educationals and master classes from 22 to 29 October. The Town Hall will also host an art exhibition by The Voice Collective.
Private home gardens will open to visitors on Friday, 21 October and 28 October, and Saturday, 22 October and 29 October. Visitors are advised to check the programme to see which gardens are open when. An entrance fee of R20 per garden will be charged. Alternatively, a weekend passport may be purchased that gives access to all the gardens for a once-off fee of R200.
Some private gardens will be the subject of a new competition. The municipality’s inaugural Mayoral Garden Competition will showcase gardens in new housing and community developments. Five new housing areas were identified to be considered: Mandela City, Klapmuts; Hillside, Ida’s Valley; Watergang, Kayamandi; Jamestown, and, LaMotte, Franschhoek.
Famous gardens of the region have naturally been dressed up to show their best during the event, including Old Nectar, Babylonstoren, Hawksmoor, Schoongezicht at Rustenberg, and Aspidistra and Bonne Esperance. Check the programme for respective opening times.
Many of these will present workshops as well as talks and tours. Babylonstoren, for example, will demonstrate the making of a tussie mussie; focus on the work of bees during a guided walk; host a tour by Ernst van Jaarsveld of its special collections as well as a tour through its kitchen garden.
Workshops will also be presented in Stellenbosch Kloof’s Canettevallei, famous for its lavender products. These talks include the making of Protea origami, a lavender wand, natural soap, and a lavender talk and wine tasting.
At Joostenberg wine estate, a Spring farm walk will be presented – the perfect way to enjoy the beautiful outdoors of Stellenbosch.
Boschendal’s Farm Tours are a guided walking tour offering rare personal insight into the history of the farm, regenerative farming practices and sustainable gardening while experiencing and enjoying the beauty of the farm and its gardens. Guests will also be harvesting seasonal herbs from their herb garden whilst the farm’s soil to fork philosophy, and future plans to preserve the beautiful surrounds will also be shared.
Join the fun at AFGRI Paul Roos Spring Fair
This year Paul Roos Gimnasium will host the AFGRI Spring Fair from 22 October, which takes place at the Markötter Sports Complex. The outdoor market will focus on food, wine, garden and home produce. It includes the C2M Kiddies Garden which will be jam-packed with entertainment for the young ones. As an extension of the AFGRI Spring Fair, Paul Roos is hosting an array of activities during Garden Town. They include the ABSA Art Garden; the C2M High Tea with Dr Darren Green; workshops focusing on the art of bonsai, the wonders of fermentation and eco-printing; a special event with writers and travellers Erns Gründling and Lindie Stander, and two special AFGRI-hosted family events.
For more information about all the upcoming garden festival events and bookings, go to VisitStellenbosch.org or call 021 886 4310. The Garden Town website – www.gardentown.visitstellenbosch.org – goes live on Spring Day, September 1, providing dates, times, locations and relevant costs.