Celebrate the start of summer with a visit to the annual Franschhoek Open Gardens festival, where once again ten generous owners will be opening up their gardens to the public. This year will see the launch of several new gardens, plus the return of old favourites. Those garden lovers who regretted the absence of the stunning gardens of La Rive, closed last year whilst work on the property took place, will be glad to know that this truly magical garden will once more be on show.
New gardens this year are Fransvliet, Le Domaine Charmant, 14 Avenue Estate and The Stables. The owners of Fransvliet are also generously offering a sumptuous tea for sale over the weekend – all proceeds of which they will donate to the charity supported by the Open Gardens – Fleur de Lis home for the aged.
In a similar community spirit the owner of Grande Provence is opening his private garden to be viewed, where visitors will be given the opportunity to taste the estate wines – again, proceeds to the charity.
A new attraction this year will be the performance of live music in four of the gardens. This will be provided by two groups of local musicians, who will showcase the diversity of talent existing within the Franschhoek community.
Once again, there will be a giant plant sale in the centre of the village, and the usual lively atmosphere created by the village market. In addition there will be a repeat of last year’s highly successful “Garden in a pot” competition, where twenty hopefuls display their garden skills in pursuit of the prizes offered. Last year saw a stunning range of planting, from herbs to succulents and floral displays and great things are expected of this year’s participants.
In addition to the great variey offered by the Open Gardens festival, from large estate gardens to small village gardens, Franschhoek boasts yet more horticultural delights to those who have time to seek them out, notably the Medicinal Garden on the right entering the village from the direction of Paarl. This is a truly different enterprise – a community garden run by a very knowledgable and enthusiastic gardener who is always happy to talk to visitors about the cultivation of the plants he grows, and of their medicinal and cosmetic uses – a large selection is on sale.
At the other end of the main street are the delightful gardens, always full of flowers, which provide a setting for the iconic Huguenot monument.
So don’t forget the dates are 23, 24, 25 October. Tickets are available at the Town Hall in the centre of the village, and at Fransvliet, on the approach road from Paarl. Price R150 for the ten gardens detailed below. All proceeds go to the Fleur de Lis home for the aged.
Download the Franschhoek Open Gardens brochure 2015 here.