The Glasshouse at Le Jardin

Le Jardin - A Wonderland in Stellenbosch

Step into a bygone era, a wonderland where time stands still. Current owners, Sue and Bernard, bought this expansive Stellenbosch property almost two decades ago,and with the help of architect Gerrit van der Wolf, transformed it into a fun and exciting land to be explored by child and adult alike.

The elegant Sir Herbert Baker style house is reminiscent of an era when life was slower, lunches were languid and everyone played croquet!

Apart from the work on the main house, Gerrit was commissioned with building a glass house, a sort of 'ode, to Bernard's love of old fashioned conservatories.'

True to the whimsical feeling of this location, a huge, ancient oak, bursts through the top of the glass roof,as though the 'Alice' of this story.

Beautiful, rolling, manicured lawns roll up to the buildings- and lead to pathways surrounded by foliage and interspersed with beautiful Alice in Wonderland characters, fashioned by Streetwise. Follow the paths and you end up on the wooden decking overlooking an eco dam. The Manor House at  is surrounded by lavender fields and rose gardens. Tree walks and a kiddies zipline add further delight to this magnificent property.A most beautiful and magical location for both film and stills shoots.

  • Glass house conservatory at LE JARDIN



Your Own mini meadow in the city. Magnificent!

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Inspired by all things English today thanks to another royal wedding - plus just love the idea of a meadow in the city. Gravel paths also such a great idea to keep our gardens waterwise and they have a certain romanticism about them that is just so gorgeous.

Outdoor room ideas

Borrowed directly from Houzz - here are some great outdoor room ideas as the Northern hemisphere heads into summer. Down South we're hunkering down for what we hope will be a wet wet winter in Cape Town but in the meantime we'll be dreaming and planning that outdoor area for when the days get longer again and the sun gets higher.

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A Home What really matters - Flowers

A very very wise man once said that "After women, flowers are the most lovely thing that God has given the world" Well thank you Mr Dior, there is no doubt you are very astute and that we are very lovely indeed, but enough about us girls and more about flowers...
Flowers uplift any space and take it from drab and lifeless to beautiful without airs and graces - bunches of flowers can be simple or extremely sophisticated depending on the occassion and the personality of the floweree (new word meaning person who has the flowers in their space)  The current trends toward less structured arrangements and toward field flowers and arrangements in monotone or "dirty" colours, using flowers only locally grown are all exciting trends to look at. so lets look already and stop gabbing.
These are the top trends for 2017 according to Country Living

  1. Dahlias - with so many varieties Dahlias can be very versatle and are hugely popular right now. The most popular colours this year being dusty pinks, peaches and cream and creamy colours. Here they are mixed with Peonies my absolute favourite flowers.

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2. Hanging Arrangements - to be seen EVERYWHERE these are so magnificent - everything from hanging hoops to elaborate rectanglar constructions, deconstructed hanging air plants - these are such big news and lift the eye creating so much space. To be seen in the magnificent Babylonstoren wedding venues - they are a super hot trend and hopefully will be for a long time to come.

3. Farm Fresh Flowers - Like the food to table trend in fresh produce we're seeing the same trend in flowers, with local varietes that do not have to travel great distances being the preferred blooms.  It seems illogical to trade a massive carbon footprint for cut flowers that are already 5 days old at least when you buy them. This means we're looking at locally sourced varieties that are seasonal. A refreshing and earth friendly trend!
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4. Red Wine Hues  - Lots of deep wine tones to be seen in arrangements from cabernet to pinot noir and burgendy which all couple nicely with more delicate jewelled tones and softer pastels.

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5. Tropical Plants and Green Arrangements - we have seen a huge increase this year in stills companies requesting tropical plant locations and everywhere we're seeing enormous vases filled entirely and to great effect with Elephant Ears or delicious monster leaves. Tall architectural fronds of Arumlilies are also magnificent in oversized simple glass vases. Simple, and yet they create such a statement AND they last for weeks with minimal requirements except water and to be kept out of direct sunlight.
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6. Green arrangements - following on from this is the trend toward arrangements made solely of foliage. keeping costs down substantially you can make stuning arranagement with plants such a slaender, rosemary, olive branches as well as lots of wonderful varieties of fynbos if you're lucky enough to live in the Cape.

7. Muddy Colours - Arrangements in toned down muddy, " dirty" colours continue to be popular and counter balance with the softer buttery hues that are also big news this year as well as the stunning Dusty rose which is a toned down version of the soft pastel pink.Magnificent in roses and peonies.

8. Combining Sculptural vegetable elements with flowers and foliage - Beautiful artichoke heads, Turnips, red cabage, Kale combined with more traditional flowers and foliage make a remarkable arrangement.

Dying for A Drink

Its hot in Africa. Everyone knows that. Even if you still wrongly assume that Lions roam the streets, pretty much everyone knows it gets hot here. Well its summer and not only is it hot but it is dry in South Africa. Sadly for us we are now in a drought cycle. Our dams are very very low and water restrictions are very strict. In Cape Town we're on level 3 water restrictions. For those of us with gardens - That means you are allowed to water your garden 3 days a week by hand. That means with buckets or watering cans ONLY - no irigation systems, hosepipes, sprinklers or any other devise that doesnt involve some seriously heavy lifting, and of course you get penalised with very high bills should your water consumption be above a certain amount of kilolitres.

what it has done, which can only be a positive thing, (and i guess we need to learn the lessons and see the positives in what adversities throw at us) is that it has conscientised us to how much water we "waste" on a daily basis and how we can better utilise our resources and maximise them.  For a while now I have thought about the idea of replumbing so that bath, shower, washing machine water can be collected and used to irrigate plants and lawn. Suddenly its a necessity and so going forward it will become the norm - drought or no drought. Whole industries have sprung up to cater for this reality / necessity. What it also necessitates is changing the products that we use so that they are eco friendly and plant friendly. Harsh detergents are going to be a bit of a no no on the roses right?  Nothing wrong with that tweak either. And so nature guides us to rethink and to green up - she's a clever lady!!screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-6-04-13-am

We also need to look at water wise planting as an alternative to the English country garden and look to the wonderous indigenous plants on offer locally that are spectacular. Lawn is a real undisputed standard in south african gardens but the point is it was brought by the British who have year round rain in abundance whereas we have well less than half their rainfall and its seasonal. Grass is great for kids and animals to play on but its worth considering smaller, more highly structured areas of lawn perhaps that becomes a strong design feature. Keith Kirsten suggests replacing areas of lawn with meadow type gardens.


Another important consideration is the use of waterwise plants such as grey leafed plants. Plants with hairs on leaves and stems, waxy cuticles, bulbs and tubers, dormancy at certain times of the year, smaller leaves. reduced plant size, plants with fleshy leaves like aloes, ground covers and plants with very volatile oils (like lavender). The choices here are immense and actually very exciting.

There is so much that can aid in water retention in a garden. Mulching, the process of covering soil and roots of plants with broken down bark and garden trimmings in order to protect from excessive evaporation, is a great way to protect gardens from harsh environments. Feeding with manure is another excellent way of giving plants the boost they need to strengthen in tough conditions. just remember that if you fertilise your lawn you will need to water it deeply immediately or it will burn.

Adversity strengthens us, teaches us, makes us more resilient ultimately and so it is for our gardens. Drought is not fun but perhaps we can make the lessons it teaches us and the obstacles we have to overcome fun and exciting by being open to new ideas and new ways of thinking about our green spaces.

We would LOVE to hear what you have done to make your garden more efficient and any great tips you have and plants you'd recommend. We would love it if you would send this on to any friends that you think would enjoy the article and could benefit from it.

If you or a friend has a home, garden, office, restaurant, farm or any other interesting space that you would like to offer for stills, tv commercials, events or accommodation please don't hesistae to get hold of us or fill in a form under NEW LOCATION LISTING on our blog and we will get right back to you.

All the Best

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