We spent the night in Elgin on Saturday and on the way home used the opportunity to pop into one of the open gardens. For those who don’t know, gardens are opened to the public every year (this year over the weekends of October 29th and 30th and November 5th and 6th) in the Elgin, Vyeboom and Bot River Districts.
The gardens range from country gardens that are well established (some are over 50 years old) to smaller gardens in villages that have been recently planted but most are no more than a sixty minute drive from Cape Town and are so worth visiting. Many gardens have plants for sale and also offer tea and light meals. There are also art and sculpture events on in the district and some local wine cellars are offering tastings.
There are five different routes. Route 1 incorporates Grabouw and its environs, Route 2 is the Viljoenshoop Road, Route 3 covers the Highlands and Valley Road while Route 4 involves Villersdorp Road and Vyeboom and finally Route 5 looks after Houw Hoek and Bot River. The different farms and properties are located along the various routes so you just need to decide on your route of choice and follow the map!
We visited Boesmansrug which was part of Route 4. The gardens incorporated rose and herb gardens, a secret garden, gorgeous green pastures and majestic oaks. Plants and tea were on sale and money went to the chosen charity which was Kirstenbosch Environmental Education. Although some of the gardens offer free entry, some charge an entry fee of between R5 to R20 (entry to Oak Valley is R50 but pre-booking is essential) so make sure you have cash on you.
It really is a lovely day out – I wish we’d planned the day better and spent more time visiting more gardens.