Photographs & Info by Denise & Roger Voysey who recently attended this event.
Bedford is noted and takes great pride in it’s beautiful gardens. Roses, many of which are unique to the area, flourish in many a garden. Each year several splendid private gardens located in Bedford and the surrounding district are open to the public during the Annual Bedford Garden Festival.
The festival offers visitors exceptional opportunities to see various botanical varieties at their peak as well as meeting a host of friendly folk and fascinating characters. Spring comes early to this area of the Eastern Cape and October is the prime month for viewing the unique landscaping and the wonderfully-picturesque settings of the extensive farm and town gardens. Of particular interest to avid gardeners are the diverse plantings, both usual and unusual, that give each garden it’s own special characteristics.
Many features include wide herbaceous borders, a large variety of roses [including old or heritage roses], secretive walkways, gazebos, day lilies, water-wise plantings, formal gardens, water features, herbs and so much more.
Steeped in history, Maastrom, Cavers and Eildon reflect the grandeur of yesteryear; large open spaces, beautiful vistas, borrowed landscapes, meticulous maintenance and attention to detail.
We can only feature the following 4 gardens as space is limited.
Maasstrom was owned by Sir Andries Stockenström, 1st Baronet, who was lieutenant governor of British Kaffraria from 13 September 1836 to 9 August 1838. Bedford was established in 1854 by Sir Stockenstrom, and he named the town after his friend, the Duke of Bedford.
This historical farm garden has featured in many magazines and various books over the years. It is known for it’s roses, beautiful focal points, mass plantings of clivias and attractive water features. The 158 year old Atlas cedar in the front garden dominates this spectacular garden.
Cavers is a fifth generation family-owned farm with one of the most beautiful gardens in South Africa, 16 km from the scenic village of Bedford. The stone double storey homestead, built in 1848, is used exclusively for guests. Cavers Country House garden was one of 20 that was featured in “Remarkable Gardens of South Africa” book published by “Quiver Tree Publications” in 2012 (website: www.quivertreepublications.com),
Eildon. The area was also where the Scottish Settlers of 1820 settled, amongst them Thomas Pringle who began the fight for press freedom in South Africa and later began South Africa’s first independent newspaper. Eildon House was built in 1820 by the Pringle family, over the years and many generations later the house and garden morphed into one of Bedford’s prettiest gardens.
Long Garden. This modern landscaped garden stretches down a long erf, it was designed by Franchesca Watson and planting commenced in 2014. The planting has been planned to have a selection of plants in flower each month of the year. The grasses are at their finest at the end of summer, the seed heads are loved by birds. A remarkable 3 year old garden.