PLETTENBERG BAY NEWS – Plettenberg Bay and Knysna gardening enthusiasts have rallied together to save a world-renowned rose garden after the Covid-19 lockdown had wreaked havoc on the once pristine garden on the outskirts of Plett.
Established over a decade ago, the Bosky Dell Rose Garden has not only attracted visitors from far and wide, but has also received several awards including the prestigious international Garden of Excellence award by The World Federation of Rose Societies.
Not only was it only the second time that the award had been bestowed on a South African garden, but the garden now also carries the distinction of being only the third private garden to be acknowledged worldwide in this way.
Owner Rae Gilbert has managed to maintain the beautiful garden, which includes about 250 varieties and more than 6 000 rose plants, by offering it as a venue for weddings and other events.
When Covid-19 struck, she had to cancel all her bookings and eventually had to let her staff go when she couldn’t afford to keep them on any more. Without the daily maintenance, the garden soon became overgrown.
She hoped things would get back to normal after lockdown, but lockdown was extended and she was unable to have the roses pruned in July. It became critical for the survival of the garden to clear the overgrown beds, prune and fertilise the flowers and therefore, along with Plett Tourism, Gilbert turned to the public for help.
It also became a case of personal survival as Gilbert’s livelihood depends on the weddings that have been booked towards the end of the year. As the gardens are a major feature of the weddings, she would not have been able to host these events unless the clearing and pruning was done in time.
Because Gilbert had made an enormous contribution to various communities on the Garden Route by opening her garden for numerous charity fund-raising events – during which she and her staff worked tirelessly to make every event memorable – it was no surprise that locals jumped in to save the beloved garden.
Plett’s GVH Landscapes brought a crew for a day and made a huge dent in the workload. This was followed by a visit from Shirley Redman of Adventureland and Coral Tree Cottages, who arrived with her extended family and friends, a ride-on lawnmower and a spirit of determination to tackle the task.
They worked extremely hard over two weekends and effected an amazing transformation.
Knysna Rose Society and Formosa Garden Club also arrived, armed with secateurs, and snipped the flailing roses back to stimulate growth over a period of two weeks. Dave’s Garden Services pitched in for a shift and Atlantic Fertilizers donated fertiliser. Donations also started pouring in and Gilbert is now able to employ three staff members until mid-December and purchase fungicides. more fertiliser and other necessities.
“I would have loved to write each donor a personal thank you and progress report,” Gilbert said. ”But since I can’t list everyone, I decided not to list anyone by name. I hope this reaches everyone. Mere words cannot express my gratitude and I’m sure that my garden will soon be ready for a visit or a venue for weddings.
“Once the overseas tourists are allowed in, I am sure they will, as always, be singing its praises. Thank you!”
‘We bring you the latest Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route news