This hard working couple hosted an Open garden regularly in Pietermaritzburg where they lived for many years. Having visited this open garden and seen the perfection attained I was not surprised to witness the rejuvenation taking place when they relocated to Leisure Isle in August 2011. The garden had been neglected as it was rented out and the occupants never watered or cared for it. Sylvia inherited some established shrubs, a Fiddlewood and a Dias cotinifolia tree. A lot of cutting back and the removal of a very old bougainvillea allowed Sylvia to start designing and introducing her signature style of manicured edged beds, perfectly placed pots of Ecervaria she had brought with her and feeding with Sudden Impact and regular watering.
Peter, who is a ‘lawn man’ of note worked on the grass and advocates weeding, weeding, weeding! Then feeding in Spring with a slow release fertilizer 2:3:2 at 6 weekly intervals, followed by LAN throughout summer. The result after a short time was phenomenal but it took many hours of sitting on his ? to achieve this result.
Sylvia’s father was her inspiration which set her on her gardening journey. Her parents lived on 10 acres on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg and her fathers vegetable garden and yellow arum cut flowers which he sent to market, was the catalyst for her to carry on in his footsteps.
Sylvia wanted a pretty front garden and this she has certainly achieved with inca lilies, cuphea, hebes, statice, annulas of violas and pansies, variegated carex grass red leaved cannas and flax to give form and a birdbath and metal birds feeding on the lawn. At the side near the driveway indigenous leucadendrons and leucospermums with a stunning yellow hibiscus and all the warm plum and yellow shrubs ‘heat up’ this garden and give a warm welcome to visitors.
Having grown roses very successfully in KZN Sylvia wanted to have a small rose garden and she planted Duet and Knock Out near the entrance arch and these produce so much colour. At the side of the front garden a small path leads one into the ‘rose garden’. All the peachy, apricot shades you will encounter here. Eco Chic roses such as Amarula Profusion, Averil Elizabeth Homes, Deloitte and Touche mingle with statice, and of course salvias which she loves. A bright purple salvia produces cuttings which Sylvias has introduced very successfully. Her favourite lavender is the Margaret Roberts variety and she has used this all over the garden.
The back garden is equally as beautiful as the front with a formal placing of a bench with duplicated pots of Italian Cypress and echervaria on either side. The shaded wall which has a lovely wall fountain abounds with Clivias, maidenhair fern, wind anemonies, mondo grass, plectranthus, and begonias. Two silver birches are set against another back wall, one taller than the other, and add another layer to this charming area. Sylvia loves variegated plants to lighten beds. This beautifully manicured garden welcomes guests and to sit out on the back patio and laze in the sun must indeed be tempting, but knowing the Kluyte’s and their beautiful dog Daisy, I have a feeling not much sitting is done to have achieved such a perfect patch of earth and as it grows and develops I look forward to witnessing ‘The Glory of the Garden’.
Photos and Text: Carol Kennedy