Wendy Ballantine’s Garden

Wendy Ballentine - Photo by Carol Kennedy
Wendy Ballentine
– Photo by Carol Kennedy

Wendy and Ian have lived in Knysna for 16 years having bought Ian’s parents house. The plot was sub divided and 9 years ago they designed and built a well planned and beautiful home. There was an established 48 year old  Pepper tree which immediately created filtered shade for their new garden. Wendy’s entrance garden which is really  postcard sized, has emerged over a period of time. She experimented with plants and design and has now created a cottage style semi formal area. An exisiting tree had to be removed as it overshadowed everything. Now a hedge of standardized hibiscus gives privacy and colour next to the neighbours wall. A Cecile Brunner rose greets one at the gate, while Iceberg roses, bedding begonias, foxgloves and many other dainty flowers are grouped around the central tortured willow which is set in a square with a surrounding of Victorian rope edged paving. Acanthus thrive here as do ferns.

The vision Wendy had for the back garden is truly ingenious. The doors from the house/verandah fold back to create a magnificent oriental carpet design using the rich colours of her interiors in her choice of plant material.



Last year Wendy removed the small patch of grass that she battled with during the winter months and replaced it with square paving slabs interspersed with succulents, mondo and other grasses, pansies and violas. A birdbath is the central feature of this ‘carpet design.’ Beyond this pots paint techniqued by a master at the game, Wendy, are used as accents and from each angle the overall symmetry is obvious.  A garden path leads one on to a huge pot, while mock shutters, window boxes, and a trellis disguise Ian’s workshop at the side. He is the perfect ‘handy husband’!


Plum and yellow coloured leaves and 3 clipped variegated privets draw the eye to the shaded pepper tree area and March lilies, arums surround a well positioned table and chairs. Perfectly matched cushions, wall features and Wendy’s eye for perfection marry the interior to the garden and create a restful place to reflect and chill out. { Not that Wendy ever sits down.} She achieves so much in the day and her talent, both in cooking, entertaining and interior design have contributed to the whole flow of creating a place of beauty.



Text: Carol Kennedy

Photos: Esther Townsend