The Elle Deco Spring Issue, now on shelf, is all about getting out, as our thoughts turn to gardens, growing things and greening the spaces we live in. We’d like to show you a few spreads from South Africa’s most beautiful garden book. If you love what you see, go and see some of these remarkable gardens in all their spring glory. And get the book. Or win the book… Scroll down for the how-to.


Now really is the time to be looking at gardens. And even if you’ll never own a Brenthurst or a Cavers or a Stellenberg, you can always go there – and steal with your eyes.  Scroll down for open days, special tours and dates.

In Remarkable Gardens of South Africa, the stunning beauty of South Africa’s top gardens is revealed by Craig Fraser and Nini Bairnsfather-Cloete. Featuring dreamy photographs and engaging text, the book combines history and horticulture to take the reader on a fascinating journey through 20 of the most magical private gardens in the country.

Published by Quivertree, the story that it tells so beautifully represents Nini’s journey. She took the project on as an adventure, jumped into her car and made it her mission to find the most incredible gardens in South Africa.

Gardens of every size and description were found and explored. The diversity is what is so absorbing about the collection of gardens in this book. From rock gardens and cactus gardens to the established traditional gardens of historical landmarks like Stellenberg and Brenthurst.

Other comments from the publisher:

• A multifaceted kaleidescope of gardens is featured, from those that are carefully and formally landscaped to those left to their own free-spirited and natural devices

• The gardens are located in a diverse group of regions and climates. These range from the majesty of the Cape Floral Kingdom to the Little Karoo, the Drakensberg mountains and KwaZulu-Natal

• Conversations with the gardens’ owners illuminate their histories, with the trials, tribulations and triumphs of their personal journeys, shedding light on the creation of each garden

• Landscape elements featured in the book include water gardens, sculpture gardens, parterres, herb and vegetable gardens and farm gardens

While many of these gardens usually remain hidden from view, in Remarkable Gardens of South Africa their stunning scenery, rich history and intriguing diversity are explored with romantic, inspiring results.

Here’s a list of some of the finest – and the best time to go-see is October / November.

Stellenberg  2 open days (3rd & 4th Nov)

Maasstrom  last weekend of October

Cavers 26,27,28 October
Schoongezicht – open to the public during the week from 09h30 – 16h30 and on Saturday until 14h00.
Visitors are welcome to wonder up to the tasting centre to enjoy some of the estate’s wines.
Fresh Woods Nov 3,4,10,11
Benvie 22 September to 7 October

Babylonstoren is always open.

Brenthurst Johannesburg opens in October for garden tours. Visit their website for details.


Tell us which garden in the book appeals to you most. Please post your answers below.

isbn: 0-9869813-6-2. For further information contact:

Craig Fraser @ Quivertree Publications

Tel: +27 21 4616808 • Mobile: +27 83 6271656 •

Posted by Inge van der Merwe & Jenny Mason