Inaugural garden week just around the corner

Use new app to tour gardens

The inaugural Garden Week Stellenbosch is taking place from Thursday 30 September and national Garden Day follows on Sunday 17 October.

With this in mind, the free gardening app Candide has put together a host of audio tours and gardens to visit – that the public don’t usually have access to and including some of the oldest gardens in the area – for your readers to enjoy.

Stellenbosch is a university town renowned for its tourist attractions: vineyards, wineries, mountainous nature reserves, museums, oak-shaded lined streets with cafes, boutiques and art galleries. But in addition to these, Stellenbosch has an incredibly diverse range of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring gardens, which will be celebrated at the upcoming, inaugural Garden Week Stellenbosch.

With this in mind and in the lead up to national Garden Day on Sunday 17 October, Candide – the free gardening app that connects green lovers across South Africa – is starting to showcase and champion garden tourism with an extensive directory of local sites, including both popular destinations and hidden gems including those that will be showcased at the upcoming event.

“The Candide app is a great resource to find all the details you need, from addresses and operating hours to entrance fees and special attractions, and especially to discover some of the more unusual garden destinations.“ says Roné de Bruyn, country manager of Candide South Africa.

So if you happen to be in the Winelands during Garden Week Stellenbosch and you’re also looking for some inspiration in the lead up to Garden Day, Candide recommends you enjoy an audio tour at Babylonstoren’s magnificent fruit and vegetable garden. There is also one available for the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden. Both tours can be found at the gardens’ respective profiles on the app. In addition, here are two gardens that the Candide team has also hand-picked for you to visit.

Daan and Gretel Prins’s garden, Die Boord

Gretel Prins’s garden in Die Boord grew out of an open plot that was part of the property when she bought it in 2006. It had been used as a parking lot but also contained some silver maples, olive trees and a rose garden. Gretel opened it up, removing the dividing wall and working tirelessly to create her English country garden, replete with touches of indigenous colour. Flowing from a pergola covered in wisteria and culminating in a blossom-dappled pond for goldfish, this ever-evolving secret garden is a haven for birds as well as the Prins family.

Inspired by her travels overseas, Gretel’s garden is also full of plants gifted by family and friends, and she plants according to colour and scent, favouring burgundy and pink. From blowsy roses and bulbs in pots to orchids, irises, moonflowers and magnolias, the garden is charmingly untamed, but each area has its own logic. Gretel even has a veggie patch and a tiny, self-seeding wild section favoured by bees. A borehole supplies the garden with water and, according to Gretel, “there is always something flowering, in every season”.

The Prins’ garden doesn’t end there. Working closely with the local municipality, which is planting oak trees to create an arboretum, Gretel planted 30 trees in the adjacent public park and turned a rubbish dump into a small garden everyone can enjoy, full of nasturtiums, poppies, salvia and fynbos. She also constructed a small pond where children come to catch tadpoles. The private and public aspects to the garden are a real treasure.

Open Garden date: 2 October 2021

Address: 19 Swellengrebel Rd, Die Boord

Time: 10:00 – 11:30

Tour Option:Self-Guided

Price: R20 per person

STIAS garden 

The Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) garden, in the Mostertsdrift area, is one of the oldest gardens in Stellenbosch, established on a farm owned by Jan Mostert in the late 1600s. Garden custodian René Slee says the property went through various phases of neglect until STIAS took ownership, with Dr Esther Lategan reviving it by giving it some direction and planting large sections of the garden with indigenous plants.

The garden has something for everyone – for many visitors, the main focus will be the lush, romantic southern section in front of the manor house. It has a forested feel, but Slee cut back a lot of the camphor, laurel and oak trees to let the light in, allowing flowering plants to thrive. Enjoy walking among camellias, azaleas, magnolias, clivias, and spot the huge Pride of India trees. Must-sees include an enormous wild fig and the sunken duck pond that has been turned into a thriving bog garden.

The north-eastern section – behind the old farmhouse – is tamed veld, with proteas, virgilias, felicias and Watsonias delighting the eye. The south section boasts wild olives, a grove of pines, and a forest of young yellowwoods ‘planted’ by the birds that nested in the pines. Don’t miss the succulent garden and the dramatic pincushion proteas! Slee and her ‘Weekend Warrior’ gardeners have created walkways for visitors to revel in each section of this garden, which is full of surprises.

Open Garden date: 2 October 2021

Address: STIAS: Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, Marais Road, Mostertsdrift, Stellenbosch

Time: 9:00 – 10:30

Tour Option:Self-Guided

Price: R30 per person

If you don’t already have Candide, download the free community gardening app, available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. For more information visit email

From left?  Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), Director Professor Edward Kirumira and garden custodian Rene Slee in the STIAS garden, one of the oldest gardens in Stellenbosch.  Slee has been responsible for bringing the facility’s historically significant garden back to life.  Members of the public, that can’t usually enter the garden, will be able to do so during Garden Week Stellenbosch.
Rene Slee in the STIAS garden, one of the oldest gardens in Stellenbosch.  Slee has been responsible for bringing the facility’s historically significant garden back to life.  Members of the public, that can’t usually enter the garden, will be able to do so during Garden Week Stellenbosch.
You can listen to audio tours of different public gardens including Babylonstoren and the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden on the free Candide gardening app.

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