An award-winning garden in Robertson is lauded for the rehabilitation of one of the most threatened habitats on earth.
“During summer, in the evenings, the kudus get so close to the house you can hear them munching on the Acacia tree pods in the garden,” say the homeowners of their Robertson garden – so tucked away one would be hard-pressed to know it even existed.
The vegetation of the area, traditionally called Renosterveld, is one of the most threatened habitats on earth and known for its extraordinary diversity of bulbs which bring a glistening profusion of colour to the Klein Karoo landscape in spring.
The name is derived from the Afrikaans word renoster, meaning rhinoceros, which is thought to refer to either the black rhino that roamed the area in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries or the predominately silver-grey colour of the vegetation similar to that of rhino hide.
Previously a game farm with no dwellings, the land was completely uninhabited save for sporadic grazing buck and wildebeest. The homeowners chose the farm because of its spectacular natural beauty – the vegetation, water, game and breathtaking views of the surrounding Langeberg Mountains. Conservationists by nature, the only change the couple made to the fauna was to safely relocate the black wildebeest.
“They have a tendency to become aggressive,” says the homeowner, who enjoys jogging on the property.
“I’m fast, although I’m not sure I could outrun a wildebeest if he was up for the chase,” she laughs, “but the rooihartebees, springbok, zebra, eland and kudu remain – and we’ve built a dam to provide year-round drinking water for them.”
Under the experienced guidance of designer/landscaper Danie Steenkamp, the garden became a project informed by similar conservationist attitudes – with the focus on rehabilitating the surrounding Renosterveld disturbed whilst building the home.
Read the full story in the December issue of House & Garden Magazine
Photography Heidi Bertish