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These are the Most Romantic Gardens From the House & Garden SA Archive

Gardens and romance go hand-in-hand as places to visit and spend quality time with the ones you love

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By House & Garden South Africa | February 14, 2024 | Gardens

An all-consuming atmosphere of romance can be felt even in the smallest of gardens. Scenic vistas, winding pathways, and flower-covered arches exude a very specific romantic feeling that can only manifest through colourful flowers whose petals flutter at even the slightest breeze.

Surely gardens are the physical manifestation of a unique kind of love where one devotes their time and energy to nurturing a pursuit of beauty and care that does not present itself immediately, but with time, patience, and an eye for colour.

From urban oases, to sprawling lawns and mountain-side gardens, our Garden Editor Heidi Bertish has brought some of the world’s most romantic gardens to the pages of our beautiful House & Garden SA magazine. Discover more of these South African gardens that are enough to make anyone and their green thumb absolutely swoon.

Cape Town’s Coastal Romance

Lazing in a garden against a backdrop of blue sea and sky, hammock slung from trees, love nest perched above oceans of bright foliage and a white washed fire pit prepped for golden hour, is standard stock for how things roll through summer in Cape Town. But what really goes into having a garden by the sea - and what's to stop those of us living away from the coast to draw on a palette of plants adapted to the reality of poor coastal soils and a hammering from salty winds? Absolutely nothing.

Local stone is used for pathways and retaining walls. Photography by Heidi Bertish.

Delicate colours and textures Combine in a Butterfly Garden

The gardens and palettes at Franschhoek’s Sterrekopje healing farm are as much a reawakening of the senses as they are a connection to nature. Designed by Landscape designer Leon Kluge who always knew plants were in his future, becoming a multiple award winner with a long list of celebrity clients.

“As a garden designer my inspiration doesn’t come from pictures or books but from walking and hiking in the mountains. Nature is my biggest teacher. To observe plants growing in their natural state is a masterclass in colour and texture, and how they combine to create mood. I love free-spirited gardens – gardens that have a refined wildness and a large palette of plants. I adore our local South African flora but I am not a purist.”

Leon scatters carrots, leeks, and garlic into his meadows for a soft display of colour when left to bloom. Photography by Heidi Bertish.

Finding Romance in an Urban Garden

A shared love for gardening is at the centre of the story of Susie Harris Leblond and Tarryn Martin, the pair behind Flourish Urban Flower Farm. The flourishing duo connected through a shared love for flowers and growing. Both beguiled by their newfound lifestyle as ‘urban flower farmers.’ Like many modern romances (whether platonic, professional, or actually romantic), Leblond and Martin met virtually while searching for small-scale flower growers on Instagram.

"I have always loved flowers,“ says Harris Leblond. “I love to grow them, pick them, give them away and photograph them.” With a background in horticulture and photography, creating a cutting garden to capture and share what she loved felt like a natural evolution.

Pops of colour throughout the garden, Image; Heidi Bertish/Susie Harris Leblond.

Feathery Grasses and Decorative Perennials

When published in 2022, this garden was labelled “A Romance of Colour and Texture” by our Garden Editor Heidi Bertish. Today, it’s no wonder that this segment of a garden at the foot of a Bishopscourt property can make a visitor feel giddy at the sight of feathery grasses, lacy umbels, and a citrus tree orchard.

It’s no wonder the vision for the garden designed by landscape designer Franchesca Watson spoke to the homeowner who yearned to create a contemporary, romantic space reminiscent of the Highveld garden of his childhood home. Watson’s intention to open up the garden to the spectacular views of Table Mountain worked to incorporate a moving palette of grasses and plant varieties that shift and sway in the wind.

A romantic garden landscape by Franchesca Watson. Photography by Heidi Bertish.

The Allure of Blushing Blooms

When Heidi Bertish shared this story about the gardens at La Cotte Farm with our House & Garden SA readers back in 2021, one would be hard-pressed to know that the gardens at La Cotte Farm in Franschhoek were in their infancy.

Fast forward to 2024, grand double borders, lush lawns and profusion of big, blousy blooms are a well-established romantic garden of old than the intoxicating new discovery that it is, completed a little over a year ago, to be precise.

La Cotte is the brainchild of landscape and interior designer Dominic Touwen, whose intuitive flair with colour and pattern is translated to the outdoors, resulting in a garden crammed with electric colour and painterly plant combinations that immediately captivate the senses.

Pink Chinese Foxgloves at La Cotte Farm in Franschhoek. Photography by Heidi Bertish.