An all-new Kogelberg Gardening Club

– By Merilee Berrisford

 A group to offer helpful advice and practical demonstrations to garden lovers and garden strugglers

Here we are living in the Kogelberg with dune gardens, mountain gardens, wetland gardens and more, but many people feel completely at sea when it comes to gardening in this unique biosphere reserve. What works in one garden makes no progress in another. Some people seem to get it just right while others tear their hair out in frustration that nothing grows.

The Kogelberg Branch of the Botanical Society of South Africa has come together to form a Gardening Club that will share tips and ideas, provide inspiration and plenty of practical demonstrations to help us all along on our journeys to creating beautiful gardens that feature the best of our local flora.

Most residents of our beautiful biosphere reserve have little knowledge or understanding the various types of fynbos in the area and exactly which plants thrive in which areas, and indeed it is complex to figure out what will be best in your garden. The Kogelberg Gardening Club is about sharing experiences – and gardens – and is open to those in the know as well as those who want to know.

Last month, a small group of enthusiastic Kogelberg BotSoc members met to chat about opening up a group that will benefit both keen and struggling gardeners in their search for the right combination of factors to help their gardens grow. The upshot of that meeting was that a Gardening Club will be established in our area, sponsored and supported by the Kogelberg BotSoc Branch.

The first and most important message from the Gardening Club is that it is open to all, members and non-members, expert green thumbs, those wanting to learn, and anyone just interested in cultivating the various types of fynbos that adorn our majestic and pristine mountain range. If you have a garden or you don’t, if you’re interested, you are welcome to join. There is no limit on numbers.

There are so many possibilities for activities in the Gardening Club, including gardening workshops, visits to local gardens, trips to Harold Porter Botanical Gardens as well as the beautiful gardens in Worcester, Babylonstoren, Elgin and elsewhere. Offers of open gardens and fresh ideas for activities will be welcomed.

The Kogelberg BotSoc branch has become known for its open Hack Groups in Pringle Bay and Betty’s Bay, and the Gardening Club will be established on the same principle of open participation as a way to encourage all residents and holidaymakers in the area to learn a little bit more about the remarkable floral heritage of this unique area.

The first gathering of the Kogelberg Gardening Club will be on Monday 23 July 2018. The morning will be kicked off with a garden tour and practical garden activities to hone skills followed by tea and an informal chat about how the Club would like to proceed in this participative process of building the fynbos gardening community.

All those interested in having a go at the Gardening Club on a formal or informal basis will meet at the car park at Harold Porter Botanical Gardens at 9am. We will then proceed to visit the much admired wetland garden of Gwen Coetzee and then move onto a Bass Road home garden for a short demonstration on pruning fynbos by retired landscaper and horticulturist, Jenny Berrisford of Pringle Bay. Then it will time for tea, talking and planning the way forward.

In case of inclement weather, the Gardening Club group has made a Plan B! In the event of a deluge on the morning of 23 July 2018, there will be a screening of various gardening DVDs following by tea and talk. Nivenia Hall at Harold Porter Botanical Gardens is the venue for the Plan B event.

The committee of the Kogelberg BotSoc branch hopes that the Gardening Club will in time form a sub-committee to organise activities, choose times to meet and work on spreading the word and building participation in this uniquely practical way to support our natural heritage and grow our appreciation of the beautiful place we share.

Spread the word and bring your friends to meet us on Monday 23 July 2018 at 9am in the car park at Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens. We hope to see you there!