Celebrate Spring in full bloom at the inaugural Stellenbosch Garden Week

The festival will kick off with a flower parade and boasts a wide range of outdoor activities

27 September 2021 - 06:00 By Paula Andropoulos
A general view of the gorgeous gardens at Boschendal Wine Estate.
A general view of the gorgeous gardens at Boschendal Wine Estate.
Image: Supplied

Spring has sprung in SA, and the city of Stellenbosch is celebrating in style.

From September 30 to October 10, the Western Cape town will host its first Garden Week festival, which will include a host of activities designed to celebrate both the warm weather and the beauty of the great outdoors.

Taking its cue from the lauded annual spring flower festival in Girona, Spain, the Stellenbosch equivalent will launch with a flower parade on Thursday, and boasts attractions such as horticultural tours in some of the region’s most exquisite public gardens including the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden, the Old Nectar estate in the Jonkershoek Valley, and more.

The Stellenbosch Botanical Gardens will also be conducting daily walks and talks led by specialists; while lovers of nature and wine can opt to visit some of SA’s most beloved vinicultural sites including Spier Estate and Babylonstoren, where educational demonstrations on flower arranging, dye art, photography and bees will be taking place.

Cyclists make their way through the vineyards at Jordan Wine Estate.
Cyclists make their way through the vineyards at Jordan Wine Estate.
Image: Supplied

Perhaps most exciting of all, Michelin Star-decorated SA chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen will be participating in a unique wine lands experience at Blaauwklippen Estate. There Van der Westhuizen will discuss the most prominent gardens in his life to date — the gardens that have informed his professional and artistic evolution — as well as his new venture in the Kalahari and famed restaurant in Nice, France.

Better yet, the JAN Innovation Studio in Cape Town will be preparing a seven-course Botanical Banquet, which is to be enjoyed in the selfsame Stellenbosch wine lands where Van der Westhuizen attended culinary school. A feast for the eyes is also on the cards, as celebrated floral designer Alwijn Burger (also known as Blomboy) will be designing the table layout.

Various local wine farms as well as storefronts around the town will be participating in the merrymaking and offering various specials, and out-of-towners can look forward to accommodation at reduced rates, since providers will be instituting promotional discounts for the duration of the festival.

A plant labyrinth is also going to be erected in The Braak, the town’s main square, which is sure to be really beautiful.

A family enjoys lunch from the Farm Cafe at Spier, one of SA’s oldest wine farms.
A family enjoys lunch from the Farm Cafe at Spier, one of SA’s oldest wine farms.
Image: Supplied

Regardless of which activities they participate in, festivalgoers can look forward to some good music, great food and wine, and a holistic sense of joyfulness and community, which is not something any of us is likely to take for granted after the last year-and-a-half of hardships and social distancing.

Garden Week is taking place in anticipation of SA’s National Garden Day on October 17, and organisers have partnered with Rama and New Life Microgreens to champion an educational initiative for children in the community, providing no less than 6,200 of them with “Microshooters” — that is, microgreen grow kits in little tubs.

Rama has been working with the Department of Education since 2017 to teach school-aged children about the significance of a healthy diet and the value of good nutrition.

See the full Garden Week Stellenbosch programme at visitstellenbosch.org


subscribe