Sunday, 12 September 2010


On Thursday we paid a far too hurried visit to Soekershof, a remarkable garden in the wine-growing area around Robertson, about 2 hours drive from Cape Town. Not having read the website properly we just turned up, when really visitors are asked to come for a tour at 11 am, but we were warmly welcomed by the proprietors, Yvonne de Wit and Herman van Bon. They moved to the property in 2000, and started clearing the 'jungle' that had overgrown what had once been the highly renowned garden of Marthinus Malherbe, a cactus and succulent enthusiast.

Many fine specimens were still present, and the couple has developed their interest in 'vetplanten' (fat plants, in Dutch, covering anything succulent) to create a fine collection of both native and non-native species, well-grown in raised beds, or in more specialized conditions (Aloe dichotoma to right). With very high summer temperatures and cool but not frosty winters the climate evidently suits a wide range of these plants. Yvonne gave us a whistle stop tour (we still had 400 km to drive) and showed us some of the highlights of the collection, but we had no time to see the mazes that form the main attraction of the property for most visitors, or to peruse the nursery. Soekershof is certainly a place to return to sometime, and not as stop-off on a long journey.

Cheiridopsis denticulata

Titanopsis calcarea, known in Afrikaans by the descriptive name skilpad tongetjie, tortoise-tongue

Drosanthemum sp. with Echinocactus grusonii

Monsonia crassicaule, a succulent member of the Geraniaceae.

Euphorbia inermis, with sweetly-scented flowers.

1 comment:

  1. Dear John,
    Thank you very much for your visit. Indeed is was a 'quicky'; the average visitor needs 3 to 4 hours to undergo it all in 'slow rural pace'.
    May we also suggest our Facebook page (over 1100 'fans') with lots of pictures and info.
    The URL is:!/pages/Green-Cathedral-of-South-Africa/107726269271600?ref=sgm

    Warm greetings from one of the most wonderful places in The Western Cape,
    Yvonne & Herman

    "Best Garden in the Western Cape" (The Independent, UK; January 2010)
    Certified by Fair Trade in Tourism in South Africa since 2006.
    Flower Magazine (USA), Spring 2010: "They have fun; they inspire; and, most of all, they communicate the transcedent message of beauty"


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