Cape Town - Vergelegen, the 316-year-old wine estate in Somerset West renowned for its 18 gardens, has a fresh summer attraction: a magnificent, world-class rose garden, displaying over 80 different rose varieties.
Following a huge horticultural undertaking involving 1 200 tons of virgin soil, 90 tons of peach pips, 40 tons of compost and 1 500 new roses, the revamped rose garden was formally opened on October 28.
The extensive collection of blooms - many specially chosen for their glorious scent, as well as beautiful appearance - spans miniature roses to rambling climbers, heritage blooms and newly-bred hybrids that can be viewed by the public for the first time.
The new garden has been designed in Vergelegen's trademark octagonal shape, with a colour palette that transitions from reds, oranges and yellows to whites on the right and from purples, deep and light pinks to white on the left.
Its central feature is a bronze sculpture of a woman entitled Aphrodite (the Greek goddess of love and beauty), created by Kenyan-born artist Stanislaw Trzebinski. Water cascades from the sculpture into an octagonal pool of water.
“We wanted to stimulate the sight, scent and hearing senses immediately and for visitors to enjoy a feeling of discovery,” said Vergelegen horticulturist Richard Arm, who was closely involved in the project from inception, with particular responsibility for the landscaping and irrigation.
The rose garden is ideally located at the edge of a camphor tree forest, forming a magnificent amphitheatre to the south and west of the site. To the north there is a view to the homestead and its five enormous camphor trees, declared national monuments in 1942.
A cottage-style herbaceous border of heritage roses, indigenous bulbs, foxgloves and other perennials frames the estate's picnic building at the far end. Persimmon and avocado trees and a hedgerow complete the exquisite surroundings.
Trzebinski, the creator of the beautiful central feature, said his inspiration came from Greek mythology. “Aphrodite was born from sea foam. As she emerged onto the seashore, the foam falling off her body sprouted into the first white roses as it landed on the sand.
“Some of the organic forms of the sculpture hint at the connection with the rose itself, with petal-like shapes growing off Aphrodite's shoulders, head and thigh. The purpose of these formations is not only to mimic that of the rose, but also to give this sculpture movement and a sense of fluidity.”
Adapted from a press release for IOL