Best on show: Cycads and slate were the dominant features of a garden created by Grant Gove, Debbie Smit and Christiaan Overbeeke of the Four Seasons Group.

Johannesburg - The 2012 Garden World Spring Festival in Muldersdrift opened recently amid celebrations and tributes.

Andries Fourie, 89, legendary landscaper, nurseryman and founder of Garden World died on July 29, just days after the show’s opening.

At an age when most people usually think of retiring, Fourie opened Garden World, with Gary Player officiating at the opening, on September 20, 1985.

Fourie sold Garden World to present owners Jan de Waal and John Mundell in 1994.

The landscaped gardens in this year’s Garden World Spring Festival are a tribute to Fourie’s glorious vision of gardens and plants – all in one garden centre.

They include 14 new gardens, 10 re-energised make-over gardens from last year and 10 children’s gardens from local schools. Over 20 floral art arrangements designed by members of the Gauteng Flora Art Union filled the garden centre and under a purpose-built double-volume roof, Ray Hudson and David Davidson built a recreation of the SA exhibit to the 2012 Chelsea Flower Show in London.

This year’s Best on Show Award went to The Sunken Cycad Garden created by the Four Seasons Group.

Dominated by large cycads, dark slate retaining walls, gravel and a ball of slate, the garden also won Rand Water’s Water Wise Trophy for the best water-wise garden on show.

A highlight of the show is the aquaponics garden.

“Aquaponics is a whole new way of doing gardening,” says designer Sonita Young.

With bright blue walls and an aquatic theme, Young planted up rows of hydroponic containers with vegetables, herbs and edible flowering plants. With no soil, the containers were filled with hydroponic balls as a growing medium.

Below the hydroponic vegetable containers, Young placed two large fish tanks. The nutrient-rich water from the fish tanks reticulates through the hydroponic balls of the containerised vegetable garden above to create the ultimate fresh fish and salads patio.

Among other highlights at the show are gardens that received platinum awards. Leon Kluge’s 5m-high Pangolin Garden is based on the shape of an anteater and includes a vertical insect garden made of material from the building site.

Landscaper Jo Clinton’s Agora Garden features a metal geometric cage around the seating area which provides an enclosed space with “windows” that offer a view of the garden.

Also look out for two gardens filled with vegetables and herbs, as well as well as the many fire pits designed into patios such as the one on Craig de Necker’s Magical Mediterranean garden, which includes an integrated pond, waterfall and fire pit. - Saturday Star

* See 34 designer gardens, floral art and a recreation of the SA exhibit to the Chelsea Flower Show at the Garden World Spring Festival. Garden World, Beyers Naudé Dr, Muldersdrift. Ends September 2. Cost: R20.

* Call 011 957 2545 or 011 956 3003. Visit