Our wine writer Greg Landman suggests you hurry to the garden at Vergelegen Estate in Somerset West for a spectacular show.
If you have ever had a dream that you were wandering through a perfect rose garden with the fragrance of hundreds of roses filling the air, dream no more. The gardens at Vergelegen Estate is an experience not to be missed. This historic 319-year-old estate has camphor trees that date back to when the estate was owned by the Van der Stel family – a magnificent display of permanence in an ever changing world.
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There are 18 unique gardens to explore, but the rose garden offers a spectacular show and is a pleasure to wander through. It’s beautifully tended with pergolas to support climbing roses on its perimeters. The central feature is a bronze statue by Stanislaw Trzebinski of the Greek goddess Aphrodite with water flowing down her body into a small pond. This is only apt as legend says she was born of sea foam.
A team of expert horticulturists ensure the health of the 1 500 roses in the garden. The varieties on show include some of my favourite like Carefree Wonder, Momentum, Kinders van die Wind and Cherry Garland. The garden’s tranquillity is so pervasive, I feel my daily cares just dissipate. If you’re planning to take a stroll around the gardens, be sure to take a hat, sunblock, some water and get ready for a great experience.
When you’re feeling a little peckish after all that walking, there’s a lot on offer. From November to April, Vergelegen operate picnics in the Camphor Forest for a special day out under these towering giants. There are, however, two more restaurants on the estate that’ll satisfy your appetite. Camphors at Vergelegen is the estate’s signature restaurant that regrettably does not cater for children. Stables at Vergelegen has a more relaxed bistro-style atmosphere that is family-friendly. No matter your choice, Vergelegen is the home of some of the country’s very best wines, so live a little and spoil yourself with a glass or two.
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