The 2018 Trailfinders South African Wine Estate show garden at the Chelsea Flower Show was inspired by a holiday to South Africa. It featured a traditional homestead building with its characteristic Cape Dutch central gable, with steps leading off a pergola covered terrace and down into a pretty parterre garden. Walking through a gate in a low whitewashed wall led to a cultivated vineyard, and beyond, the rugged ‘fynbos’ landscape.
Despite being endemic to South Africa, fynbos vegetation is better known than one might at first think: Agapanthus, gladioli, pelargoniums and kniphofias are all popular UK garden plants, and South Africa exports many exotic cut flowers that would also be recognisable. Many fynbos plants were used in both the formal garden and the landscape.
The vineyard consisted of ancient gnarled vines, with a pretty cover crop of lupins, mustard and clover, acting as a green manure, planted between the rows.
There was also an area of fynbos that had recently been burned in a ‘veld’ fire. Fynbos has a remarkable ability to recover rapidly after a fire and this area showed the twisted, blackened and scorched remains of the fire gradually being replaced by colourful bulbs, fresh annual seedlings and resprouting plants.
This was our first ever Show Garden at any Flower Show and we were delighted to have been awarded a Silver Gilt medal.