All to often we look for something unusual to do over a weekend and end up at a mall or coffee shop. Well a less usual activity loomed on the horizon when I acquired a leaflet from an organisation known as “Gardens of the Golden City “ www.gardensof thegoldencity.co.za .
They have a programme of large gardens spread throughout Johannesburg and surrounds where the owners actually open their homes to the public, for a small fee you can spend a few hours browsing the immaculately tended gardens and thoroughly enjoy the time out in the open- the monies are all donated to nominated charities.
The properties tend to be large and well wooded with beautiful old houses and buildings, the Rodean School is also included and every year they offer the “Blooming Affair” Gardens and Craft Market Day where you get the opportunity to roam amongst the Herbert Baker Buildings which are complemented by flower beds filled with a variety of indigenous and exotic plants. At the same time you can visit the craft market, food stalls and “champagne bar” The school is well over a 100 years old and well worth h a visit- the event is generally in the first week of October so the Gardens are at their best.
On open days most gardens also sell teas and snacks with the funds going to the allocated charities so there is always an opportunity to snack and quench one’s thirst.
Our most recent visit was slightly further afield to “Michelle’s Garden in nearby Irene, the garden is set on 10 acres and features ponds, ornamental statues, lush lawns and large shady trees.
There are also numerous architectural features and swans on two of the ponds. When you park you will notice an unusual stone pyramid and as you progress you will find an Italianate style tower in the centre of a large pond. On the day we were also able to buy flowers and potting soil and on the main verandah tea, coffee, cakes and a variety of snacks were on sale with the proceeds going to “Animals in Distress”.
It’s something different but well worth the effort , a different take on an urban terrain!