This weekend’s Autumn Garden Show at The Herb Farm in Midrand is aiming low, or – you could say – it is hoping to attract plenty of pint-sized gardeners.
A new feature of the show, from Friday to Sunday, is the Starke Ayres kids’ zone, with loads of space for children to take part in free, interactive planting demos. They will learn how to plant seeds, then take the pot plant home to watch it grow.
There will be daily colouring-in competitions with prizes from Stark Ayres.
“These days people have so little time to be with their kids in the garden,” explains Tanya Visser, editor of The Gardener magazine that is presenting the show. “So we wanted to create a space and time for kids and the whole family to enjoy a day among beautiful gardens and to get their hands dirty!”
Young gardeners can also burn off excess energy on an obstacle course, jungle gyms and by exploring the educational gardens, having fun whilst learning.
At The Herb Shed studio there are creative activities, like cooking and crafting demos, costing R50 per child. On Saturday and Sunday, supervised pony rides by Pony Perfection through the beautiful gardens will be held from 10am until 1pm, costing R20 per ride.
Heirloom tomato tasting by Living Seeds will be held at 11am each day. Don’t just think red, there will be black, yellow, orange, white and green tomatoes, of every shape and size. It’s a good way to decide what tomatoes suit your family’s taste.
Lovers of roses can explore the large scented rose garden that has been planted in swathes of harmonising colours, and then learn all about rose growing from expert Ludwig Taschner at 1pm on Saturday.
Roses will be for sale at the plant market, where customers can browse among stands for every type of indoor and outdoor plant – from spectacular displays of orchids and irises, to water-wise succulents, water-loving pond plants and a superb collection of indigenous plants from Random Harvest nursery, run by Linda de Luca, the doyenne of indigenous gardening in Gauteng.
The shopping avenues will also be filled with crafts, gardening goodies and eco-friendly products to encourage soil health, save water and deal with troublesome pests without harming the birds, bees and butterflies.
A first-time exhibitor is Just Berry Plants, which aims to make berry growing easy. Sisters with green fingers, Linda Wainman and Beverly Klein, not only offer a wide selection of organic berries but also teach gardeners how to grow berries successfully, with starter kits, advice on Facebook and follow-up emails for encouragement.
Their range includes three different fruiting seasons of blueberries (early, medium and late fruiting), raspberries, Tayberries (a cross between blackberry and raspberry), thornless blackberry, cranberries and some unusual varieties, like goji and Aronia, both super-fruits.
To that range they’ve added unusual fruit trees like the custard apple, cherry guava, arabica coffee trees, sub-tropical fruit trees and a variety of nuts.
All the talks are free (covered by the entrance fee) and there are daily talks by garden experts Anna Celliers and Tanya Visser, who always add lots of humour to the serious business of gardening.
A series of inter-linked designer herb gardens created by Louis van Aswegen and Doug Watson of Healthy Living Herbs provide a beautiful backdrop to the show. These include themed organic kitchen herb gardens, an indigenous medicinal herb garden and the spiral labyrinth garden, with guided walks.
From the shaded, wooden deck overlooking the herb gardens, weary showgoers can refresh with a botanical gin, lunch or tea at the MayFord Gin Garden.
- The Herb Farm is at 264 Summit Road, Midrand
- Open from 9am to 5pm daily (final gate entry at 4pm)
- Tickets are R80 for adults, R65 for pensioners and children under 12, while children who fit under the giant daisy get in for R10.
- Discounted online tickets available at webtickets.co.za
- For more information visit gardenshow.co.za