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Rare Plant Fair 2011 at Rustenberg Wines

This morning I had the privilege of attending the Autumn Rare Plant Fair 2011 at Rustenberg Wines in Stellenbosch in the glorious Cape Winelands. A friend had invited me and we set off early this morning as the drive to Stellenbosch is about 45 minutes and we wanted to get there early before all the good plants were sold out. And I’m so glad we did. By the time we arrived at 9.00 am parking was already difficult and the grounds were teeming with plant lovers from all over the Cape. This annual Rare Plant Fair was once again held at Rustenberg Wines. Twenty-five specialist growers were selling their plants directly to the gardening public. Tea, coffee and a variety of eats were available under the oaks, and special discounts on Rustenberg wines were available to purchase by wine lovers.

Held at Rustenberg Wine Estate, the setting was beautiful. The weather was perfect, a lovely sunny day, no wind, temperature in the high 20’s (C), and the plants on offer were simply gorgeous. I could have spent a small fortune had I taken more cash. (cash was king here, no credit card machines available). We wondered around and “oohed” and “aahed” at all the fabulous plants available (The variety of Day lillies and Orchids available were hugely impressive). I recognised many plants from books but the only plant I saw that I see regularly at the nurseries I frequent was Clivia, and at a much better price! I have plenty of Clivia in my back shade garden, so those weren’t of interest to me today. It was the rare Irises, rare, endangered and vulnerable and other special plants I was after. We shopped and then enjoyed some cake and coffee under the oaks and then … we bought some more!

Ryan bought a few bulbs, a beautiful peach coloured Rhododendron, a whole batch of Irises and the same white flowering plant I bought (Anemone). I bought a whole bunch of rare bulbs (have written about my bulb ‘haul’ here: Rare indigenous bulbs), a beautiful grass – Panicum Virgatum “Shenandoah” and a few Irises. The “Stanley Blue” Irises we bought were VERY expensive. (R150.00 each). Apparantly these have just become available and a search on the Internet returns no results so it seems this may well be true. We also bought “Colorific” and “Sinfonietta” Irises – all beautiful variations of blue Irises. I’m really excited about planting these in my garden! Lastly, I got a little four-leaf clover for R20.00. I couldn’t resist – its supposed to be lucky, right? I felt quite “lucky” getting all these gorgeous plants!

Here are some of my purchases:

[one_half]Pretty white flowersPretty white flowers[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The IrisesThe Irises[/one_half_last]

[one_half]My rare bulb stashMy rare bulb stash[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The four-leaf cloverFour-leaf clover[/one_half_last]

Now I’m off to do some more reading up on my new rare bulbs which include Geissorhiza radiens, Gladiolus alatas and Moraea villosa … just to mention a few. Such interesting sounding names!

Note about the Autumn Rare Plant Fair 2011:
This was the first time I’ve ever attended anything like this. I thought it was very well organised, the setting was splendid, the variety of plants was fantastic, the people (staff, exhibitors and atendees) were all very friendly and the atmosphere was great. The huge variety of Orchids and Day Lillies available was outstanding … wish I’d had lots more cash with me. Next time I will save up for a month or two so I have LOTS more cash with me! I’ll definitely go again.

Ryan, thanks so much for taking me! I thoroughly enjoyed the day!

Photo Gallery: (I apologise for the very poor quality of the photos – I took my small point-and-click camera and the photographs are really poor. But you get the idea …)

About Rustenberg Wines:
“Enter the gates of Rustenberg with a sense of anticipation. The historic farm, sheltered by the Simonsberg, is a Cape gem that has welcomed visitors since 1682 …” For anyone that is interested in seeing more of this beautiful Wine Estate, here is the link to their website: or you can find out more about the region at Cape Winelands.

By Christine

Dominated by large trees on a medium sized property, my garden is very shaded. With no “full sun” areas I have to plant shade and partial shade loving plants. I love shrubs and flowers including camellias and azaleas but Roses and Irises are my favourite and getting these to thrive is a challenge …

27 replies on “Rare Plant Fair 2011 at Rustenberg Wines”

HI Christine, I was farming in Zimbabwe and had to leave my beautiful collection of plants I am looking for a fern with shot lacy leaves and any other ferns that is available then the plant eucharis grandiflora {amazon lily] , My grandmother had a pot plant with the name of Mary’s tears it was a big roundish leave with yellowish spots. I was away and did not see your reply to my previous request. I will contact the nurseries that you mentioned if you know of any one els please let me know. Regards Sadie

I am wondering, could some please tell my where I can get info on the nursery which sold Nepenthes hookeriana plants? Would love to visit the nursery but do not know which nursery it is, nor where they are situated. The one was Van den Berg’s Garden Village and the other I do not know, but the other one had a variety of Nymphaea species aswell. Hope someone can help me.

Thank you for the help

Hi Andries

I dont know which nursery it is, but this is the list of exhibitors who were at the fair:

Specialist Growers at Rare Plant Fair 2011

African Bulbs
Bloemendal Nursery
Caledon Fynbos
Cape Flats Fynbos
Country Lane Nursery
Exotic Plant Company (orchids)
Fairholme Nursery
4 Plants
Fresh Woods (rhododendrons, shade plants, etc)
Gravel Garden
Jim Holmes (bulbs, etc)
John Winter (clivias)
Keurbos Nursery (vireya rhododendrons, Japanese maples, camellias)
Klein Optenhorst (salvia specialist)
Longbarn Nursery
Pink Geranium
Mountain Whisper Herbs
Plant Culture
Rob’s bromeliads
Rooiklip Nursery
Selecta Succulents
Silverhill Seeds
Silverleaf Nursery
Stellenberg Gdns
Van den Berg Garden Village
Veld and Fynbos
West Coast Aloes
West Coast Flora

I hoe that helps?

Thank you Christine. Do not know which nursery it was yet but I will find them a little easier now 😀 Does anyone specialize in aquatic plants?


We are specialised with aquatic plants and altough we were also exhibiting at the rare plant fair, our name does not appear.
Please feel free to email or contact me directly on o72 1540 717



Thanks Ryan, I’ve added Jim’s details to my post about the bulbs I bought too in case anyonbe wants to contact him. I had a look at his site – I’m thinking now that perhaps I don’t have enough Clivias … some yellow and near-white Clivias might be just the thing I need after all!

The place looked great and fun with those plants and flowers in abundance. I would have hauled a whole lot too if I were to be there….just like going to nursuries…cant resist them! Looking forward to the beautiful blooms from those bulbs you bought.

Sounds like you had a fruitful trip. Good luck with the bulbs, I hope you’ll let us know how they fare and show us photographs.

Hi Chris, sounds like you had a fabulous day! Count me in next time, even if it is just for the outing. Happy planting!

Oh Barbs, you have NO idea how much research I’m having to do (I can hear experienced gardeners laughing!). the bulbs I bought are all rare or vulnerable so I now feel this huge responsibility to make them thrive successfully and they all need special somethings!!! This is going to be a serious commitment on my part to make it work. I almost wish I hadn’t bought them. Not really – it’s a challenge and I’m committed … But now I have to go get new special stuff!! Terra-cotta pots for some, plastic for others, special sizes pots etc, etc. I bought the book in the Kirstenbosch gardening series some time ago called “grow bulbs” by Graham Duncan and it’s proving hugely useful now. Very exact details for all my bulbs, so hopefully I get it right 🙂

Missed this one, but last year we got a Japanese maple, a yellow red hot poker, a new cultivar yellow aloe and vlei lily bulbs. It was only the second time we went there, that I realised there is a magnificent garden. Did you see that?

Hi Diana – No, silly me, I didn’t see the garden. I only realised they had a garden when I got back home and googled them! I will have to go again just to see that garden. There is a lovely gallery of it on their website. Wish I had known about it before. So you also got good things there. I think its a “must” on the gardening calender here in the Cape 🙂

I wish I had known about this. Where do they advertise it? I look forward to reading about your bulbs you got.

Hi Kelly – I don’t know, I was invited by a friend – I’d never heard of it before and not sure I would have paid attention if it wasn’t recommended to me. I can tell you this though – having been once, I won’t miss this again. It was really a great day out, a lovely atmosphere and great plants!

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