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Starke Ayres Garden Centre Visit

My favourite outing – going to buy plants at my best-loved nursery – Starke Ayres Garden Centre. If anyone has it, they do! A great selection of seeds and seedlings (where I always go to first!) Every plant I have bought here has been well nurtured and tenderly cared for, from the supplier to the helping hands at Starke Ayres Garden Centre.

My first impression was that they support organic gardening, first and foremost. The variety of all things natural – from feeds to pesticides – is heart warming and gives me a secure feeling that I can confidently shop and find what I am looking for. The huge barrel of organic worm tea on tap was a great addition and if I didn’t have my own worm farm, I would be tapping this tea for sure!! The best compost can only be found here – Reliance. When I started my organic gardening, I did a lot of research on compost and the one that came out tops was RELIANCE. The ONLY nursery that originally stocked it was Starke Ayres. So, for being the most progressive in organic gardening…. I shop here  a lot.

[one_half]Set in the suburbs of Cape Town[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Great pots and garden accessories[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Indigenous plants display is beautiful[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Seedlings is where I spend my money[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Always full of colour when entering the nursery[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Worm Tea! Keeping abreast with best practices[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Best selection of seeds anywhere![/one_half]

[one_half_last]A true variety for all gardens and homes[/one_half_last]

I forgot to mention that they also have a popular tea garden, with great food and great coffee – so do yourself a favour and spend an afternoon at Starke Ayres Garden Centre, in Rondebosch Cape Town!

To find out more about Starke Ayres, link here.

Happy gardening xxx

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Reviews

My Visit to Seebauer Garden Centre in Munich, Germany

I’ve just returned from a two-week trip to Munich in Germany which included a two-day stop in Paris on the way home. Of all the fabulous things we did and saw over the two weeks, for me, a visit to Seebauer Garten Center was one of the highlights. Even if you are not a plant-nerd, this Nursery is impressive, not just for the sheer size and scale of the offerings but for the quality and presentation of plants. I didn’t take my good camera with me but the little Canon Ixus managed to capture some of the outstanding features of the Nursery, but regretfully, not the size and scale of it all.

Seebauer Garden Center

The multi award-winning Nursery was awarded “Bestes Gardencenter Deutschlands” in 2005, 2006 and again in 2008 and wow! it shows! Started in 1864 by Georg Seebauer, today it is still run by the family. The love of plants instilled in her ‘in the crib’, the Nursery today is run by his family, at this time by Gertraud Gerstenkorn and her husband Lutz and their son, Bernhard.

Lets take a look around …

[one_half]At the entrance to SeebauerAt the entrance to Seebauer[/one_half]

[one_half_last]I love what they’ve done with these potsI love what they've done with these pots[/one_half_last]

[one_half]A look at the potted plant sectionFirst look at the potted plant section[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Loved these “soft pots” (fancy grow bags)Loved these "soft pots" (fancy grow bags)[/one_half_last]

[one_third]Potted plants displayPotted plants display[/one_third]

[one_third]More potted plantsMore potted plants[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Ginkgo BilobaGinko Biloba[/one_third_last]

[one_half]A highlight for me … the Tree NurseryA highlight for me ... the Tree Nursery[/one_half]

[one_half_last]A fabulous Autumn showing of AcerA fabulous Autumn showing of Acer[/one_half_last]

[one_half]This display was simply beautiful This display was simply beautiful [/one_half]

[one_half_last]I really, really want one of these!I really, really want one of these![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Bamboo – We thought of you, Alan 🙂Bamboo - We thought of you, Alan :)[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Beautiful grasses – a stunning displayBeautiful grasses - a stunning display[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Rows and rows and rows …Rows and rows and rows ...[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And more rows of beautiful plantsAnd more rows of beautiful plants[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Beautifully displayed plants …Beautifully displayed plants ...[/one_half]

[one_half_last]I came away inspired and full of ideasI came away inspired and full of ideas[/one_half_last]

[one_half]This was my favourite display – ‘Heide’This was my favourite display - 'Heide'[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Lots of ideas and beautiful plantsLots of ideas and beautiful plants[/one_half_last]

Looking back at these photographs I now wish I had taken the fancy camera. I have really not done justice to this impressive Nursery with my amateurish photos. The Tree Nursery, for example, spreads out at the back of the centre and looks like a little forest – row upon row of magnificent trees, all in their finest Autumn wear. It was a beautiful sight. I could have bought so much …

We stopped off for tea at the Cafeteria which was upstairs and afforded a birds eye-view of the centre (and a few little birdies joined us for tea).

[one_half]My Mom getting us tea at the CafeteriaMy Mom getting us tea at the Cafeteria[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Even the grown-ups keep texting!!Even the grown-ups keep texting!![/one_half_last]

[one_half]In the Cafeteria at SeebauerIn the Cafeteria at Seebauer[/one_half]

[one_half_last]A view from the top levelA view from the top level[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Another view from the upper levelAnother view from the upper level[/one_half]

[one_half_last]They had plenty of Roses on displayThey had plenty of Roses on display[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Everything here is accurately labelledEverything here is accurately labelled[/one_half]

[one_half_last]An impressive range of hardwareAn impressive range of hardware[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Rows and rows of pots and decorRows and rows of pots and decor[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Not a speck of dust, anywhereNot a speck of dust, anywhere[/one_half_last]

I had to get special permission to take photographs which was given to me after I had signed a register and explained that I was a tourist from South Africa. It took incredible self-restraint not to go completely crazy in here. I could honestly have bought so much if I were allowed to bring this back to South Africa. Sadly, it is not permitted to bring plant material back home, understandably so. But it was great fun imagining and I came home with lots of ideas. First one is that I absolutely have to get an Acer Palmatum for my garden. They thrive in the same conditions that Azaleas do well in, so it seems like a no-brainer for my garden. And perhaps a Ginkgo Biloba too? How beautiful they looked together here.

[one_half]The Orchid display was impressiveThe Orchid display was iimpressive[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Orchids seemingly everywhereOrchids seemingly everywhere[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Orchids and accessoriesOrchids and accessories[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Start of the fake flower sectionStart of the fake flower section[/one_half_last]

I did buy a few odds and ends of the non-plant variety. They had an impressive ‘Christmas Shop’ and I couldn’t resist a grow bag. My daughter’s wish for artificial Cherry Blossoms was realised – they had the most impressive range of silk flowers I have ever seen. I’m not a lover of fake flowers, but these impressed even me, so I squashed and bent 10 huge sprays of fake cherry blossoms into my luggage and after 24 hours of resting they are standing tall and proud, ready for a massive glass vase – Daughter loves them! I think I do to …

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Harry Goemans Garden Centre – a review

Harry Goemans Garden CentreAbout two weeks ago Barbie and I took a drive to Noordhoek to visit Harry Goemans Garden Centre. I’d read about the nursery somewhere and it was on my list of nurseries to visit and then Harry himself offered me some advice by commenting on this blog so we decided it was time to make the effort and travel the few extra kilometres to see what we could find.

About a forty-five minute, very scenic drive from my home to Noordhoek, we found Harry Goemans Garden Centre quite easily, situated on the Kommetjie Road in Sunnydale. The view from the road of the nursery is unimpressive but first impressions were soon put aside once we entered the garden centre. We found a stunning nursery with lovely, well cared for plants and an interesting range of paving slabs and related concrete items (such as edgings, cobbles, sleeper steps), many of which I believe they manufacture themselves which would account for the prices being very reasonable.

We did a quick run through the nursery to see what was on offer and then a shower of rain motivated us to seek refuge in the most charming little coffee shop they have on site, called Easy Dig Café. It was warm and cosy with a roaring fire creating a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. After a few cups of coffee and wonderful croissants, we were recharged and ready to “shop”. (Seriously, the coffee shop alone is worth a stop if you are in the area). We wandered around the nursery picking up plants and immediately had someone carrying and sorting our plants for us (the service was unobtrusive, helpful and great! 10 out 10 for that) and I was delighted to see a lot of plants I’ve been looking for available for sale here.

They have a wide variety of hardy, indigenous plants on offer as well as lots of exotics. I saw a lovely selection of Hellebores (very nice size plants which are obviously more mature than the ones I bought – they are only the second general nursery I’ve found them at, but the first with such large, healthy looking specimens), lovely large sized Clivias, of course the usual Camellias and Azaleas I’m seeing at all the nurseries at the moment. I was impressed by the condition of their plants. For the past few weeks I’ve had difficulty buying anything at my weekly visit to the two usual nurseries I frequent – simply because I’m seeing the “same ol’ same ol'” plants there every week, and everything is looking a bit tired and “wintry-fied”. Not so at Harry’s – I managed to part with a good amount of cash simply because they had a number different plants there that I had on my list of “thing to buy” and the plants all looked great!

As can be expected they offer pots and planters of all shapes and sizes, hardware and garden tools, gifts and décor accessories, a dedicated irrigation supplies department, and all the garden necessities like fertilisers, composts and mulches you expect to find at a one stop garden centre.

Was there anything I didn’t like? Not really – I couldn’t fault them but I was a bit disappointed in the selection of grasses. I would have liked a larger selection and didn’t find any of the grasses I’m looking for. But I suspect this is the wrong time of year to expect a great selection of ornamental grasses at any nursery in the Western Cape.

[one_half]Easy Dig CaféEasy Dig Cafe[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Shade plantsShade plants[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Exotic shrubsExotic shrubs[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Interesting nik-naksInteresting nik-naks[/one_half_last]

For the record:
We did not announce ourselves, they were unaware of who we were and this is an unsolicited review of a nursery I will travel the extra kilometres to visit again!

Where to find them:
Harry Goemans Garden Centre, Kommetjie Road, Sunnydale, Noordhoek.
Telephone: +27 (0)21 785-3201

Flickr Photo Gallery

(Photographs © Barbara Mueller-Thiart)

Happy Gardening

Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous Reviews

The Cape Garden Centre Review

I so looked forward to Friday, because my best friend was coming over and we were going to take a trip to The Cape Garden Centre in Joostenburgvlakte (just past Kraaifontein) for the day. It was another sweltering hot day, but we had aircon in the car (thank goodness!) and the drive was pleasant because we never have enough to talk about. I have been there before, but it was Christine’s first visit. It is quite a distance out of town, so it definitely needs to be a day outing. It was very quite when we were there but I would imagine that the weekends are packed with families and garden lovers. They have a huge parking area and enough staff members to show you where you need to go.

[one_half]Cape Garden Centre 1[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cape Garden Centre 2[/one_half_last]

I enjoyed the fact that nearly the whole nursery area is under shadecloth and the misters kept us and the plants cool. It was a terribly hot day, but I never felt uncomfortable while browsing and walking around. Some of the plants, though, did show signs of the heat!

[one_half]Cape Garden Centre 3[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cape Garden Centre 4[/one_half_last]

The entrance was clearly marked and it welcomes all garden lovers to a Utopia of everything garden-y. Everything was neatly set out and easily identified – they had the price tags clearly visible and the specials were in specific areas with huge signs. The plants were plentiful and in very good condition. It was a pity that I was not there to shop for plants that day! I was looking for structural garden stuff – a trellis, ½ barrels for potplants and an obelisk for my tomatoes. Unfortunately, I left there with none of them.

[one_half]Cape Garden Centre 5[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cape Garden Centre 6[/one_half_last]

We did have a chance to look at the landscaped areas to get some good ideas for my garden – Christine’s garden already has a beautiful structure. Mine needs a lot of work, so any inspiration helps!

The Cape Garden Centre also caters for the kids with a huge Bugz playpark and the Bamboo restaurant also has a play area so the parents can take a breather. The service there was a bit slow, but the food was tasty. The restrooms were large and clean and I always take notice of them where ever I go.

I had my eye on a specific tree, while I was there, because of its soft branches and hunted for it in the Tree section. I had very little difficulty in finding it. All the trees were in good condition and the heights varied from 1m to 3m. I must say that all the plants were easily identifiable and the boards also assisted the shoppers with all the information you need to know about the plant – if they like full sun or sandy soil.

[one_half]Cape Garden Centre 7[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cape Garden Centre 9[/one_half_last]

At the Cape Garden Centre, they have a large selection of pots, but none of them that suited the two of us. There was also a quaint alley with gift shops, an art gallery and a pet store for those who were not there for the plants!

[one_half]Cape Garden Centre 10[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cape Garden Centre 11[/one_half_last]

The indoor section was large with all the knick-knacks you can buy for your indoor plants – it even had a koi fish area. Pots, plants, sprays, fertilizers – they had most everything available – even the worm farm paraphernalia.  I still only left with two plants!  I did buy mulch though and Christine found bulbs and enough to fill a boot, so it was a successful outing.

[one_half]Cape Garden Centre 12[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cape Garden Centre 8[/one_half_last]

The staff were friendly and helpful and I know that I will definitely take a road trip there again. The distance, however, will prevent me from making it a habit.

Thank you Cape Garden Centre.

Contact details:

Cape Garden Centre

Tel: +27 (0)21 988 4137



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Ferndale Nurseries – a review

Ferndale NurseriesI went to Ferndale Nurseries (yes again!) this afternoon and this time I remembered to take my camera (not the fancy, good one, just a little point and click – I didn’t want to look like a tourist). I always enjoy going to Ferndale – even when they are busy as they were today, the service is great and the selection is superb.

I had no particular agenda today other than perhaps buying a few annuals to plant in a very shady spot out back, so I spent the better part of an hour walking around and clicking away. I arrived an hour before closing time so there weren’t many annuals left to choose from, but I managed to purchase a few.

I bought some more Alyssum to fill blank spaces in the front, Impatiens to replace the ones that got trampled and a first for me … 2 trays of Begonias. I’ve never grown these before and am not even sure I like them a lot, but the tray says they will do well in partial shade so I have a home for them! The ones I bought have light green foliage with white flowers. I also picked up a Sweet Basil to plant with my thriving Tomato plant … and a “Peppermint Plant” that I couldn’t resist because it smelt wonderful and a few other little things. I’ll post the photographs of my latest acquisitions tomorrow … its a good thing I have a big enough garden or what would I spend my money on 🙂

Ferndale Nurseries lies in the crook of Brommersvlei Road in the heart of Constantia. It’s been around for 75 years and the nursery is crammed with a litany of plants, herbs and even vegetable seedlings.

Ferndale Nurseries have been the nursery “behind all of the gardens” in the Constantia Valley for 65 years providing the backing for a green and beautiful valley. Ferndale with its 7 acre nursery offers gardeners a wide range of superior quality plants, water features, garden irrigation and excellent advice from friendly staff. A kids play area with a duck pond and an aviary makes garden shopping enjoyable for the whole family.

For Families with kids, there are also ducks, fish, rabbits, an enviable aviary and a play area that includes a sand pit, swings, slides and a jungle gym – most of these you will find in the lower reaches of the nursery alongside a pond where a host of noisy ducks and geese hang out, waiting for feeding time. There’s plenty of shade,  benches for moms and dads, and a pretty little lavender maze. There’s just no tea room…

[one_half]This is where the catch me, everytime …Great displays[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Incredible ediblesIncredible Edibles[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lovely RosesLovely Roses[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Beautiful ornamental grassesBeautiful grasses[/one_half_last]

Ferndale Nurseries Photo Gallery: View the slide show:

Or click here to see them on Flickr: Ferndale Nurseries on