The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 5: Gardens in Asia, America, Africa, Australia

Garden design in South Africa

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4. Gardening in South Africa 829. Gardening, as an art of design and taste, can hardly be said to exist in a newly colonised country; nevertheless, when the Dutch took possession of the Cape of Good Hope, in the middle of the seventeenth century, a garden is described in Lackman's Travels of the Jesuits, vol. i. p. 37., and thus noticed by Sir William Temple:-'It contained nineteen acres, was of an oblong figure, very large extent, and divided into four quarters, by long and cross walks, ranged with all sorts of orange trees, lemons, limes, and citrons. Each of these four quarters is planted with the trees, fruits, flowers, and plants that are native and proper to each of the four parts of the world ; so that in this one enclosure, are to be found the several gardens of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. There could not be, in my mind, a greater thought of a gardener, nor a nobler idea of a garden, nor better suited or chosen for the climate.' Father de Premare says, 'it is one of the most beautiful spectacles in the world.' This garden was visited by Mr. Main in 1792, and he found it at that time used as a public mall. It was then rather neglected, except a small part appropriated to the private use of the governor. It was quite in the Dutch style, with quadrangular quarters, divided by walks, crossing each other at right angles. The oak and myrtle hedges are the principal ornaments of the place.