GARDEN OF ST CHRISTOPHER, HYDE PARK
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
GARDEN OF ST CHRISTOPHER
The Garden of St Christopher in Hyde Park Johannesburg was designed and developed over a 5 year period. The architecture of the house and the ancestry of the owners pointed to an Italianate garden with English overtones. Originally a 3 acre garden it grew to a 7 acre garden estate when the adjoining property was purchased. The challenge was to seamlessly join the two properties as if it were always one. Rare plant collections were amassed and extensive research was undertaken, including visits to gardens in both England and Italy for inspiration.
Jacaranda trees flank the 20m long Pergola that is clothed with clematis and wisteria and was inspired by Iford Manor, a jewel of a garden designed by Harold Peto. From this elevation one can best appreciate the architectonic design of the Renaissance inspired Parterre below of low buxus hedges that are balanced by the vertical spires of the cypresses.
The azalea bowl and Oval Reflection Pond were inspired by iconic designer Russell Page, in particular a pond he designed for Babe Paley at Kiluna Farm in Long Island.
The Stumpery was inspired by the one at HRH Prince Charles's property at Highgrove designed by award winning team I&J Bannerman. The space here lent itself to a woodland feel and extraordinary crystals and minerals were incorporated adding a vibrant energy to this part of the garden with forests of foxgloves and tree ferns lining the wooden walkway. The hub of this corner is the Tigers-eye Cascade and Bog Garden which together are the lungs that naturally filter and oxygenate the 3 waterfeatures that are part of a closed system fed by gravity.
Above the stumpery is the Meadow open to the sky with mown paths that are bisected by a sinuous river of Louisana Irises. In front of the house stretches the emerald green Tapis Vert framed on the right by the 30 meter deep Blue Herbaceous Border. It is grounded by mounds of grey clipped teucrium and curved hedges of buxus frame plantings of lofty flowering perennials including swathes of delphiniums, salvias, verbascum, campanula, foxgloves, obediant plant and agapanthus.
The entire garden was run on organic principals and was designed with sustainability in mind and as far as possible everything was re-used. With the intention of attracting as much wild life as possible, a bird garden was designed for one corner with owl boxes installed in trees, a scented butterfly and bee garden ensured healthy pollination and soon local populations of chameleons and other local widelife inhabited quiet corners.