This magnificent garden in the Great Karoo welcomes guests by putting its best foot forward, just like a gracious hostess on an African farm would when she lays her table with the old family silver and her finest table linen.
In a fertile valley fed by streams of water running down the northern slopes of the mighty Swartberg mountain range, a blooming farm garden is a total contradiction to the proverbial harshness of the Great Karoo…
One of the sayings by Afrikaans poet and author C.J. Langenhoven (loosely translated by me) is, “There are folks who can do what they want, but it is those people who will do what they can”. The beautiful garden of Mirtehof Guest Farm Estate in Prince Albert, which was built up from nothing in only two and a half years, is proof of this saying.
Prince Albert has a rich history that even includes a short gold rush and royal influences. Once home to many eccentric and weird characters, the pretty town nowadays attracts artists and creative souls who exchanged the rat race of large cities for a more serene and relaxed existence in the country. Dr. Bets Janse van Rensburg, one of the owners of Mirtehof, has a long history with Prince Albert, and when the property came on the market she and her spouse, Stevan Möller, bought it with the dream of creating a guest house, and later retiring there. After enlarging the main farm house and completing the building of guest cottages, they could start the planning of Bets’s dream garden – a garden in honour and in remembrance of the charming farm gardens she knew as a youngster. Stevan did some research about the history of Mirtehof in the Fransie Pienaar museum in town, and found letters more than a 100-years old that described the then garden of Mirtehof as a lush and productive farm garden filled with roses, flowers and fruit trees. Unfortunately the garden succumbed to neglect and ruin during the ostrich feather boom.
The engine room fired up!
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