The Gardens Of Stone Cottage
The Gardener|September 2020
“We knew Bedford and its special magic, so it was our first port of call when we were looking for our new home. Stone Cottage sat on the edge of the village, overlooking the mountains, and with the best sunsets in Bedford.”

The gardens of Stone Cottage in Bedford are the culmination of a long personal and physical journey by the owners, Tony and Lesley. They relocated to South Africa from the UK in 2009, but it was only in 2016 that they moved to the Karoo and found the home they had been looking for.

Compared to the 13 acres they gardened in the UK, Stone Cottage sits on a tiny piece of land, only 1100m2. However, as Tony and Lesley are not the spring chickens they used to be and as they always do everything in the garden themselves, a smaller property makes more sense. What really appealed to the couple, apart from the location, was that the cottage sits in the exact center of the plot, so the garden wraps around the cottage, making it feel much larger than it is.

When they arrived at their new home in the middle of winter, the new owners were greeted by a very dry, rather barren and sorry-looking garden. Although the previous owner had been a keen gardener, the garden was planted mostly with deciduous trees and shrubs, making winter a bit depressing.

Situated in the Karoo, as Bedford is, water for the garden was obviously going to be an issue, especially as the property had no borehole and just a single JoJo tank. Tony and Lesley realized that they would have to address the question of water if they were going to put their own stamp on the garden, so they decided to install a borehole. Even that was a challenge, though, and the borehole driller’s promise of “next month” turned into a 15-month wait! Being impatient to get on, the water problem was put aside and remodeling the garden began.

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