The Gentle Giant Among His Roses
The Gardener|March 2021
A lifetime love affair with roses has shaped this expansive farm garden.
Izolda van der Merwe

Location: Underberg countryside

Size of Garden: 1.2 hectares

Age of garden: 6 years

Kids: Gina and Logan 1200 roses

Shaun van Huyssteen has had a lifelong love of roses, and that is evident in his garden. This gentle giant, standing just under 7 foot tall, somehow finds time to nurture some 1200 roses as well as tend to his dairy farm, nestled just outside Underberg in the Southern Drakensberg.

His appreciation of roses stems from his grandfather, whose favourite rose was ‘Peace’, a hybrid tea rose with exceptionally large fragrant flowers. Growing up in Pietermaritzburg, Shaun’s visits to his grandparents in Swartberg inspired him to start selling roses on street corners at the age of 14, to earn pocket money. This was the start of a long friendship with Tarr Roses, and even today he and Linda Tarr regularly visit each other and collaborate on selling roses and advising new gardeners on rose care.

But all was not coming up roses for this family when they moved to their farm in Underberg. Their garden in Pietermaritzburg was a typical small town garden, so they were a bit overwhelmed when faced with their untamed new farm garden, with a forest of trees and horse camps dotted around it. Managing the dairy farm took up most of Shaun’s time, and it was only when their daughter, Gina, turned two that he found time to start focussing on the garden.

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