From One Generation To The Next
Home South Africa|November/December 2020
The Van Loveren gardens are a testimony to the Retief family’s passion and dedication over the decades.
Marie Esterhuyse
Nico and Shan Retief, their son Bussell and his wife Anne-Marie all live side by side on theVan Loveren family farm, where their two gardens are as good as one.

“Our garden and Bussell’s garden blend into one,” says Shan. “Ours was already 65 years old when I moved here.

“My mom-in-law Jean started her garden in 1939 after she married my father-in-law Hennie. About five years before she passed away in December 2002, my sister-in-law Penny and I took over the garden. After her death, Nico and I moved into the main house and planted a Cape chestnut in memory of Jean and Hennie because that’s what we do here – we plant trees to commemorate people and important occasions,” she says.

Although the garden has been passed down from generation to generation, each one developing and beautifying it during their time, it retains its original identity. “Each new generation may try to improve it but no one wants to change it,” says Shan. “It has a slightly updated look but we want the garden to be true to what it was in the early years when Jean created it.”

There is plenty of shade in the garden, due to the many large trees, with the hydrangeas beneath them a sight to behold in December. There are also fuchsias, tree ferns, clivias, camellias and the aptly named bloodleaf with its red foliage.

From October, the rose garden is a spectacle; ‘Just Joey’, ‘Double Delight’ and ‘South Africa’ are among the favourites. Other plants growing with the roses in the sunny beds include hibiscus, day lily, arum lily, agapanthus and foxglove, with an edging of pansies. Since the garden is so large and plants always need replacing, the Retiefs propagate new plants from cuttings and seeds or multiply them by division.

Nico’s hibiscus

Shan says gardening is in the Retiefs’ blood. “We are farm kids, through and through. The entire family is passionate about gardening.”

Since Nico no longer farms full time, he also helps in the garden and has developed a passion for hibiscus. “The abundant blooms on the shrub in front of our house fascinated him so much that he started buying these shrubs wherever we went,” Shan recalls. “We have shrubs in 30 different colours in the garden. Nico even started grafting some with different coloured flowers on one tree –heloves it when people can’t figure out how there can be blooms in three different colours on one shrub.”

Nico’s vegetable garden is also a hit; he enjoys sharing it with his daughters-in-law and their families. But they do have help in the large farm garden. “Sakkie Fortuin lends a hand. He’s astalwart who loves plants and he has the most beautiful garden himself. Maryna Booysen and Wilma Tromp keep the garden tidy and about twice ayear Iget in extra help during the busiest periods,” says Shan.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM HOME SOUTH AFRICAView All

Ocean treasure

This Cape Cod-style beach house is richly layered with coastal colours, art and mementos that reflect the life story of the homeowners.

3 mins read
Home South Africa
December 2020/January 2021

‘My house, My Haven'

In search of her ideal home, this designer found a ‘treehouse’ that ticks all the right boxes...

6 mins read
Home South Africa
December 2020/January 2021

A fresh look

The most beautiful mosaic border for a new cement floor, and a facelift for an old built-in braai – all with a lick of paint!

2 mins read
Home South Africa
December 2020/January 2021

No Pain, No Gain

Is it vanity or masochism, wonders Karin Brynard, that drives one back to the sweaty trenches in the gym every new year?

3 mins read
Home South Africa
December 2020/January 2021

Sushi Sandwiches

Use your favourite ingredients to make delicious Japanese-inspired onigirazu. Master the folding technique and surprise your family with a picnic!

2 mins read
Home South Africa
December 2020/January 2021

Animal Antics

WIN! featured here wins a Deluxe Car Seat Hammock or an XL K9 Camper from Wagworld (wagworld.co.za); available from leading vet and pet shops.

3 mins read
Home South Africa
December 2020/January 2021

Move In & Improve!

Sutherland’s first parsonage was meticulously restored to its former glory – then a ‘witch’ took up residence.

3 mins read
Home South Africa
December 2020/January 2021

Aim For The Stars!

Add a celestial touch to your own space.

2 mins read
Home South Africa
December 2020/January 2021

In a jiffy

This classic table will be ready to dine at before the chicken comes out of the oven!

2 mins read
Home South Africa
November/December 2020

Christmas And A Sermon Without Words

This time every year, one’s life becomes a hectic rush towards the festive deadline, writes Karin Brynard. And quiet rest becomes the stuff of dreams.

3 mins read
Home South Africa
November/December 2020