Other than being a farmer, the founder of Vergelegen, Willem Adriaan van der Stel, was also a botanist, a forester and a horticulturist. He wrote "The African Gardeners' and Agriculturists Calendar' of which much is still relevant to this day. The oldest oak tree in South Africa, the ancient White Mulberry tree and of course the five camphor trees gracing the front of the Homestead all bear testimony to his great horticultural talent.
After purchasing Vergelegen in 1987, Anglo American Farms Ltd restored the gardens and grounds in the Estate's historic core, based on the concept of retaining the best from all periods. The historic core, approximately 60 ha in extent, includes the Octagonal Garden, the surrounding gardens and lawns, oak parklands and oak plantation, camphor forest and open pastures. At no point is the garden visible in its entirety.
Landscape architect, the late Ian Ford, developed a theme of generous and intimate garden areas, contrasting the simple with the bold, the formal of the gardens with the informal of grasses and woodlands.
Resident horticulturist Richard Arm and his team continue to manicure these exquiste gardens and grounds, ensuring that each season brings new delights for visitors to the Estate.
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