Historically, the garden was planned to re-establish a small portion of Africa, enhancing local features and preserving local flora, supplementing it using other Indigenous South African species, particularly trees. Today’s gardening team continues to imitate nature, developing the garden in an environmentally sensitive manner so that it’s as remarkable now as it was in its pioneering days.
In its evolution, and in its harsh Nama Karoo setting, much of the planting at Mauritzfontein has been trial-and-error experimentation, much of it in the succulent garden on the northern garden koppie. In the end, understanding the vagaries of the local climate has allowed the garden team to successfully grow a range of succulents that bring botanical diversity to this extraordinary corner of the garden.
The gardens at Mauritzfontein are famous for their trees, many of them planted 50 to 60 years ago. Covering about 8 hectares, they provide an oasis of green in the dusty Kimberley veld, attracting birds and other wildlife. The woodland garden straddles a low koppie and, in the shade, provides a microclimate suitable for soft, romantic indigenous planting. A stream trickles through it, its waterfalls tumbling over the heaps of ysterklip that define the Kimberley landscape.
A vegetable garden has been successfully designed in a desert environment. Run on organic principles, it provides organic home-grown produce and fresh flowers for the farm. It’s typical of most formal vegetable gardens in that it works on a series of axes and quadrants. Importantly, it strikes a balance between beauty and utility, mixing vegetables, herbs and flowers. Today, it’s a sustainable, great looking African potager.