The winners of the corporate and water wise categories of the PE Express and Die Burger’s PE Garden of the Year competition say they were thrilled and surprised to have beaten many worthy opponents.

The competition was tough, but eventually the four judges – Louw Lochner of Remax Independent Walmer, Carmel Wolf of Sherwood Garden Centre, Wayne Hackart of Out of Africa Stone and Mimi Rupp of SmartStone – singled out two gardens.

James and Hillary Bolton (Walmer Forest Hall Bed & Breakfast) were named the winners of the corporate garden category, while André and Ingrid Blom of Lovemore Heights took top honours in the water wise section of the competition.

The Boltons entered the competition on a whim in the hope of generating publicity for their business, and they are elated with the result. James says their aim with the design was to make the garden complement the guesthouse.

“We wanted to create a home away from home for our guests,” he explains. “This carries through to the garden. It is a tranquil and relaxed area, despite its size.”

His favourite feature of the garden is the swimming pool. “We saw a swimming pool in Italy some years ago and we copied it here. It is designed as a Roman bath and it draws many comments from our guests.

“The tiles surrounding the edge were individually hand-painted according to an Italian design. It even won us a pool-building award years ago,” he says.

He believes each gardener must design his or her garden according to personal taste. “Our garden is very much the result of trial and error. I don’t really have a winning recipe to pass on.”

André and Ingrid Blom are very pleased with their achievement in the water wise category.

“We didn’t think to enter, but our daughter brought us the entry form,’ says Ingrid. “One tends to think that other people’s gardens are more attractive than your own.”

The Blom couple incorporated a lot of succulents in the design of their garden and a few cycads. “We thought it would harmonize very nicely with the koi pond. Stone and rocks surround the pond and the idea was to create a contrast.

“It is definitely not a delicate garden. We went for a rugged and natural look. We’ve placed a bench next to the pond and it is just wonderful to sit there, feed the koi and relax.”

Ingrid believes succulents are perfect for beginner gardeners to use. She says they grow easily and are effortless to transplant.

“There is definitely a trend to use more succulents,” she says. “Nowadays nearly every nursery offers a selection of these plants and I think it is a good idea to use them in our country where water is often scarce.”
The PE Garden of the Year competition was held in conjunction with Sherwood Garden Centre, Louw Lochner of Remax Independent Walmer and Swabey Velthuysen Attorneys.