The Gardens

The Johnman home ‘Camido’ is surrounded by one of the last of the Old Cape gardens in Stellenbosch.  Another extensive walled garden stretches beyond three of the Trust’s Herte Street cottages to border on Market Street.  Once integral to the character and charm of Stellenbosch, similar large and verdant gardens with fruit orchards and vegetable patches have been replaced by office and apartment blocks and parking lots.

Their gardens were an intimate and daily part of the Johnmans’ way of life, whether as the source of fruit and vegetables for domestic consumption, or flowers and shrubs to adorn their own home or be shared generously (Dorothy’s dedication was expressed for example through taking responsibility throughout her life for large floral arrangements for musical concerts at the University Conservatoire).  Most significantly, however, the gardens provided the setting for human engagement, the catalyst for the relationships they built through entertaining their wide circle of friends – and beyond that, through their desire that these gardens should provide opportunities for horticultural education to the youth of Stellenbosch.

The Johnman Garden’s old pear trees, white guavas, persimmon, apple, plum, citrus, mulberry and many other kinds of fruit trees have grown to maturity and support rambling roses and other climbing plants like jasmine and wisteria.  Exotic ornamental trees and plants and many interesting indigenous plants have been collected over generations and are equally at home in this plant lover’s paradise.  The millstream, fed from the Eersterivier during summer months, runs through Stellenbosch.  Gardens along the millstream are watered from this by a system of flood irrigation known as leiwater.  This above all, is the secret to the very existence of the Johnman gardens:  the life-giving stream chuckling through the leiwater furrows, the informal cobbles and winding dirt pathways, the natural profusion of interesting plants combine to make the garden a celebration of the senses and delight to the soul.

You are welcome to book a visit to the Johnman Garden every first Thursday of every month.  The tour will consist of a guided walk through the garden, followed by scones and tea/coffee on Dorothy’s stoep. R100 per person. Card facility available. Bookings at gardens@johnman.co.za. The dates are:

    • 1 February 2024
    • 7 March 2024
    • 4 April 2024
    • 2 May 2024
    • 6 June 2024
    • 5 September 2024
    • 3 October 2024
    • 7 November 2024
    • 5 December 2024

(Dates are subject to change)

If you want to book a group visit to the garden on another date as in the list, please contact gardens@johnman.co.za for a special arrangement.