The Garden

Set within eight acres of cultivated fruit and vegetables, the big garden at Babylonstoren is at the heart of the farm. It was inspired by the historic Company’s Garden in Cape Town, that supplied sailing ships of the Dutch East India Company with fresh vegetables and fruit during the days when the Cape was a halfway station between Europe and Asia. But we also link back to the mythological hanging gardens of Babylon. Those were thought to have been created by Nebuchadnezzar in 6th century BC, for his wife who longed for the mountains and valleys of her youth.

In 2007 Karen commissioned French architect Patrice Taravella to plan the layout of the garden. His work at Prieuré Notre Dame d’Orsan in France had impressed her greatly. There Patrice had reconstructed a medieval cloistered garden on the site of a restored 12th-century monastery. ‘I was drawn to Patrice’s inherent discipline, it’s almost Cartesian in the tradition of classical French gardens,’ says Karen. ‘And he’s remarkable in that he really understands the movement of people: how to make a garden hold you and calm you down.’

Taravella gave the garden geometric bones. His creation sits on an axis that extends east to west along the traditional lines of the old whitewashed Cape Dutch werf, then north-south from Babel Restaurant to the Babylonstoren koppie. It comprises 15 clusters spanning vegetable areas, stone and pome fruits, nuts, citrus, berries, bees, herbs, ducks, chickens as well as a prickly pear maze. Gravity feeds water from a stream by rills into the garden, flowing through ponds planted with edible lotus, nymphaea lilies and waterblommetjies.

Every one of the 300 varieties of plants in the garden is edible. Also grown as organically as possible and in a biologically sustainable manner. The fruit and vegetables from the garden are harvested all year round for use in two farm-to-table restaurants. Along the edge of the garden, a natural stream flows from the Simonsberg mountain to the Berg River, creating a space for indigenous wild olives to flourish. In their shade a collection of some 7 000 clivia lilies explode in a spectacular display every Spring. Our head gardener Liesl van der Walt and her team tend the plants that have flourished beyond expectation. So much so, it’s quite hard to believe that the gardens are not ancient.

Join our Volunteer Programme

As we are passionate about our garden at Babylonstoren, we welcome fellow gardeners, horticulturists, botanists or those who are interested in learning more about gardening. If you’re happy to get your hands dirty (you’ll be planting, harvesting, pruning and mulching), eager to learn and/or share your knowledge, we’d love to welcome you as volunteer at Babylonstoren. You’ll work with our gardeners in every aspect of the garden but most importantly get a chance to contribute to the garden in a real way.

To enquire about our intern program, or to volunteer in the garden, please contact liesl@babylonstoren.com

Garden Tours

Our daily garden tour starts at the Farm Shop at 10h00.

  • Booking is essential.
  • Remember to wear comfortable shoes, bring a hat in summer and wellies plus an umbrella in winter. A famous Swedish proverb holds: There ain’t no bad weather, just the wrong clothes.
  • Entrance fee to the farm is R10, payable at the gate
  • All entrance fees are donated to the Babylonstoren Trust for the education of our local children.
  • Regrettably no dogs are allowed, as this is a working farm with lots of feathery friends.
  • Kindly note that all pathways in the garden are gravel and in some areas covered with peach pips.

How lucky can I be, to be here. It’s paradise lost and found.
Gundula Deutchlander
Gardener

Visit our Garden

  • Remember to wear comfortable shoes, bring a hat in summer and wellies plus an umbrella in winter. A famous Swedish proverb holds: There ain’t no bad weather, just the wrong clothes.
  • Entrance fee to the farm is R10, payable at the gate. All entrance fees are donated to the Babylonstoren Trust for the education of our local children.
  • Regrettably no dogs are allowed, as this is a working farm with lots of feathery friends.
  • Kindly note that all pathways in the garden are gravel and in some areas covered with peach pips.

IN SEASON

Baby marrows, beans, onions, garlic, parsnips and basil are lush and ready for harvest. Get lost in the stone fruit block to enjoy juicy plums, nectarine and peaches.

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