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The Garden

Set within 3,5 hectares (8 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, which 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 the sixth century BC, for his wife who longed for the mountains and valleys of her youth.

In 2007, owner Karen Roos 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 is 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 (farmyard), then north to 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 and chickens, a prickly pear maze, and more. 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 or has medicinal value. They are 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-fork 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 that it’s quite hard to believe that the gardens are still relatively young.

Garden Tour

Join our Garden Tour

Our daily guided garden tour starts at the Farm Shop at 10h00. One of our experienced gardeners will be your guide on this tour, during which we encourage guests to pick, taste, smell and touch while walking through our garden. Each of the 300 plant varieties is edible or has medicinal value. The beautiful garden is not only pleasing to the eye, but also provides the restaurants with fresh produce, harvested daily. Our enthusiastic guides will share some of the garden’s special stories with you and give practical gardening tips. We hope you will enjoy our garden and be inspired when you leave to plant your own!

Volunteers

Become a volunteer

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) and eager to learn and/or share your knowledge, we'd love to welcome you as a 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. Find more info here

Recent Blog Articles
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Rocking the Karoo by Ernst van Jaarsveld

Last week we collected beautiful ironstone (dolorite) rocks on a farm in the Karoo, between Sutherland and Fraserburg. Thanks Stewie Theron of Tafelberg! They will form building blocks for our Hantam Garden.

Read more
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Psyched for Cycads by Ernst van Jaarsveld

The well-known South African cycad superficially resembles a small palm with divided leaves in a central rosette, and varies in size, from stemless to almost 10 m tall.

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

Visit our Garden

  • Booking is essential – please phone +27 (0)21 863 3852.
  • 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 p.p. and is 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

Swiss chard, coriander, parsley, purple mizuna, spring onions, mange tout, kumquats, lemons, grapefruit, naartjies, blood oranges and violets.  

Become a Volunteer

We welcome fellow gardeners to share in the joys of our garden. 

Find out more

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