Kurland Estate coming up roses
Blooming marvellous garden paradise offers plethora of wonders that delight the senses
For those who love roses, a visit to the blooming wonder of the world-famous David Austin Rose Gardens in Shropshire in the UK may be out of reach, but what if I told you there are roses on the Garden Route that are just as breathtaking.
Now that summer has come, it’s time to wander among the roses, enjoying their delightful scent and wonders right on our doorstep.
Kurland Estate in the Crags, in Plettenberg Bay, is beautiful in all seasons, but especially so in spring and summertime when the rose gardens are in full bloom.
If you have a thing for roses, the magical gardens deliver a plethora of different varieties, scents, colours and sizes to marvel at.
Kurland Estate’s love affair with roses began more than 40 years ago and this tradition has been passed on over the years.
Peter and Di Behr live at their Kurland Estate homestead. Peter is the grandson of the first owner of Kurland, who originally came to SA from Eastern Europe.
The very first section of roses on the estate was planted by Peter’s mother more than four decades ago.
“My sisters and I all love roses,” Di said. “It started in Johannesburg with our mother, Annie.
“Growing up, I remember she copied the shape of our swimming pool and filled the entire bed with crisp, white icebergs.
“She also planted a beautiful mixed garden of roses in another section of our garden.”
Annie’s legacy lives on at Kurland. When she passed away, her daughters had a rose named after her called ‘My Annie’ so that today they grow in profusion in and around Kurland.
Keeping her legacy alive, when Di first moved to Kurland 25 years ago, she worked hard to duplicate her mother’s original rose garden and cultivated a thriving new section that sits picturesquely in front of Kurland Estate’s homestead and four Rose Garden rooms.
Di wanted to create an experience similar to the award-winning David Austin Rose Gardens, which are home to the National Collection of English Roses.
Considered to be one of the finest rose gardens in the world, it is one of only three gardens in England to have received the Award of Garden Excellence from the World Federation of Rose Societies.
It boasts five themed gardens open to visitors all year round — and in the same spirit, Di has planted her own version of a David Austin rose garden at the back of the estate, with the idea of having a regular supply of roses to pick for everyday use, special occasions and simply for visitors to enjoy.
These hardy English roses at Kurland boast big flowers with a wonderful fragrance. They flower profusely in spring, are now at their most spectacular, and continue to flower to a lesser extent during the summer and autumn months.
In the days when Kurland was a luxury hotel, guests would be greeted with freshly picked roses in their rooms and huge arrangements in big copper pots would adorn all of the communal areas.
The faster the roses were picked, the faster they grew.
Today, Kurland’s rose gardens are tended to by full-time staff members and boast a rainbow variety of spectacular Hybrid Teas, including Just Joeys, Garden Queens, Harry Oppenheimers, Oklahomas and Black Madonnas.
These roses not only put on a beautiful show but are used for cut flowers, to make potpourri, and to flavour rose jams and liqueurs.
If visiting the Crags, only 20km from Plettenberg Bay, don’t miss the roses and make a day of being in this neck of the woods which boasts wine farms, bespoke shopping nooks and crannies, and other hidden gems.
Di’s top five tips for a day in her beloved Crags:
• Start your morning with a flat white coffee at the Nature’s Way farm stall (on the way to Nature’s Valley). Think fresh cow’s milk and delicious farm produce, home-grown eggs, just-baked sourdough bread and health loaves, apple crumble and rich chocolate cake. Plus, you can also buy Kurland’s honey there.
• Next, head off to walk the Kalanderkloof Trail (also in Nature’s Valley). It consists of 4.8km of gentle forest walking, brushing shoulders with the beautiful old Milkwood and Yellowwood trees that line the way. According to Di, this walk is a birdwatcher’s paradise.
• Once you have worked up an appetite, it’s time to make your way to Newstead Lund Family Vineyards (just around the corner from Kurland on the Redford Road) for a spot of lunch. Sip on their award-winning bubbly while you snack on their thin crust pizza (straight out of the wood-fired oven) or sample one of their generous picnic-style cheese platters.
• Then what’s a day without some retail therapy. Di’s tip is to pop into Beau de Jour (at the entrance to the Bramon Wine Estate). This is a super spot to find exquisite and unusual trinkets for Christmas gifts.
• The Mohair Mill Shop (on the way to Birds of Eden) is Di’s all-time favourite shop in the Crags. The shop sells wares from the area’s local producers, including sheepskin slippers, mohair blankets, socks, and scarves. This is your go-to shop for an authentic assortment of all sorts of things that also make perfect gifts.
• Lastly, something for children, who are probably not as enamoured with the roses as their parents, Di suggests a visit to the Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary (just down the road from Kurland on the N2). It’s well run by professional guides who will take you and the kids on a tour.
There you have it. You’re spoiled for choice when visiting Kurland Estate’s roses and the wonderful surrounding attractions.
Kurland Estate has a spa open to the public and also does picnics to order which you can enjoy on the grounds of the estate.
You can stay in one of their villas. It’s become a very fashionable place for weddings and celebrations.
You have between now and April to get lost in Kurland’s lush rose gardens or indulge in a luxury country escape. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to make a booking.
Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.