The Fritz extravaganza (not your ordinary garden...)


 In the prairie between Johannesburg and Heidelberg (Gauteng, South Africa--not the one in Germany or West Cape for that matter) there is a garden I was lucky enough to visit a few weeks ago. The large sign on the road gave no hint of what we were about to see*...

(*warning: there are 146 pictures in this post. Not for the faint of heart).
Road to the Fritz garden...
 The bus (and my 17 companions) wouldn't fit down the lane leading to the garden..so we walked half a kilometer or so.

A sentinel palm tree greeted us on one side of the driveway...

A bed of dahlias on the other...

Greenhouse and lathouse
 I naively assumed this was most of the garden--the driveway, the lath and a greenhouse beyond. That's all you can see at first.

Lots of interesting plants around the front yard...

Clerodendrum bungei looking very robust along one side

A fine blend of annuals, perennials and succulents along the greenhouse...
 At this point I'd thought I'd seen the garden, and was delighted--I knew Georg Fritz was a keep succulent lover and thought the bulk of his interest was under glass (or plastic in this case)--well worth visiting for sure!
Marietjie Durand Fritz and Georg Fritz
 The owners agreed to my taking a picture, photobombed by one of their delightful dogs...

One of many containers....
 I noticed a cluster of containers by the door....

Mammillaria gracilis v. fragilis
 You don't often see such a vigorous and happy Mammillaria gracilis v. fragilis growing outdoors!

I love the combination of textures here...

More interesting perennials and the first cycad...

Another intriguing border full of combinations

More friendly dogs--I don't know why great gardens seem to have so many dogs!

Inside the greenhouse
 The collections in the greenhouse were beautifully grown--and very clean.

Lots of aloes...

A Scadoxus multiflorus just going over below the benches


A LOT of Asclepiads and lithops--two of Org's (short for Georg's) favorites...


And plenty of cacti--especially Astrophytum which are favorites of mine as well...


A special aloe, whose name I forgot!

That aloe was so important I took two pictures. Help!

Aloe albiflora
 A thrill to see this unusual white aloe from Madagascar...
Khadia beswickii
Before I'd ever dreamed I'd meet him,  I'd read Georg's articles in Aloe about the local Khadia that is Red listed. And here it is in BLOOM in his greenhouse! Woo hoo...

Frithia humilis
 Another local specialty, in bloom as well. Next time I come hereabouts, I must see these in their habitat (not terribly far away).

Frithia pulchra
And of course, there had to be at least one pot of the better known baby toes! Another local specialty restricted to less than five km square in its habitat (albeit over a fairly long range of the Magliesberg)...

Lithops lesliei

We'd just seen this Lithops growing wild barely a kilometer away: one of the largest colonies had been destroyed, and Georg had salvaged a few...the one we saw is in the shadow of development.

More gems in every direction...here a Delosperma I was interested in...

And our beloved Astrophytums...(one of mine greeted me with flowers when I got home)

A few non succulents had snuck in...we're not purists!

Begonias and peperomias in the shade...

And there have to be a few Plectranthus and Streptocarpus--two magnificent South African genera!

And of course some new ones coming on from seed

Gardeners gravitate to seeds...

Another view of Scadoxus multiflorus from the other side of the greenhouse

Hollyhocks...
 When I step out, it's almost a relief to see something we grow well in Denver!

Where is everybody walking?



A moon gate implies there must be more beyond...
 
A genuine stone trough just next to that gate

A handsome cycad and a pool...
 We open up to a small courtyard with this handsome vignette...

And yes, MORE succulents on a stand by the door...

Including this handsome Chasmatophyllum musculinum...

Gardeners' naughty sense of humor always shows up somewhere...

More pots...

A touch of neoclassicism....

And another walkway leading further on...

Impatiens x walleriana
 Now that downy mildew has made these endangered garden plants in Denver, what a delight to the eyes to see them here in yet another courtyard!

Another cluster of pots

Another pathway edged with groundcovering Lamium....

And a side yard with a shady clearing of green grass...

Tree Euphorbia
 On the right hand side I look up to see an enormous arboreal euphorbia that Georg must have put in a long time ago...

Various shots of the large rock garden featuring succulents that borders Org's farm beyond the fence (the farm provides income for his garden and travels)...




A wonderful local Erythrina we saw in nature a few days later in the Lowveld.








One of Org's many favorite stapeliads--most are grown under glass, but a few monsters are perfectly hardy like this one.

The Garden was popular with my tour participants...



A delightfully simple stone sculpture...this garden operates on many levels in many media...


And yet another path leading further along!


Wonderful mix of media for the bridge...


I love this wonderful Mexican fleabane...which is marginally hardy in Denver as well.

Luscious cycads.


A border featuring Southwestern salvias! Plucked my patriotic heartstrings!


Variegated mugwort in another border (Artemisia vulgaris 'Variegata') Fortunately not as weedy as its plain cousin!


More beds of annuals...


Yet another clearing...



More dramatic cycads.


A secret garden along the house...


And they're breeding rare tortoises!


A succulent border with some raised beds...


A wall with sculpture--we are probably getting onto his son's property--another extravagant garden. I am not sure I can annotate each picture. There was simply too much!





A treehouse!





Some gingers!




The dog is not an ornament! What a wonderful patio full of succulent pots and succulents in the ground!








I loved this inset "framed" Opuntia...

These gardens never end!





We are about to come to the very last precinct--a series of lath and other houses with screening to protect from hailstorms: this is Org's son's Bonsailand: dozens of dazzling bonsai, many of them South African natives I'd never seen bonsaied before...















This is a giant silver Cabbage Tree (Cussonia paniculata) growing above the Bonsai area--it had been there for some time planted by Org....This blew my mind.











A large proportion of the troops were gathered in one spot: but you'll notice relatively few in other pictures; the garden is so vast people were scattered and not in the shots I took by and large!


Don't you love the sculpture tucked everywhere?





Another pot with Chasmatophyllum musculinum in a wonderful trailing form...








Bonsaied cycads--how cool is that?



Time to go...we head back through  the gardens we came in through...they look altogether different now..





A large coral tree I hadn't noticed on the way in...


And we tread our way back to the bus. Did I mention that this visit was spontaneous? Org had hosted us that day showing us around the fantastic Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve that wraps around Heidelberg and covers an enormous stretch of veldt towards the Witwatersrand to the north and west.

I asked if we could visit his home garden, not having a clue that it was so vast and splendid: needless to say, they had no time to "primp" or prepare--not that you could tell. Here is a garden and gardeners worthy of their exquisite native land. South Africa rules!

Comments

  1. Cool garden, though I would use even more natives if it were me, but the cacti do look nice. The aloe might be Aloe descoingsii, its the smallest species from Madagascar. Easy to grow and bloom, Jerry Barad has a spectacular mound of it with multiple heads from the original type plant. Only plant I take issue with in their garden is the hideous variegated mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris), yeah I know I am often not a fan of variegated plants but it always looks like it has a virus to me, and if it ever seeds it could be a powerful invader in the Highveld. They have a nice species of Artemesia that grows locally, A afra, and I really do like the genus as a whole, there are some lovely grey leaved things of all sizes in it, but why oh why mugwort?! Looks like they have a fantastic collection of aloes, and I have seen the Frithia in habitat, it grows in quartz patches in the Magaliesberg, often not far from Aloe peglerae, Cotyledon orbiculata, and Streptocarpus vandeleurii on adjacent cliff ledges. And yes I did look at every picture, keep them coming! Ernie

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts