Friday, November 16

Gardening, roses and Pam Golding

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Yellow roses were her favourite flower, and she had one named in her honour

This week saw the death of South African property doyenne Pam Golding. Throughout her life, Golding had a deep appreciation of gardens and was particularly fond of the beautiful Kirstenbosch gardens.

In 2005, Malanseuns Pleasure Plants launched the “Pam Golding” rose in her honour. The soft apricot rose had a light fragrance and although it looked like a floribunda, it was a special grandiflora hybrid tea variety growing to a height of one metre.

The power of Pam

The world-class rose was developed by the top US rose breeders, Jackson and Perkins. Trademarked “Pam Golding” in Africa, this floribunda-grandiflora hybrid is also known as “Honey Perfume” in the US. The rose continues to be grown by Malanseuns under Plant Breeders Rights and is available at local garden centres across the country.

Golding had a special affinity with indigenous plants and launched the Pam Golding Gardens of Pride competition in the early 2000s. The competition, which ran for three years, celebrated gardens that primarily used indigenous plants.

Investment

Against this background, Golding’s biggest contribution to gardening was to remind people that gardens are a critical contribution to the investment in your home. “Your garden can sell your home,” she said once in an interview.

“To gardening enthusiasts, I can give you my assurance that the time and care you spend nurturing flower beds and grooming lawns has more tangible assets than the pleasure of achievement.

“Few features of property make a more instant and favourable impression than a well-kept garden. A mediocre house in an attractive setting which bears the imprint of tender loving care will sell for a higher price than a better one in neglected surroundings.

“The same applies to flats. A flat set in a garden or with a view of a garden or park commands more rent than an identical one which faces a blank wall.

“It is one of my proud boasts in the property business that I am blessed with the knack of matching buyers to houses, and I cannot keep count of the number of times I have known instinctively the garden will clinch the deal.

“I well remember one buyer whose brief was to ‘find a garden’. She could, she said, live anywhere, as long as the garden was right.

“I don’t, however, want to create the impression that by a garden I mean acres of manicured space in top-bracket suburbs. The appeal of a courtyard transformed with a profusion of well-planted pots can be just as strong – particularly for the many buyers who are scaling down from big properties to smaller, less time-consuming living and less strenuous gardening. For a home owner who has lived with a pool or dominant water feature, a pretty wall fountain in a cottage garden could be a substitute for a need for the tranquillity water creates in a garden,” she said.

“While I am not much of a gardener myself, gardens have played an important role in my own choice of a home. In my Newlands cottage, it was the small paved courtyard garden ‘square and walled’ At my home in Constantia, it was as much the old oak trees and rambling garden as the graceful proportions of the historic homestead which attracted me.

“I can say my garden is where I can capture those rare moments of solitude. I can go out there and say ‘no phones, no interruptions, I am busy’ and then shut myself off for a little while.”

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