Matjiesfontein is in the Great Karoo, surrounded by miles and miles of semi-arid countryside and endless mountains. It is a land you either love or hate – you can’t ignore it and it doesn’t allow neutrality.
In this seemingly arid landscape James Logan built Matjiesfontein, surrounding the Lord Milner Hotel and his own home, Tweedside, with gardens and even starting the original Karoo National Botanic Garden at Whitehills (Witteberge) siding on the railway line. The gardens are planted with local, indigenous plants, or plants and shrubs which are adapted for the harsh climate. These are not ‘English’ gardens and again you either love it – or the other.
The only concession to ‘ordinary’ gardening at the hotel is the green lawn – Tweedside has no lawn. Weaver bird nests hang over the ‘pond’ which is surrounded by palms and rushes;
The vast swimming pool is fed by a borehole, presumably one of the many put down by Logan, and overshadowed by an old eucalyptus tree.
The plants in the garden include various aloes, prickly pears, and pepper trees.
Tweedside was Logan’s home and he made a succulent garden around it. I have posted in detail on the gardening blog, but here is a taste of the pleasures that can be enjoyed in the late afternoon. Prickly things with bizarre shapes, delicate geraniums, spekboom, crassula, aloes, euphorbia...
If you are able to visit this extraordinary place do not pass by!