Who says gardening in winter is no fun? South Africa’s most well-known gardener and world-acclaimed horticulturist, Keith Kirsten says that all year round is the ideal time to be in the garden. Speaking from his new franchise concept, Keith Kirsten Garden Centre, recently opened to the public in Waterfall Wilds, in the largest mixed-use urban development in South Africa, Waterfall Estate, he says that the time for innovative living is now and it can be found right here in the heart of Gauteng.
It is fitting that Kirsten’s return to retail is on the banks of the Jukskei River, a tributary to the famous Crocodile River on which banks lie his home, River Lodge Farm. The Jukskei River had its origin on Doornfontein Farm, now swallowed by urban development. Now the river emerges in Bertrams and runs through Bezuidenhout Valley, damming at Bruma continuing through Bedfordview, Edenvale and Alexandra before joining the Crocodile River outside Lanseria. The Jukskei provides a tranquil backdrop to Waterfall Estate and perfect setting for shopping at Keith Kirsten Garden Centre.
The centre is built to inspire gardeners, young and old, to live in their dream. “This is not just a next generation garden centre offering exceptional quality and service,” says Keith, “nor is it just a promise to offer a contemporary look and a difference that modern day gardening demands, with an all-natural focus that includes organic pesticides and indigenous plant varieties; it is, at last, all of this and an introduction into the world of home horticulture and garden design. It is a place where gardeners can walk through carefully structured displays and copy them to transform their own gardens. You can, literally, “buy” a landscape and install it. Your plants can even be delivered to your garden, saving you so much hassle.”
“It is time to set the stage for an environmentally friendly approach to gardening, we want to encourage gardeners to plant colour and variety which provides nectar and niches for birds and insects. Our environment is in crisis and, collectively, we can give our gardens back to nature. It is time to stop the cycle of waste we are accustomed to. It is time to recognize the benefits of eco-living for the sake of our planet”.
“We promote sustainable gardening such as indigenous plantings, water-wise landscaping and growing of your own vegetables, fruits and herbs. The recycling of waste back into the garden as compost or using bokashi as well as collecting rain water are all practices we are following within the garden centre and promoting to our customers.” says Keith Kirsten Garden Centre’s first franchisee, Cary Goodwin. And these solutions can be found under one roof.
“The rationale behind the creation of the Keith Kirsten Garden Centre revolved around protecting and enhancing the environment in our community. We believe that we need to take the lead in keeping harmful pesticides and fertilizers off our shelves. We want to encourage people to plant both indigenous and our favourite exotic varieties that will not only beautify our environment but create a sense of wellness and vitality. These plants can also provide a source of food and / or help reduce pollution (noise, air and visual) and bring wildlife back into our gardens. We also understand that modern discerning gardeners demand more than everything a garden centre should offer. They are not only looking at sustainable solutions but solutions that add value to their investment in property and lifestyle.”
Visually, Keith Kirsten Garden Centre is a Gauteng wonderland. Carefully laid out by Keith and Ray Hudson, who boasts as many medals as the 34 times he has exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show with David Davidson for their SANBI Kirstenbosch exhibits, the centre sets you off on a journey. As you enter you are greeted with magnificently high roofs and a hall lit up naturally by the Highveld sunlight. Ideas jump out as you stroll through a delight of colour, ornaments, gifts, flowers and art. There is a corner for young gardeners to magnetically create a garden and different tools, toys and books to inspire them to go outside and explore the wonders within their garden.
Venturing outdoors, you are greeted by a stunning view of Midrand, Mall of Africa a short distance away, and the majestic Jukskei River in the foreground, meandering serenely past rows of South Africa’s favourite flowers and foliage. Displays, carefully constructed with practicality in mind, surprises you at every turn. More than 3000 different varieties of trees, shrubs and plants make up a kaleidoscope of every colour in the rainbow.
And with the franchisor being one of the world’s most respected horticulturists and South Africa’s favourite gardener, you will be able to attend numerous lectures by Keith Kirsten and hear just how you can transform your garden into a world-class landscape that will be the envy of all. The centre also boasts some leaders in the horticulture industry with Ryan and Cary Goodwin on hand to give expert advice and tips to gardeners.
All that remains to be said is; visit your favourite gardener’s retail store. The Keith Kirsten Garden Centre opened to the public from 23 June 2016 with the official launch scheduled for mid-August.