Western Cape wine estate plans botanical garden just for trees

Posted by Lucinda Dordley on 11 February 2021

Vergelegen, a Somerset West wine estate, has revealed plans for a 54-hectare botanical garden devoted entirely to trees. It already boasts 18 beautiful gardens and the arboretum will be grown over the course of the next ten years.

A total of 7500 trees will be planted and a walkway that is 3.5km will surround the arboretum.

This site was previously open ground and also home to an orchard. The arboretum is expected to form a transition between the cultivated and natural landscapes.

Speaking to Good Things Guy, Leslie Naidoo, Vergelegen’s Commercial and Risk Manager, says: ‘Vergelegen management decided in 2016 to explore the creation of an arboretum in the north-east section of the property, with visitor access from the hospitality areas – the restaurants and wine tasting centre. Three 45-meter-wide vistas in the form of a triangle form the core of the arboretum. The combined length of the vistas is 2,5km, and each vista is lined with double row plantings of liquidambar, yellowwood and swamp cypress trees.’

The vistas will be intersected by four large semi-circles that will have planted avenues of trees of Dutch, Asian, English and French origin. These specific origins were elected to reflect the layered history of the estate, which is also a provincial heritage site. A wide range of trees from the Rosids (Cape Ash, White Stinkwood and Oaks), Asterids (Assegaai, Cape Holly and Rhododendrons), Magnolids (Tulip tree, Ginkgo and various Magnolia trees) and Conifers (Juniper, Deodara and Cypress) species will be planted together in groups to create a ‘treescape’.

The clearing and preparation of the land started in 2017, and the Rosid section began planting in 2019.

Picture: Vergelegen Wine Estate

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