A giant oak tree stands proudly at the front door of Penelope Horwood’s historic homestead in Somerset West; hence its name, Broad Oaks.
The beautiful garden has a long history. Penelope ‘s father, Bill, was a businessman who longed to farm, so in the late sixties he bought a piece of land in Parel Vallei, Somerset West. He planted vineyards on 8.8ha of land and left the rest for gardening – not that there was much of a garden, just a few huge oaks and blue gums.
‘My mother, Irene, was a horticulturist and she laid out the garden. She was especially fond of flowering trees,’ says Penelope. ‘My father, on the other hand, was a rose expert who had a passion for these flowers, and every year just planted more and more – he actually wanted one of every type of rose in the world in this garden!’
A European garden tour with her parents in 1991 left a lasting impression on Penelope. ‘Monet’s garden in Giverny, Pare Floral de la Source in Orleans and Bodnant Garden in Wales all had elements I could apply in our garden,’ she says. And she did exactly that when she moved back to Broad Oaks seven years ago to be with her father after her mother’s death. ‘We started gardening together, laying new paths and designing new beds, and I tried to integrate the different parts of the garden.’
The garden at Broad Oaks is magical with its more than 2 800 roses in full bloom, meandering pathways, beautiful trees and a touch of untamed beauty. All this in the middle of a built-up residential area!
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