The World Federation of Rose Societies (WFRS) honoured the rose gardening efforts of a Plett resident, Rae Gilbert, by bestowing its prestigious“Garden of Excellence Award”on Bosky Dell, the Gilbert family’s farm just outside Plettenberg Bay, along the Garden Route in the Western Cape of South Africa. The award was presented at the 17th World Convention of the Society in Lyon, France on 1stJune this year. It is only the second time that the Award has been bestowed on a South African garden. The other garden is Freshwoods in the Elgin district which houses a collection of rare roses.
The Award serves to acknowledge gardens which are primarily rose gardens i.e. where roses are the main feature of the garden and are grown in sufficiently large numbers and cultivars to display roses in a wide variety of gardening applications. The Award criteria include factors such as excellence in rose garden design, consistently high standards of horticultural practice, promotion of the rose as a garden plant and the education of the public in all matters relating to roses. The garden also has to be well established and the management of the garden sustained at a consistently high level. Important collections of rare or old roses as well as trials of new varieties are also considered. The garden also, and very importantly, must be open to the general public during the rose flowering season. For this reason, very few privately owned gardens are considered – Bosky Dell is only the third private garden to be acknowledged world-wide.
The rose garden at Bosky Dell was designed by Rae Gilbert and formal sections built in 2007. Additional sections are being added and the garden now extends over an area of more than 2Ha. Each area of the garden features different types of roses and companion plants. The garden currently comprises more than 250 varieties and 6000 rose plants. Rae has included a range of indigenous trees, shrubs and perennials and is currently expanding the collection of Old Garden Roses (also known as heritage roses) and old fashioned companion plants. Rae hopes to establish a representative collection of the old garden roses of South Africa.
The rose garden isopen to the public from the first weekend in November till the end of April every yearand has become a much favoured Wedding Venue. It has been the anchor garden for the annual Plett Open Gardens for a number of years and is a perfect spot for garden club functions, visiting tour groups from Europe and America, art exhibitions and music recitals.