Article from The Cape Odyssey
by Margaret Annandale
It was a great sense of purpose that led to the creation of the Fragrance Garden at Fernkloof Nature Reserve in Hermanus.
Heather “Snippy” Virtue and Jack Bold (curator of Fernkloof Gardens) together decided to make this a haven of peace and tranquillity in memory of Heather’s husband Stuart Evans who died in June 2002.
Stuart was a man of many talents: he was a RAF bomber pilot until the end of the second World War, he was decorated DFC. He was a chartered Accountant and if there was any time left he was an accomplished pianist and photographer, too!
A very sensitive man, who was born in England, he made South Africa his home of choice. He was very proud to be a South African citizen and learnt Afrikaans to Matric level as an adult. He returned to England only twice and that under protest.
The garden is divided into three islands around a central sundial; the first section in a shaded area has pelargoniums and plectranthus, the second holds various buchu species and the third is for bulbs and ground covers. There are low walls with plants tumbling over them around each island where people can sit and be still. Their clothes may rub against the trailing plants so that they carry the perfume with them. Many of the plants have healing properties as well as a wonderful scent.
A memorial plaque embedded in the wall quotes Tennyson: –
“For throughout our bourne of time and place, The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my “pilot” face to face, When I have crossed the bar.”
The sundial was specially made for Heather and reflects the sky as it would have been on her wedding day in Johannesburg — 30.09.71.
Heather and Jack plan to extend the garden by making a glen with solar powered running water.
Two of the helpers in the creation of this garden were Oupa and Homeboy. It was Homeboy who named the brick pathways: – the N3 for wheelchairs.
Soon there will be Braille signs around the garden so that many people with various disabilities will be able to share in its beauty.