Applegarth Gardens and Nursery, the home of Rob and Sandy Wicks, exemplify the beauty and serenity of Hogsback.
Applegarth is a County of Dumfriesshire in Scotland. Herbert Wilson (the originator of the Gardens) married a young girl from this County. To make her feel at home he named the property Applegarth and built a stone house like the houses in Scotland with which his young bride would have been familiar. The property was essentially a retreat for the Wilsons. Mr. Wilson was the founder of the Wilson-Rowntree chocolate/sweet factory (now Nestlé’s) in East London. If you have lived in South Africa for some time, you may therefore have contributed towards the creation of these gardens!
The Gardens are approximately 4 ha in extent, and the owners justifiably take great pride in in the beauty of a very old and established garden!
The combinations of climate and soil types of Hogsback are rare in South Africa and lend themselves to the propagation of many exotic plants.
Plants and trees from many different temperate parts of the world flourish here, ranging from the giant Sequoia sempervirens (Giant Redwood) of northern California to the smallest varieties of Rhododendrons from the high, windswept slopes of the Himalayas.
The south-west facing slopes of Applegarth are ideal for the successful culture of Rhododendrons. These slopes dry slowly, moss grows readily, and this is the ideal medium for the germination of Rhododendron seed.
From October to June a variety of mushrooms can be seen at Applegarth and Bredon, depending on the rainfall. These include three varieties of the Boletus mushroom, namely edulis (Cep), the Poplar (Leccinum duriusculum) and the Chestnut Bolete (Gyroporus castaneus). Three varieties of the Amanita mushroom also grow prolifically including the strikingly red fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) with its spots of white.
The very rich bird life is also best seen at these times, including the magnificent Knysna Loerie and the rare Cape parrot.
As guests of Bredon cottage, you are welcome to stroll in the garden and along the stream. Like all gardens, the optimum time to view the Gardens is early morning or late afternoon, i.e. in the cool of the day.