Category: Renovations

What happens here All The Time.

The Dream Sanctuary and Autumn in the fynbos

There have been a few changes happening in the Nursery lately. The Farmstall has closed, and the Dream Sanctuary has opened!

Here are some pics to tempt you to come over and visit soon….

The cosy Coffee Shop brightly decorated full of interesting fairies and angels.

Fun and yummy things for kids on sale.

Fairy garden by the seating area.

Scrummy yummy carrot cake!

Meanwhile in the retail area:

The rain has brough a lot of colour to the nursery…in plants and even caterpillars!

After the rain this little forest of mushrooms sprung up in the retail 🙂

Patches the pony cropping our wheat beds before the full moon…talk about eco holistic veggie gardening!

I will leave you with this image of Taskmaster and Kingoftheplayground riding into the fynbos…on a perfect Cape Point day.

Enjoy the mellow weather and hope to see you all in the retail soon!

80 potatoes and a baby Cape Cobra

It is another stunning day here at Cape Point:

In the veggie garden things are growing and we have been busy sowing yet another garden with all our own seed. We harvested 80 potatoes from half of one potato crop!

When opening a door on one of the houses on the property, we came across a sleepy baby Cape Cobra who quickly became very cross and reared up and hissed like an angry kitten. A very poisonous kitten. I did not have my camera on me but here is a photo and some info on the Cape Cobra from the Cape Snake Rescue website:

Cape Cobra

  • Notoriously common in and around human habitats in search of food and water supply
  • will flee instead of facing aggressor
  • very aggressive when cornered and will spread a hood, hiss loudly and readily strike
  • Average length  1.2 – 1.5m, slender and fast moving
  • smooth scales, colour varies between yellow, brown, cream and speckled
  • very powerful neurotoxin which attacks the nervous system


Ahhhh. How lovely. Not nerve wracking at all. Really looking forward to it growing up now. I’m just counting on the second point there!

Up on the mountain there are some beautiful Ericas out in flower now

And the Good Hope Landscapers stepping it up with these beautiful rustic natural log steps

Big changes are happening in the changing of hands of the farmstall….more to follow – watch this space! The farmstall is closed for the moment while changes, renovations and creating is happening.

In the meantime you are welcome to bring a picnic and play in the playground after browsing in the nursery. Lots of little pretties in flower in the retail and this cool weather is perfect for planting. Happy Easter!!!

Roof Gardens for the future

A brilliant write-up in the Cape Argus on Good Hope Gardens Landscapings Roof Gardens by Jeanne Viall:

Green trends to hit the roof in future

March 6 2012 at 01:15pm
By Jeanne Viall

Comment on this story

Copy of ca Roof TopGarden_7154INDPENENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Roof-top gardens, like this one in Scarborough, created by Tom Gray, also soften ones outlook. Picture: Neil Baynes

Related Stories

A green roof is so much more than a roof garden, I discovered in Scarborough. It’s a living roof that’s attractive, insulates and benefits the environment.

Tom Gray has been building these living roofs for many years and believes they are the roofs of the future.

The first green roof we visit in Scarborough belongs to Cindy and Richard Hartley and is best viewed from a deck overlooking it.

It’s a succulent garden, about 40m2 and sits at a slight angle for better drainage. From the deck you look across the planted roof to the reserve and the sea, and instead of seeing a roof, your view is of vegetation.

While aesthetic considerations are one of the reasons for a green roof, there are a lot more. Insulation is one, creating new green spaces another. There is a lot of insect life buzzing around this garden.

Gray grew up around plants at his parents’ Good Hope Nursery near Cape Point and has always loved fynbos. After training as a carpenter, he moved into the nursery business and started his own landscaping business, Good Hope Gardens.

“I became interested in the architectural aspect of the roof garden, the aesthetics, but also its insulation properties. The growing roof keeps the room below it cool in summer and warm in winter.”

With climate change, it’s the roof of the future, especially in densely built urban areas.

“I researched the field, but there was little information available, and so started experimenting with different materials.”

A dog’s kennel was the first experiment. Drainage is all important. This garden has a gravel pit around it, no gutters, which filters the water.

“The big thing is to have drainage layers, and there are a number of products on the market.”

Through lots of trial and error, Gray has found materials that work well.

“There are many ways to do it, but if you’re working on a large scale, it makes sense to buy the material – it saves time.”

It’s important to start with a 100 percent waterproof roof.

Each green roof is designed taking into consideration many factors, such as situation, depth of soil, the homeowner’s preferences.

It also depends on the building – if its design requires lightweight structures that limits the depth of soil, and in turn which plants can be planted there.

“The depth varies between 120mm to 200mm soil,” says Gray.

However, one of his gardens in Fish Hoek has deeper soil, and can be planted with vegetables.

Wind is a factor to consider on green roof gardens, as it can blow many times harder on the roof than on the ground.

Succulents, especially those endemic to the Western Cape, are ideally suited to these green roof gardens. Gray likes using Portulacaria afra or repens, also known as Elephant’s food or spekboom.

They are also carbon sink plants – they bind atmospheric carbon that is responsible for climate change.

The roof needs regular maintenance.

“Initially, I plant long- and short-term plants. This garden is around six years old, and some plants need replacing.”

It also needs watering.

“With this depth of soil, you need to irrigate in the heat of summer. Although it does hold some moisture, it also dries out in the extreme heat.”

Botanist Nick Helme’s green roof garden, also in Scarborough, seldom gets watered and when it does, it is with a sprinkle from his hosepipe. His garden is built on top of his office, a timber-frame structure.

The roof was at the level of his deck, he says, and he didn’t want to look straight onto a glistening roof.

So they created a green roof.

With his extensive knowledge of plants, Helme was very involved in plant choice. His garden is about 18 months old, and he’s limited plants to those of the Western Cape, which includes the Little Karoo.

“I don’t want arid succulents, though, not in a high winter rainfall area.”

He has about 60 species growing here, a few of them rare plants.

It’s not the best time of year for the garden, he points out, with few plants flowering now – May to December is best. But the garden is interesting. Succulents come in so many shapes and colours. He’s planted many bulbs, but the only problem with these is that the baboons like them.

Maintenance means a hop over the railing onto the roof to weed.

“As a botanist, I’m obsessed with aliens and the first spring season I weeded them out as I saw them.”

Drainage is excellent, and slow. After a deluge, the water begins to drain only after 20 minutes, and then drips slowly off the edge for a few hours.

Green roof gardens are growing in popularity, slowly, as one way to mitigate pollution in cities. They’re a way to increase green spaces in built environments; there’s no need to repaint your roof or clean your gutters, and the drainage acts as a filter for “acid” rain, so what runs out the outlet pipes is clean. And they’re natural insulators against heat and cold.

“Everyone should have one, it’s a no-brainer really,” says Gray. – Cape Argus

* Find out more on



A fresh start with spring

So new and exciting beginnings have begun! Good Hope Gardens Nursery and farmstall is fully operational. Coinciding with the beginning of Spring we relaunched with a bang and a bloom…flower power and fynbos kos. Take a peak:

We are also starting kids parties,

And pony parties ..introducing Patches the Shetland pony to the nursery!

Speaking of introductions….

we have two new puppies. Codi and Lani…heres Lani:

And our mommy goat died after eating a poison bulb called tilp (Beautiful orange flower with long green strap leaves) leaving her three-day old kids orphaned. These are the two  kiddies Dandelion and Star, whom we now have to bottle feed untill they are ready to eat by themselves.,,

I mean how cute does it get? Not much more than this.

So come on over to the Deep South and see what we have changed!

Cockadoodledoo 🙂

Cool links and the new spring poster.

So the sale date is beckoning, as well as all the little billion things that need to be completed by then. Here are two cool links advertising the Spring into Fynbos event:


Also,  a rather brilliant blog entry was sent to us from an obviously incredibly intelligent woman 🙂 A rave review on the nursery! We clustered round the computer screen and in between grunts of delight as we scrolled down, we declared it the Best Review Ever. Check it out at

Our article finally came out in the Home/Tuis magazine on the Fynbos Ecolodge. It was well worth the hard work as the pics came out all beautiful and shiny….mmmmm, nice. Go out now and buy yourself a copy – it’s the Eco edition so it’s a good read too. In the mean time here is a scanned version:

Fynbos Ecolodge article
Fynbos Ecolodge article page 2
Fynbos Ecolodge article page 3

Then our good friend Harry-the-girl who is a whizz at design, generously created this bright new poster for our Spring event:

Spring into Fynbos poster

So a week of really getting out there has been fun. Right now though, the rain has stopped, the sun is peeping through the clouds and we are going out to play in the playground and eat a pie in the tea garden. xxx

The Fynbos Ecolodge after pics!!!

It is over.

Our crazy, no-words-can-describe THREE day revamp is over…had to have a day to recover before sitting down and writing this. To recover and to get the paint out of my hair.

Well, the Good Hope Nursery team were AMAZING. Resilient, unstoppable, no 1 team. Taskmaster was working so hard you could only see sawdust. Designer friend had fantastic ideas that really worked well. And the magazine photo shoot went well…cant wait to see it in glossy print!!!As words cannot describe, below are the photos that will tell a thousand words.

Drum roll please…..

Here goes:

There you have it folks. I am proud! I am indebted to all who helped – thank you is not enough…it all turned out so beautifully! I’ll leave you with these words of wisdom (to caption the last photo) from Kingoftheplayground:

“Lets go in the WAKUUUUZI!!!”

Day 2 of the Ecolodge revamp

Day two. Am. The birds have barely started singing and Kingoftheplayground flutters an eyelid open. Blinks once. Sits straight up in bed. “Oh. Ok, its time to get up now. Its a beautiful day outside. Lets go for a walk.”

Yawn. The wind is howling again. Think I saw a whole Protea bush blow past the window…but it went past really fast. Coffee!!!!

The renovations went well, got everything painted, just the rest of the roof, the outside window frames and the bathroom ceiling to do still. The new double sink and cupboards are in, the tiles are up and the gas stove is fitted. The amazingly stunning paintings arrived today – wowie….

More tomorrow….So much to do before the Magazine people come!!! ***Wish us luck***

Day 1 of Ecolodge revamp.

Day 1 went smoothly enough.

Raced off to fetch camera (mine broke…think it heard it was really, really needed) and paint and galvanized nails. Designer friend came to help and Mabuthi, silent as a ninja, painted the ceiling beautifully. We painted the front room and main bedroom ceiling, fireplace and stove tiles primed and painted, colour panel in the entrance and main bedroom painted. The pergola is up, the fencing is underway and the kitchen counter is almost in.

Today we hope to take out the old sink and install the new two-basin sink in the kitchen, complete the wall and ceiling painting, and the fencing around the Jacuzzi.  Our backs are stiff, we still have paint in our hair, but it’s amazing to see the ideas in our head actually coming to life! Very exciting.

Here are some ‘during’ pics:

Tomatoes and prep for the revamp.

Yesterday was a howling wind.  It whipped and whistled around the nursery. I decided to try and escape it by going out to ‘Town” for last minute buys for the Ecolodge revamp.

What a ridiculous idea.

It was at least ten degrees hotter! Without the wind though, so I couldn’t complain. Much. I got white cotton bedding for the beds, white curtains, roof paint, tile adhesive, toilet roll holder, and some supplies for the Tea Garden. Three shops. It took me 5 hours. Time warp? Space vortex? Suburbs on a Saturday.

Once home, I was so thankful for the cooling wind, that I went tomato picking for pasta. I got there only to find that the tomatoes had been unattended for a few days and the slugs had arrived under a bush. They were having a party. They looked quite drunk. Sighing, I reached out for the first when I heard a Bark. Looking around, chicken #2 and chicken #3 had followed me like dogs and were peering round the fence with beady eyes. Brilliant. Took chickens to slugs, chickens ate all of the slugs and a few tomatoes and then I threw a stick and they left. No, I actually just chased them out.

Taskmaster had been busy finishing up our house (relief) and continued today. Ownerlady sewed up the new couch covers and I drew Proteas on the scatter cushions. Blinds painted white, bookshelf painted white…Collecting paint tomorrow – because it all starts!!! Four days, total revamp…from Rustic Drab to Eco Fab! Here are some of the before shots:

More photos of the During and After coming this week!!!