SARDA Fund-raiser makes a comeback

The garden is over 20 years old.

The Open Garden fund-raiser of the South African Riding for the Disabled (SARDA) at Water Oak Farm is making a comeback on Saturday October 5.

While it had been hosted annually since 2013, last year it had to be put on hold due to the drought.

Owner, Wendy Fouquet sat down with the Bulletin to tell us what people could expect to see at the Open Garden and to also explain what challenges she had experienced due to the drought.

Water Oak Farm is situated near Klein Constantia wine estate. Ms Fouquet opens her 20 year old garden to the public to raise funds for Sarda each year (“A hidden piece of paradise in Constantia”, Bulletin, October 12 2017).

Sarda is an NPO that offers free therapeutic riding lessons to children and adults living with physical and intellectual disabilities.

People come from all over the Western Cape to experience the beauty of the gardens while raising funds for a good cause.

“We decided this year to limit it to one day only. It will only be on the Saturday. Because of the drought, we were all under huge water restrictions and I thought that it would be selfish to have the Open Garden last year,” said Ms Fouquet.

She said that besides having to reduce water usage, her biggest fear during the drought was the threat to her trees.

“The trees were the main problem. I was especially scared of this shot hole borer, which I heard was destroying trees in Pretoria. As soon as the tree is not getting enough water, it weakens and then the shot hole borer takes advantage of that. It’s a terrible thing.”

The Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) is a tiny invasive black beetle from Asia that is smaller than a sesame seed. Its fungus disrupts the flow of water and nutrients to the tree, causing branch dieback and ultimately the death of the tree.

Ms Fouquet said, however, that people had nothing to worry about, as she had well adapted her garden to the drought. Even though the garden may look less floral, she said that there were new exciting beautiful plantings that people could expect to see as well as a beautiful pond area, meadow area and fynbos area.

Sarda’s Carol de Gendt said that they were excited to bring the Open Garden back to Water Oak Farm. She also wanted the public to know that even if the weather was not on their side on the day, they would still have a lovely worthwhile experience.

“In the past where it has rained, people have come in their wellies (Wellington boots) and umbrellas to come and see this beautiful sight. They really shouldn’t miss out,” she said.

Entry is R30 each. For details contact Bee Lukey at 021 794 4393.