Applegarth Gardens and Nursery
Members of the Royal Horticultural Society
Applegarth Gardens and Nursery exemplify the beauty and serenity of Hogsback. The Gardens are approximately 4 ha in extent, and the owners justifiably take great pride in them. They personally take visitors on a comprehensive tour, pointing out the many different plants and trees - both indigenous and exotic.
This exceptional property is named after the County Applegarth in Dumfriesshire in Scotland. Herbert Wilson (the originator of the Gardens) married a young girl from this County. To make her feel at home here he named the property Applegarth and built a stone house like the houses in Scotland with which she would have been familiar. The property was essentially a retreat for the Wilson family. Mr Wilson was the founder of the Wilson-Rowntree chocolate and sweet factory (now Nestle's) in East London.
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. 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 Nursery offers frost hardy shrubs and trees from the garden, many of which are relatively rare in South Africa and not readily found in large commercial nurseries. There is in particular a good variety of deciduous azaleas.
All tours of the Gardens are by arrangement, and are guided by one of the owners. Please contact the owners.
Group tours (e.g. tourist groups, Garden Clubs, etc.) are particularly welcome.
Like all gardens, the optimum time to view the Gardens is early morning or late afternoon, i.e. in the cool of the day.
The very rich bird life is also best seen at these times.