Plant a tree at Vergelegen estate this Arbor Week

From left, are Vergelegen’s garden team members Girelle Farmer; horticulturist Courtney Abbott; Siyanda Mpebe; Buhle Mbuyazwe; Cheslin Cedrus; and senior horticulturist Richard Arm preparing for Arbor Week at Vergelegen estate in Somerset West.

In celebration of Arbor Week during the first week of September, the Vergelegen estate in Somerset West, is for the first time, inviting visitors to purchase and plant indigenous trees at the estate.

The trees will be planted in the estate’s 54-hectare arboretum, which will contain at least 7 500 trees when completed in 2031.

Trees for sale will include Real yellowwood (Podocarpus latifolius), water berry (Sysigium cordatum), water pear (Syzgium quineense), milkwood (Sideroxylon inerme) and false olive (Buddleja saligna). The cost is R250 per tree and the offer is available from Friday September 1, to Thursday September 7.

“We will provide the trees, spades and pre-dug holes, and members of our garden team will be at the ready to lend a hand,” said the estate’s senior horticulturist Richard Arm.

He said their expectation is that many people would want to mark this occasion with their families.

“Visitors can also purchase the trees and plant them in their own gardens or other locations. We’ll have a selection of trees in our car park for anyone who would prefer this option,” he added.

In addition to tree sales and planting, Mr Arm said that the 323-year-old estate will also continue its tradition of offering visitors free seeds from its ancient Outeniqua yellowwood during Arbor Week.

This venerable specimen of Afrocarpus falcatus is estimated to be 150-400 years old. The team gathers about 500 packets of seeds every year and distributes these at the entrance gate.

Mr Arm said this task is made easier by resident fruit bats, which nibble at the seeds and help remove the skin that prohibits germination. The bats also tend to drop the seeds in certain areas of the garden, making collection easier.

To mark this first week of spring, the estate will also launch its new, pink Cap Classique from Friday September 1, in the wine tasting room and restaurants.

In addition to tree buying and planting, guests can during Arbor week, still enjoy the other offerings of the estate, including meals at the bistro-style Stables restaurant, French dishes offered at Café Fleur or book for guided tours of the nature reserve, cellar, gardens and homestead.

The estate is open from Monday to Sunday from 8.30am to 5pm, with the last entries at 4pm. Entry fees are R10 for adults and R5 for pensioners and scholars, while pensioners get free entry on Mondays.

Visit vergelegen.co.za for more information, send emails to info@vergelegen.co.za or call 021 847 2111.

Garden team member Buhle Mbuyazwe, can here be seen with a yellowwood tree ready for planting in the arboretum.
Pictured at the ancient Outeniqua yellowwood at the estate are garden team members showing off the seeds of the tree which will be given to visitors for free. From left in the back, are senior horticulturist Richard Arm, Buhle Mbuyazwe, Michelle Soetsenberg, Brent Plaatjies and Machel Bok. In the front from left, are Cheslin Cedrus, Siyanda Mpebe and Girelle Farmer.