Be Part of Harcourts Hilton Open Midlands Gardens 2020

“Planning has begun to devise a very different plan for the forthcoming Open Gardens Season. The theme we have chosen is NEW, LITTLE AND OLD. This gives us wonderful scope to include a wide spectrum of gardens but structured in such a way that a specific route will be followed for some of them, thus bringing cohesion and ease of access for visitors. In these frugal days of high travelling expenses, the Committee will choose four areas in which the gardens will be concentrated. These areas will be revealed as the master plan falls into place, “ Commented Jackie Kalley, convener of the Harcourts Hilton Open Midlands Gardens.

By NEW, they are describing exciting gardens that follow modern gardening practice and that will stimulate all the senses providing a new perspective on gardening trends. These gardens will, perhaps, demonstrate the use of grasses in garden design; the amazing shapes and sizes of succulents or water-wise gardens; geometric symmetry or visionary.

The theme of LITTLE has been extensively explored over a previous couple of seasons as they feel it is important to show you how small gardens can be just as stunning as their larger counterparts and where clever use of space and plants becomes paramount. Ideas galore for those who want to downsize or downscale.

OLD is a theme pertinent to the Natal Midlands, It is the legacy of the past, and one that has helped to shape our present, in the form of Victorian and Edwardian homes – both mansions and smaller homes make up the tapestry of the built environment in which we live. Many of these houses and gardens have been not available for public viewing over the years and this is an opportunity to showcase their architectural beauty and how they are located in their space – many of their gardens are in the form of parkland with glorious and ancient trees while others have utilized the landscape to its best advantage. But there are tiny gardens too, often gardened in the Cottage Style that suits them so well. Many of these treasures of the past are neglected, derelict of have even been demolished. There are however owners with vision who have preserved some of these buildings and gardens – many of them unique to the Midlands and we hope to bring you a selection of them to enjoy and appreciate; we drive past many of them, little knowing anything about them!

They’d love you to get in touch if you’d like them to chat with you further about displaying your garden. If you have a shy friend who has a beautiful garden, perhaps you can encourage them to get in touch. You can email omg.midlands@harcourts.co.za or make contact with Jackie on 0829245892

Learn More About Hilton’s Areas: Part Four

In this series of blogs, we’ll continue to share a little more about each suburb of Hilton. 

Hilton College Road is named after the famous private boarding school which has an impressive campus framed by an avenue of trees and entrance gates at the end of this 7 km road. The school opened in 1872 and is set in the beautiful Hilton College Nature Reserve. There are 4 waterfalls, a line of cliffs, a couple of kilometres of river frontage, and numerous trails that take you around the nature reserve. The original farm was purchased by Gould Arthur Lucas in 1860 and named “Upper Hilton”. School attendees and teachers came on horseback or in wagons, as the railway did not reach Pietermaritzburg until 1880. 

Upon leaving the school, to your right, is the newly established The Gates estate with 80 stands of approximately 1800 sq/m each.  The road to the right leads down onto Umgeni River and is home to several large farms as well Rietspruit Falls Estate which offers 5 homes. It is perfectly positioned above the confluence of the Umngeni River and the Rietspruit River, overlooking the majestic Rietspruit Falls, and alongside the Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve and The Hilton Bush Lodge.

As you continue down Hilton College road towards Hilton, you will pass on your right another recently established estate, Castle View, which overlooks neighbouring farms and dams and onto to Giant’s Castle in the Drakensberg. It offers plots of 1 ha and each property has it own view.

To the left, you will pass the D494, popular with cyclists, this road winds steeply into the Umgeni Valley passing several large farms.

To left and right, as you draw closer to Hilton, are the tree plantations in which many Hiltonians enjoy running, walking and riding. Opposite Grace College High School, you will see the construction of the Avenues Shopping Centre. Next to this is the Wedgwood Estate, which has nine plots, and then Garlington Estate which provides a full range of houses from apartments ranging in size from 58m² to 180m², freestanding properties ranging in size from 300m² to 1000m² and outer lying plots of over 1 ha. It is renowned for its secure living. Garlington borders on the Mount Verde Estate which offers urban farming with plots of 30 ha. 

The suburb alongside these estates is Hilton Gardens offering family homes of various styles and sizes as well as several popular complexes. Its cornerstone is the Life Hospital and Health Centre which is conveniently located at the N3 freeway intersection.

Learn More About Hilton’s Areas: Part Three

In this series of blogs, we’ll continue to share a little more about each suburb of Hilton. 

If you come into Hilton from Pietermaritzburg up Dennis Shepstone Drive, as you near the Crossways intersection, to your west (or left) is the suburb, Mountain Homes. Facing North-West, this bright and light suburb is one of the warmer places in Hilton as it receives lots of sun. As a result, aloes, thorn trees and succulents thrive. Many of the gardens were established in the early 1980s and so are beautifully mature. The gentle gradient of Mountain Homes allows for easy walks along the quiet lanes and to the nearby Quarry centre. This suburb is also home to our Hilton Police Station.

Continue down Hilton Avenue, past the Quarry centre and heading towards the N3 freeway, and you will pass on your right a well-known area within Leonard, Park Lane and Flamingo Road. This is one of the original areas and so you’ll find Victorian face brick homes as well as wood and iron homes (which were delivered, flat pack, from England!). Along the winding, narrow roads are huge trees and azaleas making this a very leafy area. There are a variety of garden sizes are found from the traditional 2000 sq/m up to 5 (2ha) and 10 acre (4ha) plots. This area also boasts several apartments, simplexes and townhouses within complexes. 

On your left you will see Acutt and Cowan Roads and Sundale Drive (directly opposite the historic Hilton Hotel). Centred around an open vlei with wetlands, this is a quiet area popular with walkers and cyclists. There are several established and spacious simplexes as well as a new eco-estate in addition to the free-standing quaint cottages and comfortable homes. The size of plot varies from the standard 2000 sq/m up to 4000 sq/m. 

Learn More About Hilton’s Areas: Part Two

In this series of blogs, we’ll continue to share a little more about each suburb of Hilton. 

As you come into Hilton from Howick and head down Cedara road, Hiltara Park is the first suburb to your left once you are passed the Rotunda shopping centre. It is a single entry suburb and has tight management of security which has been developed by the community. These private folks work closely together in times of need. Golden Pond Retirement Village is within this area allowing the mature folk to enjoy a safe environment to walk in. Eskom supplies electricity to this area directly resulting in fewer power cuts.

Several roads are turn off Cedara road to the left and lead into the Leonard suburb. This is one of the largest areas in Hilton and was established in the early 1970s. It is predominantly made up of 2000 sq/m stands with healthy hedges and almost level properties. With both Hilton Pre-primary school and Laddsworth Primary School being within it as well as the Hilton and Squash clubs, it is the ideal family neighbourhood.  These premises are home to the regular markets held by Hiltonians. Most of the homes have been renovated to give them their own character. Leonard stretches through to Hilton Avenue and so offers great access in and out of Hilton. One of the key roads that run between Hilton avenue and Cedara road is Groenekloof road, named after one of the two farms originally developed by the Voortrekkers. The second, and the less majestic, site was named Ongegund. British settlers began to move into the area following the departure of many Voortrekkers across the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg in 1843. One of the settlers was Joseph Henderson who bought part of Ongegund in 1860. He named the property Hilton. In 1962, the name became simply “Hilton” rather than Hilton Road.

Continuing along Cedara Road, just before the Crossways intersection, is the suburb of Bergview. Just 2 main roads service this suburb which has incredible views across the Berg and the Mondi forest plantation. This is a great spot to exercise! All the roads are cul de sacs making it great for privacy. Known as the quietest spot in Hilton, this area does not hear a train or a highway, even the aeroplanes don’t fly over it.

Learn More About Hilton’s Areas: Part One

Hilton may be a small village of 31 sq/km with a population of around 10 000 but it has several different environments and the neighbourhoods each have their own personalities. In this series of blogs, we’ll be sharing a little more about each.

One of the entrances to Hilton, from Pietermaritzburg, is through World’s View so named as it overlooks Pietermaritzburg, quite a sight! This awesome suburb is tucked away but conveniently located it’s set among large tree plantations which offer numerous walks and lots of fresh air! The original broadcasting station, visible from over 50 km away, has been converted into a Christian-based school. 

The World’s View Conservancy covers just over 10 000 ha and is predominantly covered by commercial plantations but there are significant pockets of undisturbed, original grassland and indigenous forest. The conservancy is traversed by two disused railway lines, one built in 1885 and the other in 1915, and the Voortrekker Road, all of which are of historical and heritage importance.

Continue your way up Old Howick Road and you’ll pass Berryhill. These homes, set just behind the Crossways’ intersection, have glorious views of the Winterskloof valley. Most of these properties are larger than the standard 2000 sq/m. Set on the edge of the escarpment, it catches every bit of mist or drizzle, making for very lush gardens, and forested areas with awesome birdlife. All this is within walking distance of the Village centre.

Set away from the Hilton Village, by just under a kilometre, is Winterskloof. The two primary properties at St Michael’s Mount, which later became known as Winterskloof, were bought in 1861 by John Lake Crompton and James William Winter. James called it “Winter’s Kloof”

A minimum of eight springs rise in this valley producing crystal clear water for the rivers below. This makes the area environmentally sensitive. The minimum plot size is 8000 sq/m and this larger plot allows for owners to have livestock, eg: horses, chickens, peacocks, and experience awesome privacy. Access to the gorgeous homes, set in this forested area, is along winding English-like lanes. There are also awesome walks or runs throughout this area with the Winterskloof Trail Run being held annually. 

The residents of this special area are predominantly folk who appreciate the environment and this brought about the creation of the Green Bobbies. The Green Bobbies are members of our community employed to remove invasive alien plants and litter off the verges in the Winterskloof Valley. They rely solely on income from fundraising, donations and working in private gardens. They are experienced in identifying local alien invasive species and in the eradication of these plants. They don’t cut plants down but treat them in situ. They bring their own equipment and herbicides (provided by the Conservancy). As an added bonus, your gardener can work with them, learn the techniques, and identify the invasive plants! Some of the most beautiful gardens in South Africa are found here. 

The Winterskloof Conservancy undertakes exciting initiatives which benefit Winterskloof residents. The aim is to make the area safer, cleaner and greener. The Conservancy is linked to the established WTSU Security Initiative and so as members are automatically conservancy members.

Are There Specific Property Requirements For Over 60s?

This is such an interesting question as things should have changed over the years, but have not really!

I am 57. When my parents were this age 40 odd years back, they chose to downscale from their farm and settle on a 1,2 ha (3,5 acre) parklike property close to a small village, in the Natal Midlands, known as Hilton.

Their parents at a similar age, moved from the same farm to a one-bedroomed flat in the city. The other granny moved from her flat in the city into a residential hotel in Pietermaritzburg.

Now I have just moved from a 0,8 ha (2 acre) property into a gated estate on 2000 sq/m, with the same size house (Now that was a bit dof).

We, as agents, meet so many people in this stage of life; where the kids have left and they feel they should take the next step but also feel they are bringing on the end of life, too soon.

Let’s be real! My move has brought new interests, fewer responsibilities, new friends (mostly younger than us ) and a whole lot of fun.

Some of my friends in the same age group are buying big properties and almost starting again, while others are moving to the beach into neat apartments while at the same time, they have bought a boat in the Mediterranean.

So is there a shift in the needs of the people at 60? it seems to me that there is no “norm “ for this age group.

What we have seen is that the old residential hotel certainly had its need way back then, but this has gradually disappeared.

What we have seen more of is rural farm homes being converted to places for folk suffering from dementia. These are run a bit like a student digs where the folk have tasks that they have to complete which is brilliant as it keeps them busy and they feel loved and needed.

This brings me to the final point as I see a gap in the market for ‘Digs’ for the mature. A few are popping up here and there, where folk have a private room or even two (budget allowing) and there are communal reception rooms, coffee machines, toasters, for when required during the day.

There is a full-time staff who cook, clean and garden. BUT BEST of all there is the company. They can be private (in their room) when it suits but they can also enjoy social time and meals with others. I really feel this makes sense as they are sharing costs, contributing to life and its socially acceptable. So, I’m all for the emerging “Green House Project” which brings this concept to life!

– Andrew Line, Principal of Harcourts Hilton

Open Gardens event set to grow

We have begun the third Harcourts and Stihl national Open Gardens event, an exciting time, where avid gardeners open up their beautiful gardens to members of the public throughout the year. Garden committees all over South Africa have worked endlessly to host this spectacular event and gardeners have dedicated months to preparing for the public’s visits. Nothing was spared to ensure these beautiful gardens are picturesque hubs of natural beauty.

Celebrating a community’s garden is a concept born from the Yellow Book, a book produced in the UK as a guide to all their local open gardens. This book has grown from strength to strength each year and now boasts thousands of spectacular UK gardens of all sizes.

“There is something special about sharing your garden with a community. To step into someone else’s “fantasy world” so to speak and identify with their ideas, is a unique and privileged experience,” explained Andrew Line, Business Owner of Harcourts Hilton, who is the main sponsor of this event.

There are a plethora of new and creative ideas on display as well as many new gardeners and a lot of new visitors. “This event is attracting an enormous amount of attention from the public and this makes us very excited. We thoroughly enjoy being a part of an event that inspires people to invest in their home and aims to celebrate the unparalleled spectrum of fauna and flora on show in our beautiful country,” added Line.

Entrance fees are charged for access to these gardens, all of which go to the charities elected by the gardener, so not only are the public enjoying this gorgeous display, but charities across the country are benefiting as well.

Line recently returned from a trip to the UK and marvelled at the gardens on display. “There are exquisite gardens in the UK, some only a few years old and others have been flourishing for centuries. It is so exciting to see how gardens are a part of peoples’ lives, on a global scale, in such a significant way. It truly does become a way of life. Real Estate has always been synonymous with gardening and for long property pundits have urged homeowners to take care of their gardens. Not only from a gardening perspective but a well-kept garden adds about 10% to the value of your home. Many buyers notice the garden first and like eyes are the windows to the soul so a garden leads to the soul of your home,” said Line.

We want to thank everyone involved, especially the garden owners, and send a special thank you to Tanya Visser of Gardener Magazine – let’s keep our fingers green!

It’s Open Gardens time again in the Midlands!

Each year, the Harcourts Hilton Open Midlands Gardens committee arranges something different for visitors to enjoy and this year, their theme is Majestic Trees of the Midlands as well as focusing on small gardens once again. 

The nearly 50 KZN Midlands gardens are listed in the recently published Open Gardens of South Africa magazine on sale at retailers throughout the country. Andrew Line, principal of Harcourts Hilton, and the main sponsor of the event, draws inspiration from the Harcourts Hilton Open Midlands Gardens. Line expressed his admiration for the gardeners and confirmed that he “takes pleasure and pride in being involved in this annual event”. 

With so many beautiful gardens on display over the Open Midlands Gardens season, it is easy to forget that this event is also a significant fundraiser for a number of charities. Unless specified otherwise, the entrance fee represents a donation. Each of the gardeners chooses the charity that they are supporting. So when you are out and about, please give some thought to these amazing gardeners and the charities that they care about. Any additional donations would be greatly appreciated!

The 2018 Harcourts Hilton Open Midlands Gardens raised R68 750 for more than 20 local charities. Andrew Line emphasised once again the importance of this aspect of the event and is hopeful that the monies raised will be even greater in the 2019 season.

The first garden on show is this weekend, 14 – 15 September, at Waterford Hall in the Karkloof. Visit the Facebook page, https://facebook.com/openmidlandsgardens for more information or pop into Harcourts Hilton to pick up a free Open Gardens of South Africa magazine.

Purchase your season ticket for R60 per person to be able to walk in and enjoy every garden (except for Benvie and Endebeni Forest) or pay as you go at R10 per person per garden, the exception being the Woodgrove Gardens where an R20 entrance fee goes to PADCA and there are five gardens on display. The gardens are open between 9 am and 5 pm each day unless otherwise specified. The tickets are on sale from the gardens as well as Harcourts Hilton, so call them on 033 343 3345.

Over 60? The PADCA JLS Mile needs you!

The PADCA Mile is now in its SEVENTH year and has moved to a new venue, Grace College in Hilton. Now that we are an established event on the Pietermaritzburg seniors calendar, PADCA is looking to over sixties in the Midlands area to come and join in and make it an even bigger event. 

Sponsored once again by J Leslie Smith & Company Inc., the morning boasts fun activities and encourages camaraderie. The day promotes ageless living, regardless of physical ability, and every effort is made to ensure everyone is included. 

In addition to the 5km, 2.5km and 1km walks around Grace College property, there are Giant Garden Games to enjoy as well as a Tea Garden, with good music and a great vibe.

This PADCA JLS Mile will be held at Grace College on Hilton Avenue, in Hilton, on 18 September 2019. There is NO charge for participation, and all are welcome.

Registration starts at 8am, so the walking can begin promptly at 9.30 am. For more information contact Pamela on tel: 033 345 4711, email: reception@padca.co.za or visit our website: www.padca.co.za.

PADCA is a non-profit organisation looking to improve the quality of life of seniors across the whole financial spectrum. They care for vulnerable seniors, in the KZN Midlands, both by homing seniors in their various residences according to their specific needs as well as providing home-based care.   They spearhead initiatives (such as #GoBLUE) to educate families and the communities around current issues. While they use income from other sources to cover costs, they are also heavily reliant on DONATIONS to continue with the work they started 70 years ago.

Watch South Africa’s top artists work at The Hilton Arts Festival

Come and watch 13 of South Africa’s artists work at this year’s Hilton Arts Festival. Each Living Art demonstration will last approximately 60 minutes and they are free of charge. From oil painting to soft pastels, landscapes to portraiture and everything in between will be on show so don’t miss this opportunity to pick up technique tips and see a piece of come to life. For more information on the artist demonstrations, visit The South African Artist magazine Facebook page.

Be sure to also stop in and see two of South Africa’s masters, JH Pierneef and Anton van Wouw, works in person in the ABSA Gallery. Pierneef is said to be one of the best of the old South African masters, and his work continues to inspire future landscape painters. Van Vouw has an equally impressive reputation as the father of South African sculpture. “They were pioneer artists who represented the top tier of South African art in its various forms, and their art continues to leave an incomparable imprint on the art world – making the decision to take a sample of their work to showcase at the prestigious Hilton Arts Festival a simple one. Our objectives are the same: to shine a spotlight on South Africa’s outstanding artistic talent,” says Senior Specialist Art Curator of Absa Art Gallery, Dr. Paul Bayliss. 

Alongside the work of the old masters will be the winning artworks from the 2019 Absa L’Atelier competition In its 34th year, Absa L’Atelier competition has built a strong legacy as a platform that allows the dynamic, inspiring and young visual artists of Africa to shine. This a Hilton Arts Festival not to be missed! 

https://www.hiltonfestival.co.za/2019/