De Zeven Then And Now: Looking Back at Our Year of Growth

Posted on Tue December 10, 2019 in Banhoek Valley.

Richard Holmes recently wrote an article about De Zeven for the distinguished Stellenbosch Visio Magazine and it got us thinking about the changes we've seen in the first year of De Zeven, especially in the expansion of our garden. We dug around in the archives and discovered a few pictures from when we started and compared it to where we are today.

Situated on one of the few smallholdings in the Banhoek Valley, De Zeven is just shy of 4ha of land that has seen a remarkable transformation since the Meyers (Uys and Siobhan) took ownership. The gently sloping property had little garden to speak of and required enormous landscaping to provide a foundation for what was to come. Soils were improved, compost trucked in, endless paving pulled up and retaining walls built to create the attractive terracing of the property.

“When this property came up for sale there was nothing here, just an old farmhouse, but Uys fell in love with the view. I think he was excited to create another garden! It was my task to come up with an idea for using the property and one that made the most of these incredible views,” says Siobhan.

The Meyers then turned to Rentia Hobbs of landscaping consultancy Once Upon a Garden. For the past two years, Rentia has been closely involved with the award-winning South African displays at the annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show and she did a remarkable job of creating a living tapestry of water-wise flora on De Zeven’s bare site. “It was very much a blank canvas,” she explains. “From the beginning Uys and Siobhan wanted a low-maintenance garden that still contributed to the architecture and character of the property.”

And that blend of heritage and contemporary architecture in the lodge is subtly reflected in the layout of the garden. “We have a little bit of everything, from cottage English to arid aloes to succulents and water-wise wild grasses that take up nearly half of the garden,” Rentia points out.



The plantings of the central courtyard are particularly impressive, with a blizzard of colourful bush sage, fragrant rosemary and eye-catching strelitzias, and there’s a pathway of pavers, interplanted with ground creepers, that leads towards a wooden deck and rimflow pool.

It has been a remarkable year at De Zeven since we opened our doors. We are grateful for the contributions of our dedicated team and the joy this property has brought for many guests. May we continue to flourish not only in our garden, but also in our efforts to celebrate the Banhoek Valley.