DeMorgenzon is, in essence, a 91 hectare garden interspersed with 55 hectares of carefully tended vineyards. It’s necessary to understand the physical context to get a feeling for the gardens – the farm rises from about 200m to nearly 400m above sea level and enjoys panoramic vistas including Cape Town, Table Mountain, Cape Point, Cape Hangklip, the Hottentots Holland mountains, Helderberg and Simonsberg with the ocean as a backdrop. The blue sea and purple mountains do inevitably influence the planting palette. In order to make sense of it all, the garden is divided into discrete spaces.
The drive from the front gate to the house is, in effect, a 2.5 kilometre mixed border. Access along the driveway naturally controls the way in which it is visited. Also, the borders have been designed to be viewed at some speed!
We’ve used broad sweeps of colour, and framed elements of the landscape within floral cartouches. The vistas are so big that we have had to isolate and limit the views. We are still learning to work with the wind and have come to see ‘movement’ as an additional element, adding complexity and a different dimension to form and colour.
‘Repetition and variation’ has become a major theme at DeMorgenzon. We avoid what could otherwise degenerate into a ‘fruit salad’ by keeping certain elements and colours constant. The major unifying structural elements are cypresses, olives and roses. We’ve planted hundreds of figs and lemons, but they are still too small to make a contribution. This skeleton is fleshed out with shrubs which maintain the constants – blues, white, purples, greys and silver.
The wildflower palette also repeats with variation. Cornflowers are a major unifier. Their intense blue is varied with other blues such as larkspur, anchusa, nemophilia, flax and viscaria. Further variation comes with the introduction of other themes. Shirley poppies and godetia create a totally different picture when interplanted with the blues. Similarly, a swathe of California poppies achieves a sense of vitality when interspersed with dots of blue and red. We’ve also planted specially chosen wildflowers between the vines. We have no doubt that a biodiverse and ecologically sensitive environment produces infinitely better grapes … the beauty of our gardens is captured in every bottle of our wine.