SUSIE HARRIS-LEBLOND INVITES US TO HER LEGACY FAMILY GARDEN
In her childhood, Susie Harris-Leblond and her sisters were forever being told to mind their mother’s flowers. Then she grew up, became a mum, avid gardener and started telling her own girls to mind the flowers. Life has come full circle.
Susie’s journey in gardening started later in life after she moved abroad for a gap year. While living in London, Susie started growing plants in her tiny garden and that’s where the ‘bug bit.’
Soon, she was enrolled to study horticulture and garden design. After completing her course, she worked as as the head gardener of two estate gardens in Kent.
From there this mother of two got her hands dirty learning pruning, how to propagate plants and more, equipping her to be a custodian of this family Eden.
We joined her at her family’s legacy garden in Constantia. The estate belongs to her husband’s family and has a phenomenal history. Today, Susie has the privilege of continuing the legacy of the farm.
Having worked with plants suited to a British climate, Susie had to adapt to South African conditions. On our tour of the estate, we got to see Susie’s cut flower garden.
Although previously a vegetable garden, as a result of the heavy soil, Susie saw that the vegetables did not thrive. That’s when she decided to start growing cut flowers in the space. So, for beginners or novice plant lovers – does she have some universal, failsafe advice?
“Top tips for planting – if you have indoor plants don’t over water your indoor plants, ” she explain, “leave it for a little bit, it will probably perk up again.”
“If you’re gardening outside, the most important thing is to get to know what kind of soil you have. It’s really important to understands your soil and soil health because it really underpins your gardening efforts.”
As well as becoming a fully fledged garden designer and sought after botanical photographer, Susie has applied her low carbon footprint approach to blooms well past their sell-by date. Dried flowers are yet another way to indulge a love of gardening.
“Our little flower farm offers workshops which we really love doing, it’s a wonderful way to meet people and to meet our customers,” she explains, “one of the workshops we offer is a dried flower wreath workshop.”
“Often we’ve got left over flowers at the end of the season so we dry them. Dried flowers are amazing because they last for a really long time so there are many things you can do with them.”
Next time your instinct is to reach for your phone and spend an hour scrolling and swiping – try picking some flowers and making one of these. If you would like to do one of Susie’s workshops, find out more information here.
Active gardening like Susie does it is also such a complete pastime, it keeps your back, knees, wrists, shoulders and fingers fully exercised. Gym is all well and good but gardeners get the ultimate workout!