Page 24 - CemAir SkyNews 02/16-03/16
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PROFILE / RENÉ CONNELLY & PATTY BUTTERWORTH

“A GARDEN IS THE PUREST OF HUMAN PLEASURES – IT IS
THE GREATEST REFRESHMENT TO THE SPIRITS OF MAN;
WITHOUT WHICH BUILDINGS AND PALACES ARE BUT GROSS
HANDIWORKS.” - Francis Bacon (1567-1626)

Dirt Therapy
Technically, Dirt Therapy, located in         had a habit of drilling the names of birds
      the picturesque Plettenberg Bay,        and trees into her and her siblings from      Top: Katherine's nursery
      in the heart of the Garden Route,       a very early age and they used to have        with it's abundant
is an indigenous tree and plant nursery.      little quizzes on the subject. Visions of     greenery.
However, when you enter the gates             ‘The King and I’ danced in my head as she
of this incredibly beautiful estate you       shared her childhood stories with me.         Bottom from left:
realise instantly that Dirt Therapy is so     After moving from the city to a sprawling     Kath loves her dogs;
much more than just a nursery, it’s a         120ha game farm in the North West             Rugger, Winchester,
little piece of heaven on earth. Owner,       Province, Katherine jumped in, boots          Hollard, Holly, Parker,
Katherine Barlow has, with great success      and all under the guidance of renowned        Remington and
it must be said, created nursery nirvana,     Landscaping Architect and all round           Bazooka.
capitalising on the magnificent valley        garden guru, Patrick Watson. Together
and majestic Tsitsikamma Mountain             they removed all of the alien vegetation      Home grown veggies.
views that rise up to meet you in the         and created a sprawling indigenous
distance. Visitors browse at their leisure    wonderland. It is during this very            Desicious tapas style
while those with little ones are happy        ambitious project that Katherine gained       snacks.
to have them enjoy the farmyard while         mountains of knowledge on landscaping
chickens (amongst others) with serious        and rehabilitating trees and shrubs on a      Fresh Herbs.
personality entertain them. Committed         large scale. It was this seven year-long
lovers of greenery meander through the        project that seemed to have re-ignited        Farm fresh eggs.
grounds while choosing from a variety of      her passion for large scale gardening and
70 different species of small to large trees  landscaping. Katherine and her family         Photos by Glenn
and magnificent shrubs. In addition to the    moved to Plettenberg Bay and once her         Murray.
nursery, the Dirt Therapy décor shop offers   boys had gone off to boarding school
a unique selection of garden accessories,     in Grahamstown in 2014, she decided
home décor and gifts.                         that dirt would once again be her choice
Browsing through the décor shop certainly     of therapy to counter the empty nest
is more than enough to keep you busy for      syndrome. Thus Dirt Therapy was born
quite a while. From quirky and interesting    and has been her baby ever since. After
quotes on the walls and black boards          having been spoilt rotten by her mom,
to Katherine’s amazing collection of old      Penny McAdam, who took Katherine to
watering cans she’s been collecting since     The Chelsea Flower Show in London,
childhood, to scented candles made from       Katherine poured all her efforts and
the essential oils of various exotic plants,  inspiration into this new venture. It’s
this space certainly has a wide appeal. All   easy to see the passion, in fact it is quite
this exciting shopping is thirsty work and    palpable as she has infused aspects of her
while I was rejuvenating and refuelling       personality into every nook and cranny of
with a pukka cup of java, I had the           this nursery, from the quotes on the walls
pleasure of chatting to Katherine.            to the items she sells in her shop; they all
Listening to this bubbly, energetic and       exude ‘Kath’.
passionate lady, time seemed to fly by as     The very nature of this peaceful estate
she regaled me with tales of her childhood    lends itself to socialising and when asked
spent largely playing in and around           if she would consider hiring a section
her aunt, Sandy Ovenstone’s (owner of         of it out as a venue, Katherine, ever the
Stellenberg Garden in Kenilworth) garden.     hostess with the mostess, happily obliged.
One can absolutely understand how her         Locals and visitors alike are making use
passion was ignited, as this internationally  of this relaxed space and great merriment
acclaimed four-acre garden that dates         can be found in abundance while
back to the 1700’s is nothing short of        munching on delicious fair, enjoying a
spectacular and an inspiration to any lover   tipple and talking and laughing the night
of gardens. Thus the love of all things       away with good friends and family in the
flora (and fauna as it turns out), seems      midst of a beautiful garden.
to be in Katherine’s blood. I had a good
chuckle when she told me that her father

24 | FEBRUARY / MARCH 2016 CEMAIR SKYNEWS
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