African Oasis:Babylonstoren

An “African Oasis” designed by a Frenchman in a “Cape Dutch” farmstead just outside Cape Town  filled with Western fruit trees, herbs and vegetables – true globalization… from Garden Designnow what is African About this one might ask?

PHOTO BY: Courtesy Babylonstoren

A map of the garden. Image courtesy of Babylonstoren.

Babylonstoren means “Tower of Babel” in Dutch, and the eight acres of gardens at this restored 18th-century Cape Dutch farmstead and hotel in South Africa’s Drakenstein Valley are, like their namesake, both monumental and tantalizingly unfinished. And yet, a walk through the grounds may help visitors do what that skyscraper of legend could not: touch heaven.

“Perhaps people find it peaceful because it’s not aggressive,” says Babylonstoren’s landscape designer, French architect Patrice Taravella. “Beauty is not an objective, it is the result.”

Babylonstoren garden

In the geometric gardens of Babylonstoren, a farmstead and hotel near Cape Town, South Africa, pathways paved with recycled peach pits crunch underfoot beside a gurgling, stone-lined stream that serves as the gardens’ gravity-aided irrigation system. Photo courtesy of Babylonstoren, photo by Cactus Branding

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