After the 44 years of The Garden Show, aspiring gardeners were able to enter the first ever public feature garden competition brought to you by Blackwood’s Home of Gardening. This competition allowed non-landscapers to show off their green thumbs in the best way possible – by creating a garden from scratch.


The applicants were allowed to select one of the five following themes for their 3 x 3 metre gardens:

1. Waterwise

2. Contemporary

3. Cottage

4. Edible

5. Succulent

1. Cottage Garden designed by Shaun Van Huyssteen

My name is Shaun van Huyssteen. I am a dairy farmer in the underberg area. I have always been a passionate gardener and have a love of Roses. Over the last couple of years I have taken pleasure in opening my garden to the public in our local open gardens. I have always enjoyed floral and design. The opportunity to enter the Blackwood’s Backyard Competition has allowed me to display my passions in both floral design and gardening. If I was fortunate enough to win I would certainly put the prize money towards a new design element in my garden.


Motivation for the garden:

‘Old country English cottage garden’ is my vision, full of colour and texture. Grassy borders and pops of tall colour are a big part of my plan. I used river rocks for accent, and plant combinations that complement each other in a mass of cottage splendour..

2. Waterwise Garden designed by Julia Bradford

My husband says he is sure I dream about my garden continuously. Which isn’t too far from the truth. I do love my garden. So, I have come up with an idea, whereby I can still daydream about my garden and get some rest at the same time. What better way to do this and that by creating a “Flower bed water wise garden”


Motivation for the garden:

Welcome to my passion, I love gardening and creating cool spaces within my garden. I may not know all the plant names nor be an absolute fundi but perseverance is key. I do have a tendency to rename plants which has become a bit of a inner circle joke. Water wise plants are a life saver to the amateur gardener because if we forget to water them, they don’t sulk and can survive our novice antics. Be wise, buy water wise.

3. Hilton Garden Club

The Hilton Garden Club is 72 years old and a very active club. We like to challenge other Garden Clubs to enter this competition and we promote gardening as a hobby for all ages, for a better future. Our club is involved in the Hilton Community in that we support the Hilton Business Initiative for the improvement of the village environment. We help with the maintenance of the Library garden and now a member is involved in reviving the M.O.T.H. Memorial Garden too.


Motivation for the garden:

The Hilton Garden Club has consistently supported the Witness Garden Show, only unavoidably missing last year. We won Gold in 2016 and 2017. The category ‘Contemporary’ relies on structural plants and hard materials. The five design principles are paramount – good balance both overall and between elements, scale and proportion in keeping with the space and backdrop, rhythm/repetition through the design but with strong emphasis on dominance and contrast. We aim for clean geometric lines, bold structures with strong emphases/focal points and complementary colours, yet still maintain a natural feel. To achieve this we will judiciously use the design elements of texture, colour and shape. Positive and negative space will create a modern ‘feel’. This theme will bring together a team of passionate gardeners with various creative strengths.

4. Melissa Clare van Amsterdam. 

Creativity is who I am – I especially love making novelty and wedding cakes. I entered to challenge myself, as the only thing that’s survived in my garden has been my forgiving succulents. I created this design with my kids in mind – it is for the avid reader in them. I envisaged an oasis called “In perfect peace”, a fantasy land of sorts. As you pass through the arch you enter a magical pathway that transports you to a different land, just like books transport you to worlds within the cover.


Motivation for the garden:

My theme is rustic/vintage – a secret garden that has been forgotten… I will be edging my garden with all sorts of succulents in various sizes and shades. I will also be using a variety of aloes and succulents throughout the design, including around my centrepiece planter and the other various features. The entrance will be through an arch, with a paved pathway leading to a mini back patio at the end of the garden, where one can relax on a bench with a good book or a cup of tea.

5. Henry Greenway

Inspired by a love for gardening and creative outdoor design, I entered this competition to stretch my creative boundaries in the “backyard” arena. Exploring fun and innovative ways to transform small spaces into beautifully functional edible gardens that are sustainable to the environment and community! With my winnings, I would like to create a space which displays a benchmark of “Beginnerto-Fundi”. Showing how easy it is to plant a garden that rewards us with tasty treats


Motivation for the garden:

Our Mission is to present an edible garden with an uncomplicated approach. Combining contemporary functionality with the items and pieces showcased. Our creative use of space includes a variety of long-term trees, plants, seasonal vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. Adding vivid colour to your garden and spicing up your table. Inspired by Healthy Living and local plant diversity this Spring, we will display a variety of simple ways to transform an ordinary backyard, into a wonderland. With an abundance of colour and intoxicating scents, which will no only attract bees and butterflies but, inspire you to enjoy more time in your backyard. To achieve this vision, we will be combining elements of woodwork, easily accessible materials, including items that can be upcycled. With a smart, practical, playful design demonstrating that size doesn’t count in this arena.