Set within 3,5 hectares (8 acres) of cultivated fruit and vegetables, the big garden at Babylonstoren is at the heart of the farm. It was inspired by the historic Company’s Garden in Cape Town, which supplied sailing ships of the Dutch East India Company with fresh vegetables and fruit during the days when the Cape was a halfway station between Europe and Asia. But we also link back to the mythological hanging gardens of Babylon. Those were thought to have been created by Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century BC, for his wife who longed for the mountains and valleys of her youth.
Become a volunteer
As we are passionate about our garden at Babylonstoren, we welcome fellow gardeners, horticulturists, botanists or those who are interested in learning more about gardening. If you’re happy to get your hands dirty (you’ll be planting, harvesting, pruning and mulching) and eager to learn and/or share your knowledge, we’d love to welcome you as a volunteer at Babylonstoren. You’ll work with our gardeners in every aspect of the garden but most importantly get a chance to contribute to the garden in a real way.
Join our Garden Tour
Our daily guided garden tour starts at the Farm Shop at 10h00. One of our experienced gardeners will be your guide on this tour, during which we encourage guests to pick, taste, smell and touch while walking through our garden. Each of the 300 plant varieties is edible or has medicinal value. The beautiful garden is not only pleasing to the eye, but also provides the restaurants with fresh produce, harvested daily. Our enthusiastic guides will share some of the garden’s special stories with you and give practical gardening tips. We hope you will enjoy our garden and be inspired when you leave to plant your own!
In 2007, owner Karen Roos commissioned French architect Patrice Taravella to plan the layout of the garden. His work at Prieuré Notre Dame d’Orsan in France had impressed her greatly. There Patrice had reconstructed a medieval cloistered garden on the site of a restored 12th-century monastery. “I was drawn to Patrice’s inherent discipline. It is almost Cartesian in the tradition of classical French gardens,” says Karen. “And he’s remarkable in that he really understands the movement of people: how to make a garden hold you and calm you down.”
Taravella gave the garden geometric bones. His creation sits on an axis that extends east to west along the traditional lines of the old whitewashed Cape Dutch werf (farmyard), then north to south from Babel Restaurant to the Babylonstoren koppie. It comprises 15 clusters spanning vegetable areas, stone and pome fruits, nuts, citrus, berries, bees, herbs, ducks and chickens, a prickly pear maze, and more. Gravity feeds water from a stream by rills into the garden, flowing through ponds planted with edible lotus, nymphaea lilies and waterblommetjies.
Every one of the 300 varieties of plants in the garden is edible or has medicinal value. They are also grown as organically as possible and in a biologically sustainable manner. The fruit and vegetables from the garden are harvested all year round for use in two farm-to-fork restaurants. Along the edge of the garden, a natural stream flows from the Simonsberg mountain to the Berg River, creating a space for indigenous wild olives to flourish. In their shade a collection of some 7 000 clivia lilies explode in a spectacular display every spring. Our head gardener Liesl van der Walt and her team tend the plants that have flourished beyond expectation – so much so that it’s quite hard to believe that the gardens are still relatively young.
9h00–17h00 (last entry 16h00)
Guided garden tours start at the Farm Shop: 10h00–11h30