A belief in the miraculous

“At the heart of gardening,” says Mirabel Osler, English writer and garden designer, “is a belief in the miraculous.”  I was never more clearly struck by this truth than when I recently visited Ludwig’s Roses just north of Pretoria. 

I am the first to admit that I allow the fullness of my schedule to crowd my life.  So, this day of visiting gardens was both a special time to relax and a reminder of what I have been missing.  I walked through these majestic blooms with their delicate petals, riotous colours and heady scents and just soaked in their beauty and the peace that emanates from them.

Together with their aesthetic appeal, I have come to appreciate the passion with which people cultivate their roses. Like his roses, founder, Ludwig Taschner is a survivor.  Born in Germany during World War II, he trained as a nurseryman and escaped from East Germany in 1960. Having acquired invaluable experience in Europe and the UK, Ludwig arrived in Pretoria in 1962, and established Ludwig’s Roses in 1971.  From small beginnings, the nursery has become world-renowned, cultivating the largest selection of rose varieties available in the world.

One of the roses I sought out was that of my son’s school: the ‘St John’s College’ rose.

It was while doing so that I encountered a remarkable woman, Sheenagh Harris, who, at the age of 80, travels the world for the love of the rose, sometimes giving lectures, recently gave two lectures to garden forums in Johannesburg on roses that have been chosen by schools to be their signature flower.

She was an inspiration and gave me insight into why schools choose a particular bloom.

At Ludwig’s, you may also choose a rose which will represent the person whom you have lost – and can honour and remember them through its loveliness.

I returned to my garden with a renewed respect for these gentle flowers that seem only to want to share their beauty. I was reminded – and want to share anew with our clients – how important it is to have interests and hobbies that engage us, that bring joy and magnificence to our lives.  I was able to spend the day with my dear friend, Jan, and have created memories with her that we will both treasure.

Right: Sheenagh Harris travels widely to talk on her favourite subject: Roses

We will be hosting a client function in September next year that will allow us to spend this special time together.

In the interim, let the words of Rachel Carson, remind us to take the time to savour these delights of the senses:

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.

Learn more about our client who are true retirement inspirations in the December issue of Inflight.


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