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Gardens of East London show

01 Oct 2014

In 2011, Pam Golding Properties East London area principal, Hanlie Bassingthwaighte, launched an initiative which saw local charities benefiting from donations from members of the public who visited and viewed the city’s gardens. 

Local residents seen in the thriving vegetable garden created and cared for by the Nceduluntu Reeston Support Group – a garden which won the township category in PGP’s Gardens of East London competition in 2013.

This year’s event, to be held on the weekend of 4 and 5 October, promises to be yet another resounding success.

Bassingthwaighte says being involved in the property industry, we know that an attractive and well-cared-for garden not only provides a relaxing and tranquil haven for its occupants, it can also enhance the value of the property. And when the time comes to sell the property, a well maintained and attractive garden creates a favourable impression for buyers.

“While we initiated and sponsored the Gardens of East London show mainly in order to inspire homeowners to create beautiful gardens, we are delighted that this is also helping boost support for charities in our local community.

“The participating charities are those which have come across our various agents’ paths and we have tried to be as inclusive as possible. These are CANSA, Breath of Life, Greensleeves, the Sophumelela Centre, Friends of the East London Zoo, the SPCA, Pet Pals, The Compassionate Friends, Salem Baby Centre, African Angels, The Carel du Toit Centre, Uthixo Unungile Ministry, the East London’s Women Prisoners, Berea Gardens Service Centre, Alzheimers, Child Welfare and Passion for People.”

All the charities are given the same number of tickets to sell at R50 each, which they can sell beforehand or on the day. From these sales, they receive 100 percent of the money. With the consent of the garden owner, charities may also erect stalls or bring in extra entertainment.

“For example, last year Uthixho Unungile Ministry sold different crafts that they manufacture, while this year we have heard that Greensleeves has been creating beaded necklaces creatively made from magazine paper, to sell on the day.

This garden in Bonnie Doon, East London, will be open to viewing on 4 and 5 October during the Pam Golding Properties Gardens on Show initiative which helps raise funds for local charities.

“In the past, the PGP Gardens on Show event raised up to R107 000 for the local charities, and hopes are high that this year will see further strong support for this worthy event,” says Bassingthwaighte.

Besides the garden show, PGP also runs a township garden competition for vegetable gardens.  “This year has seen more entries from the many crèches in our townships which have flourishing food gardens. The one that stood out is the garden of Sabelo Veleko which is cultivated at the Amalinda Tips, where the Uthixo Unungile Ministry runs a crèche for children who grow up there, taught by Zoliwsa Nkata.”

Sabelo started the garden three years ago. He chopped branches from surrounding trees as well as bamboo from the river for poles, and has planted more than 400 seedlings in his garden. Up at first light every morning watering his garden, he grows spinach, carrots, beet root, onions, cabbage, pumpkin and mealies.

Bassingthwaighte says another outstanding garden is the school garden of the Nceduluntu Reeston Support group, where Zoliswa Schreiber is headmistress. This group is an independent community based non profit organisation which plays an essential role in the local community.

The area was an informal settlement congested with shacks with no infrastructure or schools, where people lived at risk from health hazards. With a high rate of employment and HIV/Aids infected people, there were no social services in place.

The support group began by organising a mobile clinic which visits the area occasionally, and now the group is involved in all facets of the community including community services, health, welfare, sport and recreation, service clubs, culture, children and youth, conservation and environment.

Education programmes help children on the streets to return to school, while community members are educated on food gardening in order to help themselves. To assist this group, contact Natalie Mortimer on 084 228 7707.

For more information, visit website.

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