by Allison Foat on behalf of the Garden Expo 2022
Swellendam Garden Expo 2022 in aid of local SPCA
From 4 to 6 November 2022, the historic farming town of Swellendam, widely regarded as the jewel of the Overberg, is holding an inauguralGarden Expo.Over two days, eighteen private homes in around the picturesque town will open their gardens to the public, plus there’ll be a garden-themed market, several interesting garden-related talks and demos, and loads of fun things to see and do. People can wander through the Unity Garden where volunteers grow nutritious, organic food crops in a communal areaand for the littlest visitors, the organisers have included a fun scarecrow competition for children from throughout the town. The Barrydale Rieldans Troupe will perform their high-powered traditional dance, a stunning display of nifty footwork and exceptional musicality.
Organised and run by the Swellendam Garden Club – a team fuelled by their passion for gardens and a love of their town- the Garden Expo weekend event kicks off on 4 November 2022 with a cocktail functionthat will be open to the public, sponsored by the local Olivedale Wines and a charity auction that will also raise funds for the Swellendam SPCA.
Situated at the foot of the Langeberg, and only 3 hours from Cape Town, Swellendam was established in 1743 by Dutch settlers. The town is easily accessible from the N2 and is the third oldest magisterial district in South Africa after Cape Town and Stellenbosch. Today the pretty town offers an eclectic slice of South African life, is home to many nationalities and well-known for the gorgeous outdoor life, the Double Century Cycle race (among others),and boasts many well-preserved heritage buildings. It has incredible bird life and flora.
The Swellendam region falls into the smallest Floral Kingdom in the world that has over 9000 recorded plant species, many of which are unique to the area. Indigenous varietals flourish here in a region fortunate to have an abundance of water. The gardens showcase the vibrant ecology of the Overberg which includes mountains, forests, fynbos, flowering shrubs and succulents. Also in the viewing mix this year will be the Mayville Rose Garden that was originally designed and planted by Gwen Fagan, the author of the book called Roses at the Cape of Good Hope.
Visitors of all ages will delight in the countrified experience and enjoy a taste of Overberg life and rejuvenating nature on the cusp of the Cape’s summer that will be fun for the entire family. The worthy recipient of funds raised, the small Swellendam SPCA consists of three dedicated staff who run the entire operation with the huge task of covering an area of approximately 44000sq km. Their extremely difficult job involves having to attend to cruelty complaints, in a number of surrounding towns as well.Between April 2021 and March 2022, they assisted, inspected and treated more than 31 000 animals in need.
Thanks to assistance from the National Lotteries Commission the Swellendam SPCA has been hard at work on a mass sterilisation and vaccination project for the animals in the Railton community in Swellendam where to date they have treated 705 animals. The biggest blow to the team this year however has been the cost of repairs to their two SPCA vehicles to the amount of R70 000. Once the vans have been repaired, they will begin to fundraise for additional vehicles and the Garden Expo in November will help to bring in critically needed funds for this invaluable organisation. Says Jeanette L’Estrange, Chair of Swellendam SPCA, “Animal cruelty must stop. No animal should suffer and we live for the day when there is no longer a need for SPCA’s to even exist. All animals should be treated humanely and their intrinsic value must be recognized and respected. In the meantime we will continue to battle abuse and neglect with unwavering commitment; determination and resolve, and we hope we can continue to count on the ongoing support of the public.“ Sadly, so many SPCA branches around the country have closed down due to lack of funding from the community and the Swellendam SPCA is fighting hard to keep their organisation going.
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