Beechwood Gardens: the jewel in Hyde Park’s crown

Private Property South Africa
Jackie Gray-Parker

Jeweller Christopher Greig’s Hyde Park property contains a magnificent 3.5 acre classic garden that is open to the public.

Hyde Park is one of Johannesburg’s oldest and most established, upmarket suburbs. It plays host to numerous notable properties including ‘Beechwood Gardens’, home of jeweller and artist Christopher Greig and his wife Susan.

Beechwood Gardens is a glorious property. At its centre is a magnificent old-world house which wouldn’t look out of place on a hillside in Europe. The house, which lies at the end of a sweeping driveway, is surrounded by a grand, 3.5 acre, picture perfect garden.

According to reports, the house “was designed by Steffen Ahrends for the late Rudy Frankel of Tiger Oats in a romantic Flemish country style with a cedar single roof.” The garden was first laid out by “legendary” landscape architect Joane Pym in 1945 and has since been re-designed by the current owners.

Today the garden features a rare Copper Beech, a “colossal” Water Oak which is believed to be one of the largest trees in Johannesburg as well as a ‘rainforest’, a water garden comprising five distinct ponds stocked with water loving plants, a bog, a gorgeous, rose-covered colonnade and formal rose garden, a lotus garden and a thriving vegetable garden.

The garden has been named a Heritage Garden and has been opened to the public on several occasions. It was open once again from the 15th to the 18th of October in partnership with ‘Gardens of the Golden City’ which regularly showcases various beautiful gardens around Johannesburg in a bid to raise funds for various charities.

Evidently word of Beechwood Garden’s beauty has spread in recent years. The gardens were packed with visitors of all ages and various items and nibbles could be bought around the property.

Specifically, crafts, drinks, boerewors rolls, a delectable selection of cakes and various garden orientated items were on sale along the driveway. A food and garden market was established at the tennis court and bubbly could be purchased at a Moet and Chandon bar for those who felt so inclined.

Additionally, a variety of plants could be bought at the ‘Orchid Pavilion’ and a magnificent array of life-like bronze sculptures were on sale in and around the house. Those who were lucky enough to book in time enjoyed a buffet lunch or specially prepared luncheon set up under magnolias and jacarandas on Beechwood’s emerald green lawns.

Plans are reportedly afoot to open a cookery school at Beechwood’s outlying buildings, some of which presumably once served as stables. There’s also been talk of creating an outdoor restaurant which would overlook the established vegetable garden.

It’s encouraging to see such properties being preserved and put to good use. What’s more is that a visit to Beechwood Gardens makes for a great outing. Hopefully the garden will continue to be opened to the public in the future as Johannesburg needs such venues.

Interestingly, Beechwood seems to be one of the few Hyde Park properties which is retaining its old world character. Many of the surrounding properties are being sub-divided to make room for smaller residential developments and many more seem to have been modernised.

Overall Hyde Park is a lovely suburb. It offers all manner of amenities and lies within close reach of most major hubs. Of course property in the area comes at a price. Prices currently range from approximately R1, 6m to R26m. In other words, if Hyde Park appeals to you, start saving.

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