Kurland Estate is beautiful in all seasons, but especially so in spring and summertime when the rose gardens are in full bloom. The Estate’s love affair with roses first started over 40 years ago, and those traditions have flourished ever since.

A family tree with rosarian roots

At its heart, Kurland is, and always will be, synonymous with roses. And the story of the roses is beautifully intertwined with the story of the family members that have made Kurland what it is today.

Peter and Di Behr currently live at the Estate’s Villa. Peter is the grandson of the first owner of Kurland (who originally came to South Africa from Russia), and the very first section of roses on the Estate was planted by Peter’s mother over four decades ago.

Peter’s wife, Di, has three sisters – Nicky, Alex and Glenda. Di and Alex both live at Kurland, while Nicky and her sister Glenda (the owner of the popular Glenda’s Restaurant in Hyde Park) live in Joburg and visit Kurland at every opportunity they get, both for business and pleasure.

“My sisters and I all love roses,” she explains with a smile. “It started in Johannesburg with our mother, Annie. Growing up, I remember that she copied the shape of our swimming pool and filled the entire bed with crisp, white Icebergs. She also planted a beautiful mixed garden of roses in another section of our garden.”

Annie’s legacy lives on at Kurland. When she passed away, her daughters had a rose named after her (“My Annie”). There are numerous My Annies planted in and around Kurland, including an arch full of the pretty urn-shaped buds at the end of the garden in Kurland where Di’s parents lived in their later years.

Forever blooming

Following in her mother-in-law’s footsteps when she first moved to Kurland 25 years ago, Di worked hard to duplicate the original rose garden and cultivate a thriving new section that now sits picturesquely in front of the Homestead’s four Rose Garden rooms.

She also planted a David Austin rose garden at the back of the estate, with the idea of having a regular supply of roses to pick for everyday use and special occasions. These hardy English roses boast big flowers with a wonderful fragrance. They flower profusely in spring and continue to flower to a lesser extent during the summer and autumn months.

In the days when Kurland was a luxury hotel, guests would be greeted with freshly picked roses in their rooms and huge arrangements in big copper pots would colour all of the communal areas. The more fresh roses long-standing staff member Wopsie would pick, the faster the new blooms would blossom.

Today, Kurland’s rose gardens are tended to by full-time staff members and boast a rainbow variety of spectacular Hybrid Teas, including Just Joeys, Garden Queens, Harry Oppenheimers, Oklahomas and Black Madonnas. These roses not only put on a beautiful show and spectacularly perfume the fresh country air, but they can be used for cut flowers, to make pot pourri, and to flavour the rose jams and liqueurs that are so sought-after at Glenda’s Restaurant.

Book your stay

After what has been an incredibly long and challenging year for so many of us, there’s something to be said for looking at the world through rose-coloured glasses for a long weekend or two.

You have between now and April to get lost in Kurland’s lush rose gardens and indulge in a luxury country escape like no other. Email us at reservations@kurland.co.za