Jackie Kalley was appointed Convenor of the Harcourts Open Midlands Gardens in 2015. She is passionate about gardens and the history of gardens. Jackie owns a small publishing company Otterley Press and publishes the annual Rose Calendar that has become a must-have by all rose lovers. She also, amongst others edited the World Federation of Rose Societies award-winning book Old Roses: Survival and Revival in South Africa. Jackie served as Vice President: Africa for the WFRS from 2012 – 2015
Andrew Line, business owner of Harcourts Hilton, is a keen gardener and amateur artist, he enjoys viewing and being inspired by other gardeners’ accomplishments. He has resided in Hilton for most of his life and is passionate about the KZN Midlands.
When the Open Midlands Gardens organisers were looking for sponsors, Andrew jumped at the opportunity, initially as a co-sponsor of the event and now as the sole sponsor.
Much of his inspiration has come from the Open Midlands Gardens and he comments that he is often adapting ideas into his own garden (he’s on his fifth project of this nature). By sponsoring the event he is hoping that these more than 30 gardens on display will also encourage others.
The community aspect of Open Midlands Gardens is also important to Andrew and the Harcourts team and the agency donates an incredibly substantial amount to the charities.
I am a bookkeeper with a passion, but limited talent, for gardening and belong to the Howick and Hilton garden clubs. Every year I looked forward to the “open gardens” sponsored by whichever generous sponsor would do so. The open gardens of 2013 came and went with so little fanfare that I erroneously assumed that the event had been cancelled that year. Admittedly, I did not do much research to validate this assumption and so missed out on a joyful experience. One of the ladies from the Hilton garden club approached me to join a group of enthusiastic, multi-talented folk with Andrew Line of Harcourts promising sponsorship as well as his input. The mission was to have a Harcourts’ Open Midlands Gardens that would “do it better”. And so the ship sailed in 2014 with myself handling the finances.
Having developed, maintained and managed gardens in Cape Town, the Eastern Cape, Free State and Lesotho, it was with great joy that we landed up in the Natal Midlands 6 years ago. Here is a gardening paradise that has produced many knowledgeable, talented and passionate gardeners, resulting in an abundance of truly beautiful gardens. It has been a wonderful privilege to be part of a great team, whose task it is to showcase a sample of these gardens and, at the same time, generating funds for local charities.
I am a passionate gardener and so have loved being involved in the OMG committee. I have three grown young men that have flown the coop and so my time has become my own as my nest has emptied. It has been fun to be part of a team that is energetic and has such a great vision. My garden, Tuleni, has been open a number of times through the years.