JFF Rooftop Farm

This is not your typical plant nursery. The JFF Rooftop Farm is situated atop an arts precinct in trendy Braamfontein. They offer an array of indigenous plants, succulents, herbs and indoor plants here, as well as a quaint coffee shop and tea garden for you to enjoy. Plus the view from their terrace is simply magnificent. But be warned, there is a winding ladder you have to climb to reach the rooftop. Don't say we didn't warn you! Visit JFF Rooftop Farm for first hand gardening advice, budget prices and a one-of-a-kind plant shopping experience.

Details: (Tel) 081 768 4827 | [email protected] | 70 Juta Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

Schäfflers Nursery 

Anthony and Christine Schäffler have been at the helm of Schäfflers Nursery for 20 years. This family-run garden centre is one of our top spots to pick up herb and veggie planter trays. The staff at Schäfflers are always willing to offer their advice. If you are new to gardening, stop by here for expert tips and tricks on everything from growing your own veggie patch to complex landscaping. Oh, and don't forget to pop into their on-site garden cafe, Under The Trees. Here you will find wood-fired pizza, scrumptious cheesecake and beer on tap. What more could you ask for?

Details: (Tel) 011 786 0323 | [email protected] | 28 Johannesburg Rd, Kew, Johannesburg.

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Simply Majestic Garden Centre

Moms and dads, are you in desperate need of some downtime from homeschooling and keeping the kids entertained at home? Bring them along to Simply Majestic Garden Centre in Lambton. While you browse around the nursery the little ones can play on fun rides or climb up the magical tree at the garden's edge. There is also a fantastic tea garden and restaurant here. Order a plate of their homemade scones with strawberry jam and fresh tea. You'll thank us later.

Details: (Tel) 011 827 7202 | [email protected]90 Webber Road, Lambton, Germiston.

The Herb Farm

We all need a break from the city every now and then. If you're after an escape from the hustle and bustle, take a 40-minute drive out to the Herb Farm Gardens in Midrand. While the nursery here is relatively small, their lush gardens will have you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated in no time. Take a slow stroll through the lavender and rose gardens or meander through one of the intricate mazes to find all assortments of herbs you have never even heard of before. The Herb Farm Bistro serves up an excellent family-style Sunday lunch, so be sure to plan your trip over a weekend. It's the perfect mini-getaway.

Details: (Tel) 010 447 3517 | [email protected] | 264 Summit Rd, Blue Hills, Midrand, Gauteng.

The Herb Farm.

Random Harvest Indigenous Plant Nursery 

Our final inclusion on this list of Joburg's most fabulous garden centres is undoubtedly one of the very best. Random Harvest Indigenous Plant Nursery is situated out in Muldersdrift, offering its visitors a tranquil countryside experience. This garden centre is all about inspiring avid gardeners to plant more indigenous flora in their flower beds. From water-saving succulents, to rocky aloes and lush grasses, Random Harvest has all you need to transform your garden. Once you've done your shopping, visit the tea garden for al fresco dining and delicious eats. Random Harvest Nursery is a definite must-visit for all gardening enthusiasts, so make your way out there as soon as you can.

Details: (Tel) 082 553 0598 | [email protected]Plot 57, Kontiki road., Muldersdrift, Gauteng.

Do you know of any other garden centres in Johannesburg? Let us know about them! 

You don't have to be a green fingered garden enthusiast to enjoy a plant nursery. I often visit my local nursery simply to take in a breath of fresh air and enjoy nature. However after months of being cooped at home, I've felt the call to go out and explore a little further. Of course, we are still unable to leave the province, so a road trip is off the cards. So where could I go for a day out in the sunshine without leaving Gauteng? There are tons of places to explore in the city, but I was eager to venture out a tad bit further.

My dear mother who is an avid gardener suggested we pay a visit to her favourite garden centre out in Muldersdrift - Random Harvest Indigenous Plant Nursery. I'd been here once before, but couldn't entirely remember what it was like. So I put on my face mask, packed up my hand sanitiser and set out on a mission to explore all that this indigenous plant centre has to offer. Here's what I found.

Random Harvest

Photo sourced from Random Harvest Indigenous Plant Nursery on Facebook.

Plant Life Galore

There is something truly magical about indigenous South African flora. While we may not have the pretty primroses of Northern rural England, our homegrown plants are magnificent in their own right. Stepping into Random Harvest Nursery I was immediately reminded of this.

Their retail nursery features a number of indigenous plant gardens and displays, showcasing just what our natural landscape has to offer. This garden-like setting aims to inspire gardeners to embrace indigenous plant-life by demonstrating its beauty. And it certainly works. Mom and I left with not one but a few new succulents to add to our rockery. Random Harvest's retail nursery also boasts a number of environmentally sustainable display gardens. Eco-conscious gardeners, make sure to stop by these gardens for awesome tips and tricks.

Quaint cottages

Random Harvest Nursery is full of wonderful surprises. During our visit we discovered that it is also a B&B! You can book an overnight stay at one of their 4-star cottages. Or spend a weekend away from the inner city hustle and bustle, enjoying the peace and tranquility of the gardens. Random Harvest's B&B is known for its hospitality and homely welcoming. Keep an eye on the nursery's Facebook page for updates on when they will be reopening under advanced level 3 lockdown.

Al fresco dining 

There's nothing that I love more than a tea garden. Dining on tea and scones under the shade of a leafy tree is my idea of heaven. So you can imagine my joy at discovering Random Harvest's onsite tea garden! Sadly due to lockdown regulations, we weren't able to join them for a seated meal. But they are serving up tasty takeaways and ready-made meals, so do pop by if you can. Grab a cup of takeaway coffee and a few homemade biscuits to enjoy on your stroll around the gardens. There are benches located around the nursery for you to perch on as well. We'll definitely be back for a seated meal in the near future.

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For More Information

Visit www.randomharvest.co.za for more information.

Details: Plot 57, Kontiki road., Muldersdrift, Gauteng | (Tel) 082 553 0598 | [email protected]

Have you been to Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery before? Let us know about your experience in the comments below! 

The Wilds is a 16 hectare nature reserve nestled on the border between Killarney and Upper Houghton. Opened to the public in the 1930s, this serene landscape of koppies, foot trails and natural waterfalls is a wonder to behold. However its reputation came under fire in the early 2000s as the park became heavily overgrown. Many runners, hikers and tourists kept a firm distance from the park, frightened by rumours of rampant crime. The fate of The Wilds seemed equal to many other inner city parks until one man stepped up to make a change. Artist James Delaney set out to clear out The Wilds, determined to bring this lush area back to life and to restore its reputation to its former glory.

Photo sourced from Friends of The Wilds on Facebook.

The Wilds revitalised 

Between 2013 to 2018, Delaney and a group of volunteers tirelessly worked to clean up the park. They removed tons of overgrown plant life in this time, opening up the foot trails and hiking paths to eager explorers. Delaney and his team have maintained the indigenous flora here too, celebrating its history and meaning as one of the city's best preserved nature parks. An array of indigenous plants and flowers bloom here year round, including the glorious red aloes that peak their heads over the koppies come wintertime.

When Johannesburg Consolodated Investment Company developed the suburb of Houghton in the 1920s, they left the area now known as The Wilds untouched. Then in 1936 the Empire Exhibition came to town in celebration of Johannesburg's jubilee. After the exhibition thousands of indigenous plants were donated to develop The Wilds as a park. Delaney believes that this spirit of public intervention is vital to keeping The Wilds thriving. He hosts monthly clean ups with community volunteers to keep the park in top condition. So far they've managed to clean up most of the overgrown western section of The Wilds. With their sights set on the eastern section next, Delaney and his volunteers show no signs of slowing down.

It is this spirit of community that led to the Delaney's Mandela Day Project at The Wilds. In July 2017, Delaney undertook a massive art project to bring back visitors to The Wilds. He had noticed that despite his years of dedication to cleaning up the park, people were still nervous to visit it. In response, he created 67 owl sculptures to be displayed around The Wilds. These owls were hung high in the forests of the reserve, acting as a draw card for tourists and local nature enthusiasts. But Delaney didn't stop there. He has continued the project, crafting an array of critters to decorate the park. On your next visit to the park see how many sculpted owls, bush babies, monkeys and buck you can spot on your walkabouts.

The Wilds

James Delaney and his dog Pablo pose with one of his sculptures at The Wilds. Photo sourced from Friends of The Wilds on Facebook.

Other attractions at The Wilds:

Level 3 lockdown restrictions

Under level 3 lockdown restrictions, The Wilds remains closed to the public. Follow Friends of The Wilds on Facebook to keep up to date with opening dates and Delaney's community clean up initiatives at the park.

For More Information

Visit www.jhbcityparks.com to find out more about The Wilds and Joburg's many other city parks.

The main entrance to the reserve is located on Houghton Drive.

Have you visited The Wilds? Let us know about your experience in the comments below! 

Living in the inner city certainly has its perks - the bright city lights, lofty apartments and the best secret party venues. However, there is rarely ever the space to grow your own garden in these cramped quarters. That's why in recent years we've been hearing a lot more about urban gardening. Not only does this decrease CO2 levels in the city air, but urban gardens provide the tranquility that other inner city spaces lack. And where better to grow yourself an entire sustainable plant nursery than atop the roof of a popular art precinct in Braamfontein?

Braam's Best Hidden Hideout 

The JJF Rooftop Farm is exactly this - an urban gardening centre and tea garden situated on the first floor rooftop of the Kalashnikovv Gallery. To access the garden you must first climb a small ladder, so don't go in heels ladies! Once you're there, take in a deep breath and admire the wondrous surrounds. A lush expanse of plant life awaits, as well as a few benches to perch yourself down on. The plants here grow in abundance, making their homes in crate planters and along hanging garden walls. Just a hop and a skip away from the bustling restaurants and clubs below, this truly is one of the best hidden hideaways in Braamfontein.

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JFF In Level 3 Lockdown

Since the introduction of level 4 lockdown, the JFF Rooftop Farm has been hard at work. You can now visit them between Tuesday and Saturday from 10:00 - 14:00 to browse around the garden or find that dream plant for your own rooftop jungle. After months in lockdown, we are sure you could use a bit of fresh air and greenery. And if, like us, you've gotten stuck deep into your garden during this time, this is the ideal place to visit for indigenous plants to add to your garden.

In level 3 lockdown, JJF Rooftop Farm is operating under stringent health and safety precautions. You must wear a face mask at all times and regularly sanitise your hands. A limited number of customers will be allowed into the garden at a time to facilitate social distancing measures. As new advanced level 3 lockdown regulations come into effect, we'll have to wait and see if the tea garden reopens, but for the time being it is closed to sit-down customers.

Local Delivery 

To help you stay home and stay safe, JFF Rooftop Farm now offers local delivery services within 5km on a variety of their most popular plants. If you aren't quite ready to venture out, contact them to order direct from their shop. Their email address is [email protected]

If you decide to visit the farm in person, co-founders Ashleigh Machete and Negin Monkoe should be around to help you pick out the best new additions for your garden beds. They've got everything from miniature succulents to potted herbs, salad greens and great leafy indoor plants. Be kinder to the earth and your garden and invest in these wonderful homegrown plant species. Most are low on water consumption and require little maintenance so you can go about your busy life without worrying about your plants too much.

Click here to see their range of plants and succulents.

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For More Information

Visit the JFF Rooftop Farm website for more information, or follow their social media pages:

Facebook

Instagram

Details: (Tel) 081 768 4827 | 70 Juta Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.