The gardens fell into a state of neglect in the early 2000′s and in 2004, the Friends of the Arderne Gardens (FOTAG) was established as a non-profit organization with the objective of working with the City of Cape Town to protect, preserve and promote the garden.
FOTAG directly employs a landscape horticulturist on a part-time basis and a gardener on a full time basis. We have also revamped the nursery on the property for propagation and holding of plants donated by members. The Council's Newlands nursery also provides facilities for the propagation of seedlings, cuttings, etc.
Throughout the years, the Friends have been extremely fortunate in receiving the free services of one of Cape Town's leading arborists and tree surgeons to care for the precious trees and who is also Chairman of the Friends, Mr. Francois Krige of Krige Tree Services. Advice, guidance and help is provided freely by prominent Cape Town botanists such as Dr. John Rourke, Adam Harrower (who is busy identifying and labeling the trees), and the Cape Horticultural Society. FOTAG has an ongoing project of labeling the trees, identifying the many rarities, as well as, planting and propagating for the future.
During 2014, FOTAG launched Phase 1 of the Renaissance of the Arderne Gardens and raised the substantial sum of R268 000 from three different trusts. The Roland and Letta Hill Trust donated R93 000 for the front section of the garden, while the main body of the garden was redeveloped with the R150 000 from the Frank Robb Charitable Trust. The final phase of clearing and replanting the beds near the Herschel School was funded by the Cape 300 Trust who donated R25 000. Further funds of R100 000 were raised from Friends and from interested members of the public to complete the work.
In 2014 Andrew Ovenstone, owner of Stellenberg Estate, became our Honorary Patron. He and his wife have been very supportive of The Friends of Arderne Gardens, especially since our Renaissance project began in 2014 and Arderne Gardens is now twinned with Stellenberg Estate, further endorsing the close relationship between the two gardens.
The City Council has tried valiantly to maintain the Gardens since 1928, but increasingly is short of funds. The preservation of this treasured place is now truly in the hands of the citizens of Cape Town. Future development of the gardens depends on the donations from community members like yourself, as well as the time and energy of FOTAG volunteers. Many of the trees are now old and require specialist care. We want to keep this garden clean, safe, and beautiful so future generations are able to enjoy this special place in the heart of Claremont.
The Friends of the Arderne Gardens hold an annual general meeting every year in February. We welcome new members. Please download a membership form (pdf) and email it back to us at secretary (at) ardernegardens.org.za. Our bank details are available on our membership form in order to submit your R100 membership dues. Or, you can donate online through FOTAG's GivenGain website.
With any questions, the commitee of the Friends of the Arderne Gardens can be reached at: info (at) ardernegardens.org.za or on our Contact page.
Samples of press FOTAG has received from 2012 to present.