The azalea maze at Kuhestan Organic Farm is ablaze with magenta azaleas throughout the ten minute stroll. Shahrzad Hone in her beautiful garden.
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HAENERTSBURG – The Farm, on the “J” dirt road off the R71 coming up the Kloof from Tzaneen, is also about to open a small, weekends-only, coffee shop. Kuhestan has turned into one of the must see gardens in the Haenertsburg area. It all began when present owners Shahrzad and Brett Hone bought the four hectare property, that includes a portion of the Woodbush indigenous forest, 15 years ago. The Hones planted 250 magenta azaleas in 2010 and shaped the plants to form the maze four years later. There are also white and miniature pink azaleas as well as a striking double red. Two camellia trees front the maze. Shahrzad is originally from Iran (once Persia) and Kuhestan means “land of mountains” in Persian. The azalea maze in full bloom.
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Two hectares are devoted to gardens with flowers, vegetables, fruit trees, exotics and all joined by arches and pathways. Shahrzad calls it The Garden of Unity. There are signs dotted around with quotes from every religion. The Hones spent the first three years fencing the property and planted 740 Hass and Fuerte avocados. They bought 50 bare root raspberry canes from a Cape Town nursery. These have multiplied into tens of thousands of raspberries. Kuhestan Organic Farm is the only raspberry grower on the Mountain and holds a raspberry picking festival every February. The Kuhestan Gardens are open daily from 09:00 to 15:00. The Hones built three cottages consisting of five separate units. Two face the Woodbush forest and one faces the rolling gardens. One guest said it felt as though the forest had never been disturbed and he enjoyed the balance between civilization and forest. Kuhestan Organic Farm was the first in South Africa to make natural cordials eight years ago. The cordials, available in 12 flavours, are sold at Allesbeste and Wheelbarrow outside Tzaneen. Several speciality restaurants and delis as well as restaurant chains like Doppio Zero and Tasha’s sell the cordials as well as the five-star Indaba Hotel in Fourways. The cordials have no preservatives, no additives, no chemicals, the ingredients are grown organically as far as possible. Shahrzad, with her business-minded background, is a stickler for meeting government and international standards. She’s now applying for registration which will enable Kuhestan Organic Farm to export. Shahrzad has had enquiries from the UK, Germany and Las Vegas in Nevada, USA. Earlier this year the Department of Agriculture awarded her the Female Entrepreneur of the Year award. She also won an award as overall winner as Kuhestan Organic Farm complies with all government requirements. The farm has a rich history. It is registered with the land surveyor as a portion of farm Groblersrust, probably named after Elie Kapman Grobler who died in 1879. Her remains are buried under an old pine tree in the south eastern corner of the farm together with those of her child. It’s believed that they contracted malaria during a Lowveld trip. Among the previous owners was Dr Albert Oliver Dean Mogg, associated with the University of the Witwatersrand in the 1900’s. He and successive owners planted flowering trees and shrubs like camellias and magnolias and a variety of hydrangeas and azaleas. Numerous cuttings were taken from these plants and planted out into the present gardens. Today Kuhestan plants some 2,000 seedlings of bedding flowers per annum with Shahrzad’s latest pride and joy being peonies. firstname.lastname@example.org --- --- ...