If we’re honest, a few of us get as much sunlight and breathe in as much fresh air as we would like to. Due to industrialisation and modernisation, many of us live in cities with a backyard that’s often not as lush and green as we’d like. Most of us love nature but few places offer us the serenity and freshness as well as the trendiness and convenience of modernisation. We often have to choose between the two when going out with family and friends, however, at Pretty Gardens this is not the case.
Pretty Gardens is a safe haven for the people of Bloemfontein. For many it is also one of Bloemfontein’s best kept secrets. It has two sides, the first being the nursery where the friendly staff members will help you with finding everything you need – from greens to fertiliser to tools to even water features – to make your garden YOUR kind of pretty. According to Lucindi van der Merwe, manager of the nursery at Pretty Gardens, their committed staff members make experience at the nursery so magical. She explains that many of the staff members have worked at the nursery since it was still but a small bud. They have a real passion for working not only with plants, but also with people. She says the store would not be as successful as it is today if it were not for the dedicated staff members who all treat each other as members of a close-knit family. There’s even a waiting bench for boyfriends and husbands to sit down while accompanying their possibly indecisive partners, because we all know most women have a slight obsession with plants and florals. They love flowers on their desks, on their dresses and in their gardens – this is simply something that all men know and accept.
And well, if flowers and plants aren’t really your kind of fun but you still want to relax, you can go on to the other side of Pretty Gardens, which is known as the Lifestyle Centre. There are a few shops at the centre where one can go for eats or drinks, either at Wimpy or the newly upgraded Caramello’s or Träumerei shops. There are also a few stores to pop in at if you want to satisfy the shopaholic within, offering everything from bags, caps, trendy Tees and lots more. And over weekends there’s even live entertainment! What more can you ask for?!
The best thing about that side is that it doesn’t feel like you’re still in Bloem. There is a tourist element of strolling around casually looking at all the awesome and relic souvenirs on display. There’s a soothing water feature with majestic fish the size of a small child. Not too far away is a jungle gym for the little ones to play on. There’s also a grand mosaic wall – famous for group selfies – and a popular spot for strolling lovers to sit and enjoy an ice cream before they take off and stroll around the centre. Nadine Styger, manager of the Lifestyle Centre, says one of the reasons why the lifestyle centre is such a hit with locals, is the quick response to complaints and their ongoing commitment to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Customers always have a new experience to look forward to. Styger adds that there’ll be new developments pretty soon, including a facelift at the centre’s gym. She also urges loyal fans to keep an eye on the Pretty Gardens Lifestyle Centre’s Facebook page for news about these developments and anything else pertaining to the lifestyle centre.
Having won the Best of Bloemfontein Award for the Best Garden Centre, Pretty Gardens is more than a garden centre. More and more, with each passing year, it’s become synonymous with providing an escape for Bloemfontein residents. It’s a safe haven where visitors can enjoy the very best that nature has to offer with all the benefits of a modernisation. Get to Pretty Gardens with family and friends for an out-of-town experience, without having to leave town.
Compiled by Pulane Choane & Moeketsi Mogotsi
The Best of Bloemfontein Readers’ Choice Awards celebrates all this and more but, it also gives you the chance to tell us what and who’s the best of the best.