“Roses do not bloom hurriedly; for beauty, like any masterpiece, takes time to blossom.” Matshona Dhliwayo
On the outskirts of Pretoria, to the north, there is a floral wonderland called Ludwig's Roses - a flourishing rose farm that boasts the largest selection of rose varieties in the country. The family-run business was established in 1971 by Ludwig Taschner, who left Germany and came to South Africa in 1962 with R2 in his pocket. He began working in local nurseries until he bought the farm in 1971. Since then, it has grown exponentially, now encompassing more than 1,000 rose varieties. There are several branches around the country, but the Pretoria North one is the flagship.
I’d been meaning to visit the farm for a while and when I saw that it was practically on our route, the day that we were returning to Johannesburg from Bela-Bela, I knew that it was the ideal opportunity to go there. Google Maps guided us efficiently and the farm was adequately sign-posted from the highway.
A wall at the entrance emblazoned with the words “Ludwig's Roses” and decorated with a gold rose sculpture made by Ludwig’s daughter, indicated that we had arrived. We drove in through the "Rose Mile," a beautiful rose and palm-tree lined driveway showcasing a wide array of blooms, parked our car and began to explore.
There were more roses than I had ever seen before, in a myriad of varieties and colours. They have hybrid tea roses, miniature roses, panarosa roses, colourscape roses and much more. We walked around a bit admiring the roses and their creative names, like Black Magic, Vuvuzela, and Butterfly Kisses. Many of the roses are named after celebrities like Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Queen Elizabeth and even Pretty Yende, which was introduced in 2021.
There’s a huge nursery, a restaurant called the “Rose Kitchen” and a shop selling a range of rose-infused treats, such as rose petal jam and rose-flavoured syrups, as well as rose-themed products and souvenirs like handbags and candles. If the kids get bored, there’s a garden playground for them too. Some rose-themed props are scattered around the property for those Instagram photos.
I asked about the tractor tour at the shop and the assistant told me to hop onto the tractor and the driver would come to take us around. We got on and a few minutes later, a driver came to take us on a leisurely ride through the farm. He didn’t talk much but as the tractor chugged along, he stopped periodically to handpick beautiful roses and present them to us as a keepsake. They looked and smelt incredible. It was such a delightful way to explore the farm.
Ludwig's Roses is open all year-round but the best time to visit is during summer when the roses are in full bloom. However, even during the off-season, the farm is a charming destination.
In October, the farm holds its annual Spring Rose Festival, a celebration of the season's new blooms, which makes a great family outing. Throughout the year, a variety of other events and workshops are held, such as rose pruning demonstrations, flower arranging classes, and guided tours.
Whether you're a dedicated rose enthusiast or just looking for a unique sensory experience (like me), Ludwig's Roses is a lovely place to visit.
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