Exploring the Heritage Gardens of Upper Houghton

Over the first weekend of October, the Heritage Portal of Johannesburg along with participating residents of Upper Houghton organized an event to showcase 9 heritage gardens in both private homes as well as St John’s College and the King Edward VII School. With spring well underway, this was a great chance to see some amazing places normally inaccessible by the general public.

36 St Patrick RoadVilla at 36 St Patrick Road

The starting point of our walk was 36 St Patrick Road. This lovely villa (see above) was designed in 1912 by Saul Lewis Margo. Along with our entry fee of 50 ZAR each we received a colorful map to help guide us through the neighborhood. All of the gardens were in a relatively small area and easily explored on foot. This first home also offered lunch and/or beverages in the garden area for those visiters needing a bit of a pick-me-up.

Arum LilyArum Lily

Inca LilyInca Lily

Next up was Koekfontein at 43 St David’s Rd. This home was built in 1908 during the time of the Gold Rush for Edwin Hawkes and was originally named the Deanery. Many families have lived here over the years as this home was bought and sold many times over.



While in most cases only the gardens and the exteriors of the homes were on show, the lovely owner of the Bear Lodge chose to open the interior of her home as well (see below). The Bear Lodge is so elegantly decorated and we really enjoyed our chat with the homeowner.

Bear LodgeBear Lodge. Unfortunately I didn’t get a nice photo of the exterior.

Our walk continued with a visit to St John’s College, the dominating landmark of Upper Houghton. St John’s is a private Anglican school for boys designed in 1898 by Herbert Baker who was also the architect of the Union Buildings in Pretoria and the Villa Arcadia, both of which I have written about previously.

St John's CollegeSt John’s College

St John's CollegeSt John’s College

St John's CollegeSt John’s College

We had gotten a bit of a late start and with only a couple hours total to tour all of the gardens, I had to literally drag the Frenchie away from the magnificient St John’s to continue on to the Cullinan House. This house was originally built for the Sir Thomas Cullinan who was a South African diamond magnate. You can read a comprehensive history of the home here. The Cullinan House is also for sale (or at least it was in the beginning of Oct) for the asking price of a cool 11.5 million ZAR, or just under 1.5 million USD.

Cullinan HouseCullinan House

Cullinan HouseCullinan House (Art Deco style)

Pincushion ProteaPincushion Protea

The last part of our walk is the part that I enjoyed the most. This was due to the fact that these houses were built on top of the Houghton Ridge and afforded amazing panoramic views over Johannesburg.

Home on the RidgeHome on the Ridge

These next lovely flowers I have unfortunately been unable to identify despite scrolling through pages and pages of flower photos. If anyone can help me out here it would be greatly appreciated.

Unidentified Flower 1Unidentified Flower #1

Unidentified Flower 1Unidentified Flower #1, same as above but a slightly different view

ColumbineUnidentified Flower #2 Update: Columbine (thanks Melinda!)

Ridge View HomeRidge view home, my favorite

ViewView from the patio

Ridge ViewGreat terrace for entertaining no doubt

Unidentified flower 3Unidentified flower 3

PupSo sad, no one wants to play with me today

Pool View Ridge HomeThis home had the best pool view

Nice Pool ViewSure, I could spend some time here

NeighborsThis wasn’t on the tour but I loved the design of this one too.

King Edward VII School King Edward VII School

We finished our tour off with cake and coffee at the tea garden while enjoying a nice chat with another one of the homeowners. We were told that the last time the Heritage Gardens were open to the public was 2 years ago as there is a lot of work in organizing the event. We really enjoyed our walk and if you ever get the chance to do this I can highly recommend it. The Heritage Portal offers many other events throughout the year so be sure to check out their calendar for more information.

4 thoughts on “Exploring the Heritage Gardens of Upper Houghton

    • Hi Heather,

      Last night I was doing a google search on South African flowers to try and identify one of my mystery photos and when I clicked on a similiar one your post from there came up. Looks like the purple and white flower had you baffled as well. My cousin emailed me to tell me it is a Columbine, which I see someone said in your comments too. So I am going with that 🙂


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