Helen’s garden at the Owl House

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on a lady called Helen Martins. Those who read the story will remember that she was an interesting person who decorated her house with crushed glass in many different colours. It is very unusual: The Owl House.

I promised at the time, that I would post some photos of her startling and amazing garden.

Helen created concrete statues – hundreds of them and used them to decorate her garden. Whilst there were some dominant themes, there was also a seemingly random mix of unusual ideas in every section of the garden. Below is the most dominant theme – a religious one, where many people were paying homage in one direction (perhaps heavenwards?).

Lots and lots of statues. Many kneeling in adoration.

Lots and lots of statues. Many kneeling in adoration.

The only attempt at planting a few flowers was against this wall

The only attempt at planting a few flowers was against this wall

A lady with a bottle skirt. There were quite a few of these!

A lady with a bottle skirt. There were quite a few of these!

Camels, pyramids and mermaids were scattered between bottle skirted ladies and peacocks with large tails.

Not many of the statues were coloured, but those that were, had been decorated with pieces of glass.

The garden could best be described as ‘extremely busy’. It was difficult to get photos as the statues were close together and quite mixed up.

In the far background of the scene through the kitchen window (below) a large arch with an owl on the top, had been constructed as a welcoming entrance to the garden. But Helen had major issues with people, particularly as she got older, and a big fence across the arch kept visitors at bay.

View of the garden from the kitchen window of the house.

View of the garden from the kitchen window of the house.

'Twas her.... no, 'twas her! Mermaids blame each other.

‘Twas her…. no, ’twas her! Mermaids blame each other.

Eve is tempted with an apple.

Eve is tempted with an apple.

Helen must have been a very interesting person, although I do also think she was very eccentric or a little disturbed.

For those who know little about her, I refer you to one of many great websites which tells more about her life. She eventually, and sadly, took her own life, but not before she bequested her home and garden to the people of her village as a museum. The house is known as the Owl House, as she has many statues of owls, both inside and outside. I have some photos of the owls on my previous post on Helen.

She has a nativity scene in the garden too – but I have kept that for a Christmas post, so keep a lookout for those images around the end of the month!

Today, many thousands of people visit the Owl House, and if you are near Nieu-Bethesda (near Cradock, South Africa), I suggest you take the time to go and see what this remarkable lady has made for us to enjoy.

The artist herself. She had help to make many of the statues.

The artist herself. She had help to make many of the statues.

If you are interested in reading more about this intriguing house and garden and Helen’s story, (and this is highly recommended!) here is some more information.

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This entry was posted in Favourite things, Image Gallery, Travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Helen’s garden at the Owl House

  1. I remember your previous post about her. My she was as busy as a beaver. I wonder if she had enough sleep. I can’t believe her backyard. Wow.

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  2. pommepal says:

    I also remember your previous post. What a fascinating person, but, I think, quite disturbed, she certainly left a legacy of hard work put into all those statues.

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  3. restlessjo says:

    Quite strange, but I love the bottle skirts 🙂 Must go and read Owl House.

    Like

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