Bonolo’s Beautiful Melville Garden

by | Apr 11, 2018 | Johannesburg, Melville and Surrounds | 6 comments

Almost two months ago, I took photos of a beautiful Melville garden. The garden is only about thee blocks from my house and in plain sight along the verge (that thin strip of green between the sidewalk and the street) on 3rd Avenue. I’d never noticed it before though. For some reason I rarely drive or walk down that particular street.

Marie-Lais wrote a great column about the garden in the Saturday Citizen. (Damn you, Citizen, for not publishing this column online. I’m forever frustrated that I can’t post it here.) I never got around to blogging about it myself.

But then yesterday I drove past the garden again and remembered how amazing it is.

Melville garden in 3rd avenueThe 3rd Avenue garden. 

The garden’s creator is Andrew Mashilwane, who happens to live on 3rd Avenue, and was looking for something to do so he decided to make a garden. I call the garden “Bonolo’s Garden”, because Andrew’s three-year-old granddaughter Bonolo was there on the day I went and she is so freaking adorable and the photoshoot wound up being more about Bonolo than the garden itself.

Bonolo in her Melville gardenBonolo and I developed a system during this photoshoot: I took a photo of her, I showed her the image on the back of my camera, she squealed with delight and tried to grab my camera, I politely rebuffed her, and then she ordered me to take another photo. Repeat.

Bonolo and Andrew in the gardenBonolo and Andrew.

Bonolo runningA streak of Bonolo.

The garden runs the length of the entire blog outside Melpark Primary School, between 3rd Street and 4th Streets. (The garden and the school are not affiliated.) Andrew continually adds to the garden using plants, decorations, and compost that people donate to him or he just finds lying around. The majority of the plants are indigenous although there’s quite a crazy mix.

Decorations in the 3rd Avenue gardenOld chairs appear as decorations throughout the garden.

Hanging plants in the 3rd Avenue gardenHanging plants.

Bonolo in the gardenBonolo with her favorite planter.

If you live in or around Melville, I recommend stopping past Bonolo’s garden before the Joburg winter sets in. Also, Andrew always welcomes donations to the garden so feel free to stop by with compost or plants.

Flower in gardenThe end.


  1. foxtrotindigo

    I always drive along this road and gaze at his gorgeous garden. So cool to know the background story and the talented guy responsible for bringing a smile to so many faces.

    • 2summers

      It’s such a nice Melville story 🙂

  2. autumnashbough

    Random find of beauty are marvelous. Especially little girls wearing pink.

    And no one complains about this guerrilla garden?

    • 2summers

      Oh my god, no. Everyone loves it! I guess since there’s a school next door (surrounded by a high wall) the garden isn’t really interfering with anyone else’s property/landscaping. It was strewn with trash before Andrew took over.

  3. Lani

    I love gardens, landscaping, nature walks. This one looks superb – and with cute kid! xo


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