Resident turns park into glorious garden

Kenneth Felix relaxing on his favourite bench.

Kenneth Felix, 67, better known as Kenny, transformed a defunct play park into a beautiful community garden which has crept into the hearts of many residents in Grassy Park and the surrounds.

So far lots of memorable moments had been captured in the garden such as reading sessions for children, New Year’s Eve celebrations, weddings and even marriage proposals.

Mr Felix, a salesman who retired seven years ago, said he started cleaning up the unused play park situated between South Close and North Close, about three years ago.

“I picked up empty beer bottles laying around left by alcohol abusers who were drinking during the night.”

Eventually he started cleaning up, planting flowers while using the water from his borehole and beautify the place with recycled goods.

Mr Felix said he approached Ward 66 councillor William Akim for help with gardening tools and more.

Mr Akim said: “Kenny Felix came to my office in Parkwood Estate and informed me that he wanted to start a community garden at South End Road and wanted assistance from the City of Cape Town’s department of parks and forest in providing garden tools, plants and trees provided from
my ward allocations. I arranged a site meeting with parks and forest and Mr Felix to assess the property as it was a public open space in a residential area and we had to consult the residents first. “The residents were in favour of the establishment. Every year in December Mr Felix arranges a family day, inviting residents, councillors, neighbours and friends to a braai and to celebrate their friendship which had been built over the years. In 2016 Mr Felix and I appeared on Expresso TV programme to showcase his beautiful community garden. Today children can play at the play park and seniors can sit, relax and view the beauty of nature.”

Mr Felix believes that being in nature is therapeutic. “I added plant boxes, bird baths, I put in park benches which I picked up on the side of a road, and I invited people for coffee while relaxing and enjoying the scenery.”

He said the garden attracted birds, bees and butterflies. “People can come and visit the garden for free.”

Mr Felix enjoys listening to people’s stories over a cuppa and he said he’s learnt so much from them. “Once I saw a man wandering in our road and I asked him how he was. The man opened up to me and I sat him down and made him feel special by serving him breakfast on a tray.”

Mr Felix became a good listener and with the support of his wife Heather and family, he was able to reach out to the needy while bringing the community closer.

“I invited friends and family over for the festive season for a bring-and-braai, we had entertainment but no alcohol was served.”

Two weddings and a marriage proposal took place at the garden. “Once a couple came to me because they saw the garden was the perfect setting for a reception. I also had another couple who couldn’t find a church and I opened my doors for them to get married. They walked down a red carpet into my house. Afterwards we had the reception in the garden.”

Another memorable moment close to Mr Felix’s heart was when his son Luke proposed to his girlfriend Anelle in December last year. “My son was nervous because he wanted to surprise his girlfriend. I said he shouldn’t worry and after going on his knee right in front of the garden, she said yes,” said Mr Felix teary-eyed.

To capture more memories, Mr Felix has to maintain the garden and he has appealed to the community for an industrial blower to clean up the leaves in the garden. Contact Mr Felix on 082 345 4279 if you can help.