Location: Blue Kerry Retirement Village, Harare

General Information

Quarter degree square: 1731C3

Country: Zimbabwe

Habitat: Gardens with cultivated native and non-native plants.

Altitude range: 1530 m

Annual rainfall:

Location (short): Corner of Steppes Road and Sunridge Road, Harare.

Location (detailed):

Description

Many thanks to Mrs Dawn Siemers who kindly supplied the following information about the history of Blue Kerry and the Flower Foundation.

The beautiful house and grounds which comprise Blue Kerry were the property of Mr Ged Bernard. On the brass plaque at the entrance to the Main House, it states:- THIS PROPERTY “BLUE KERRY” WAS BEQUEATHED BY THE LATE MR “GED” (J.G.M.) BERNARD – TO BE DEVELOPED WITH THE APPROVAL OF HIS TRUSTEES OF THE MAYNARD TRUST – AS A PLACE WHERE ELDERLY PEOPLE MIGHT LIVE INDEPENDENTLY IN A COMMUNITY.

Before moving to Rhodesia, Ged Bernard and his wife, Hilda, lived in Wynberg on the southern slopes of Table Mountain. Ged’s mother was from the wealthy Maynard family. Ged and Hilda acquired substantial land ownership in Borrowdale and built the attractive double-storey house, Blue Kerry, using African builders and carpenters but with Ged doing most of the woodwork himself. The beautiful stairway and doors bear testimony to his talents. The origin of the name Blue Kerry is uncertain but it has been said that it refers to the Kerry Blue breed of dog. The old iron gates depicted such a dog.

Frank and Viola Dudgeon were close friends of the Bernards and lived nearby. Mrs Dudgeon, a woman of great beauty, was a Miss Viola Thwaites (aunt of V Thwaites who was head of Oriel Girls’ School for many years) and, although her family and the Bernards lived next door to each other in Wynberg, she and Ged never met. By the late thirties, both couples were living at Blue Kerry. Ged and Viola became very fond of each other and, after her husband’s death in 1961, they lived together. At this stage, Hilda moved to their only son, Paul’s farm. After his death, she moved back to Blue Kerry where she lived in an apartment.

The Bernards were good friends of the Holderness family and Richard Holderness remembers visiting the house and sitting on the verandah (the present sun porch) overlooking the beautiful gardens. Ged and Viola discussed plans to leave Blue Kerry to the aged of reasonable means, with the Holderness family and, in particular, with Hardwicke. Ged died in 1965 and Hardwicke, with the encouragement of many, including Bill Green and Bill Owen, (Rotarians, but acting in their personal capacity) arranged the legal transfer of the property to the Flower Foundation.

The Flower Foundation was started in Sweden in 1923 to receive donations in lieu of flowers at funerals, for assisting the aged and was strong in South Africa. With Mrs Cary’s enthusiasm and the assistance of Dr Alves (chairman), Mr Caley and Miss Thompson (now Mrs Sawyer) and others, the Foundation was founded in Salisbury in August 1968. Mrs Viola Dudgeon was still living at Blue Kerry on a usufructuary basis and, with her encouragement, it was agreed that cottages for the elderly should be built in the grounds. Unfortunately, Viola died in 1971 before realising her dream.

Useful links

View a list of records for Blue Kerry Retirement Village, Harare

View a list of unique taxa (excluding cultivated plants) for Blue Kerry Retirement Village, Harare

View a list of unique taxa (all taxa whether cultivated or not) for Blue Kerry Retirement Village, Harare

View map showing records

View a list of recorders who have visited this location


Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-24

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2024). Flora of Zimbabwe: Location details: Blue Kerry Retirement Village, Harare.
https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/location-display.php?location_id=234, retrieved 28 May 2024

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