About us

Unique is our middle name – a snapshot in prose

The Greenhouse at Montebello is anything but your average commercial nursery. Hidden away in the picturesque Southern suburbs of Cape Town, the Greenhouse is a boutique nursery offering a spectacular array of flowering plants, shade plants and traditional garden plants, arranged in a unique and distinctive style which is at once inspiring and comforting – like taking a walk through an exquisite private garden.

Visitors come here not only to shop and admire the beauty of the setting, but to drink in the wonder of a thriving, living ecosystem. The Greenhouse is grown and managed as a completely organic nursery. This means that the ecosystem is in perfect equilibrium encouraging squirrels, frogs and other small creatures to take up residence here. Among the unique plants we stock are tropical Rhododendrons, Gunneras, a wide range of fuschias, herbs and edible plants (including grenadilla and rhubarb). We also have a large range of organic fertilizers and pesticides available to the public and actively promote organic gardening.

We support local craft and metalwork which you will find in amongst the flora and source unique decorative  and sculptural pieces sometimes from the most unlikely places! We adapt with the seasons and so The Greenhouse is an ever-changing, luscious paradise. The atmosphere is always the same though – a sense of peace and bountiful life.

The Greenhouse – past and present

The Greenhouse is one of the oldest structures of its kind in South Africa. It forms part of the historic Montebello estate in Newlands, Cape Town, which started out as one of the first farms given to Dutch settlers and subsequently was home to the renowned Ohlssens Brewery at the turn of the 20th century and was the birthplace of the ceramics industry in South Africa at the hands of Cecil Michaelis and his Continental China company.

Today the Montebello estate houses the Montebello Design Centre – a non-profit organization promoting local crafts and design. It offers educational programmes for the public, craft and design studios, shops and restaurants as well as a job creation outreach programme, and, of course, The Greenhouse at Montebello.

Run by mom and daughter team, Shirley and Kate Mason, the Greenhouse at Montebello Nursery and Landscaping has always been a family business. Shirley inherited green fingers from her own mother and growing up on a farm, with a natural affinity for growing and nurturing her natural surroundings, she passed her passion on to daughter, Kate. Growing up with generations of amazing gardeners as an ever-present inspiration, Kate went on to study horticulture in Durban. After some years in private landscaping in Natal and working in commercial nurseries, in 2004 Kate and Shirley took on the barren plot surrounding the historic Greenhouse and began to build it up to what it is today. Kate is still commissioned to do landscaping of private gardens and restaurants and takes part in garden shows regularly, while Shirley actively manages the day-to-day running of the  nursery – a place at once grand and humble, quaint and majestic… tranquil, yet bristling with life under the surface!