Sustainability is not a seasonal thing – living in a responsible and sustainable way should be part of everyday living. The importance of caring for our environment is however so much more evident this time of year when we are confronted with the beauty of spring in the Winelands.
Environmental management is a high priority at all our farms and it makes out part of our long-term strategy as well as daily running. In the Franschhoek Valley, this includes the protection of precious natural flora known as ‘fynbos’ on the farm as well as the adjoining Wemmershoek mountains.
As part of these biodiversity principles, the Franschhoek Pride or Blushing Bride has been reintroduced to the mountain on La Motte estate, Protea gardens have been established on the mountain slopes and a flower-growing operation, cultivating of a limited variety of relatively rare flower species has been introduced.
It is this beauty of the natural vegetation and fynbos that again caught my attention this past week.
Some of the best-known fynbos in the Franschhoek mountains, identified by dedicated conservationist and La Motte farm manager of 30 years, Pietie le Roux, are:
Kransaalwyn (Aloe mitriformis (A. perfoliata), Asphodelaceae): Mitre or Bishop’s Cap. Found only from Franschhoek in the south to Elandskloof in the north. One of only a few aloes found among fynbos.
Sybas (Maytenus acuminata, Celastraceae): One of the fynbos trees surviving in rocky places. If the young leaves are carefully torn the typical silky thread joining the two halves can be seen.
Kapokbos / Cape Snow Bush (Eriocephalus, Asteraceae): Strongly aromatic. Used medicinally for colic, diuretic and to promote sweating. Can be used as a culinary herb.
Kliphout (Heeria argentea, Anacardiaceae) One of the few fynbos trees that can survive fire.
Agtdaegeneesbos (Lobostemon glaucophyllus, Boraginaceae): Used as ointment for eczema, this plant was believed to heal all sorts of ailments within eight days.
Slangbos (Stoebe plumosa, Asteraceae): Traditionally harvested for bedding and used medicinally.
Blushing Bride (Serruria florida Proteaceae): High economical potential, is easily grown from seeds and superb as a garden plant.
Wilde Malva (Pelargonium cucullatum, Geraniaceae): The major parent of all the regal pelargonium hybrids.
Vlieëbos (Saltera sarcocolla, Penaeaceae): Belongs to one of the fynbos endemic families. This family grows nowhere else in the world.
Kaneeltjie (Pelargonium triste, Geraniaceae): Used medicinally for diarrhoea and dysentery.
Strooimeisie (Serruria rosea, Proteaceae): Little sister to the better known Blushing Bride. Makes a good cut flower and garden plant.
Brandblaar (Knowltonia vesicatoria/codata, Rananculaceae) Used medicinally for rheumatic pains.
Guests to La Motte can experience the floral beauty on a guided or self-guided hike.
From 24 October, as part of the Franschhoek Art in Clay festival, the estate will host an exhibition of pottery inspired by the flora of the Franschhoek valley.
Please have a look at the gallery of beautiful flora of the Franschhoek Valley.