DOWN ON THE FARM

Few people will disagree that Babylonstoren has set the benchmark when it comes to farm hotels.

A day spent in the gardens of Babylonstoren, whether it’s wandering among the citrus trees or stepping barefoot onto the scented chamomile lawn, is organic proof that nature melts away daily stress. The beauty of this luxurious farm is that it’s always changing — every inspiration comes from what’s ripe and ready in the gardens. From the restaurant to the spa, the hotel to the conservatory, the world is in awe. Now the farm is even giving lessons for those of us who dream about creating a little bit of Babylonstoren ourselves.

Botanists and horticulturalists Ernst van Jaarsveld and Talitha Cherry offer day-long botanical workshops. First they’ll walk you through the gardens and share their knowledge on propagation, in particular regarding herbaceous perennials, succulents, and aquatics. An afternoon session is more practical — you propagate your own plants to take home. While you’re there, treat yourself to the brand-new tea ritual where leaves are sourced from the healing garden. Each plant is intended to heal, soothe, and balance the body through the time-honoured pleasure of tea. It’s the perfect antidote to city blues. babylonstoren.co.za

Image: Supplied

THE FLORAL DESIGNER

Floral artist Heike le Cordeur, from Fleur le Cordeur, transforms spaces and places into fantasy gardens

Heike le Cordeur's passion for flowers is tangible — you can sense it simply by scrolling through her Instagram feed. “My mother, Johanna, made a point of teaching me and my siblings to embrace beauty and combine it with creativity,” she says. “When the opportunity presented itself to do exactly that for a living, I grabbed it with both hands.” When a wedding planner friend asked le Cordeur to help with flowers for a wedding, Fleur le Cordeur was born at her kitchen table.

Five years on (and with her previous corporate life no more) some of Heike le Cordeur’s installations take up to 40 people to create. Inspiration comes from fashion and interiors, architecture, emotional experiences, seasonal florals and even random found objects. “Lots and lots of green”, too, is becoming a bigger, floral design trend, which sees plant greens used in a standalone, bold look. When a client commented she wished she could have Fleur le Cordeur on her table permanently, Heike le Cordeur took the next step. Her floral designs have been printed in high definition onto custom linens and the exquisite results can be ordered online, immortalising her unforgettable creations. fleurlecordeur.co.za


THE NURSERY BY THE SEA

Katherine Barlow’s Plett hideaway — Dirt Therapy — is chock full of indigenous plants and strangely covetable gardening accessories

Next time you're in Plett, take a trip to Dirt Therapy, indigenous nursery, gardening accessory store, and occasional gin bar. Katherine Barlow, the founder, has always had an intense appreciation of gardens, which began in her aunt Sandy Ovenstone’s historic Kenilworth home, Stellenberg. “People who love gardening in any form get to enjoy a slice of simpler side of life and the peace that being in the garden brings,” she says.

Barlow and her husband Tyrone Yates (a golf-course designer and landscaper) took six months to plan the layout of Dirt Therapy and Yates “brilliantly shaped the area with a small bulldozer”. The resulting space is a well-curated mix of indigenous plants to purchase, with a beautiful country outlook.

The shop stocks imported British watering cans, designer hosepipes from Sweden, and antique floral prints from France. Other contents have been sourced on their trips throughout Africa, including seedpods from Madagascar. After a year of operating just as a nursery, Barlow realised that customers were revelling in the country atmosphere and wanted to stay for longer. So, a Jurgens caravan became a food truck, and the potting area was transformed into a space littered with tables, chairs, and a bar. Now Dirt Therapy can be hired for events or you can simply pop in to sip a glass of Chardonnay and relax. dirttherapy.co.za

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FINE DINING IN THE GREENHOUSE

Who says fine dining can’t have a garden feel too?

At Greenhouse, the flagship restaurant at The Cellars-Hohenort hotel in Cape Town’s Constantia, all you can see is trees. This restaurant, inspired by an English greenhouse, has an utterly unique setting, and the surrounding nature has formed part of the inspiration behind the refurb by Hot Cocoa, as well as the ever-changing menu. Contemporary artworks by Basil Friedlander pay tribute to nature and offset the simplicity of the furnishings.

The jaw-dropping menu is where the Greenhouse really stands out. Chefs Peter Tempelhoff and Ashley Moss have paid tribute to their lush surrounds and “ingredients, season, local flavour, culture, and food memories mostly determine the reasons behind the menu, where every ingredient has a reason to be included”. Our personal favourite? The Life & Death of Trees, where final sweets are served on local fynbos Bonsai, Namibian Mopane Root, and Madagascan petrified wood, “to remind us of the circle of life and the beauty of trees”. It’s a glorious foodie tribute to the inspiring environment. greenhouserestaurant.co.zacollectionmcgrath.com

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