What happens when a retired botanist/teacher meets a (younger) Swiss lady with qualifications in International Political Science and a passion for plants in a small town like Stilbaai?
They become friends and work together to benefit the environment. Previously the retired lady helped in the establishment of the Tuin-op-die-Brak, an endemic municipal garden. Together they worked to improve the whale lookout point above Stilbaai harbour.
Tuin-op-die-Brak is located on municipal land that had created some issues as it was used as a dumping ground and looked unsightly, downgrading the area. The project not only managed to embellish the area, but in spite of its small size, it offers educational walking trails, a small indigenous nursery, a braille path, a sundial, an aquatic plants area. It is a custodian of the endangered local limestone and dune species of plants as a memory bank. It also houses the emerging herbarium and is surrounded by a host of indigenous trees.
Their latest mission is to establish a herbarium containing as many of the local plant species as possible, especially those of the threatened calcareous limestone fynbos, a tiny section of the Greater Fynbos Biome, but special, as these plants prefer alkaline soil, in contrast to most fynbos species, which favour slightly acidic soils.
The botanist has also published books on indigenous trees of the area and a guide on what to plant (indigenous) in your garden in Stilbaai, as too many people resort to foreign plants that are not water-wise or downright invasive.
Did you know?
Limestone fynbos is a more and more endangered biome, due to the fact that it is agriculturally insignificant and it falls prey to town extensions. There are over 40 vulnerable, endangered or locally rare species of limestone fynbos in Pauline Bohnen Nature Reserve. Furthermore, the local composition of both, the coastal thicket as well as the limestone fynbos is unique in its combination of plants.
Tuin-op-die-Brak Botanical Garden
111 Main Road, Still Bay East
Contact No. 028 754 1181
12th February 2021