My Fynbos Garden – a guest blog

My guest bloggers are giving us a real treat – from turns around their kitchens, serving up tasty treats and now we have a trip into the garden to work all those calories off ! And not just any old garden, a lovely blogging friend’s South African garden.Do you know Tandy? I’m sure some of you do, especially if you are a foodie. I can’t remember when exactly Tandy and I connected via blogging, but I’ve been hooked on her recipes ever since. And with me being away in sunny Devon (she hopes!!) it gives Tandy an opportunity to show us around her garden, not something she normally shares on her nlog, so we could consider this as a “world preview” 🙂

Oh and we have a bit of fun lined up for you too, but I’ll leave that to Tandy to explain!

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Hi, I am Tandy from Lavender and Lime. I live at the foot of the mountain which marks part of the Unesco World Heritage site known as the Kogelberg Biosphere. This area has the largest floral diversity world wide. The nature reserve covers 3000 hectares and is home to the cape cobra, tortoises, buck, frogs and wild cats. The R44 is the road that runs through Gordons Bay where I live, and it skirts the mountainside with the coast line next to it. From many vantage points along this route one can see whales and dolphins and on the rare occasion, a great white shark can be spotted.

Fynbos grows freely here, with the Erica Protea being the most commonly known species. The area is a protected reserve and one cannot pick any of the flora off the mountains. However, having an indigenous garden is of great benefit. It needs very little watering and very little care. I am going to take you through a walk of my garden and introduce you to some of the fynbos species that I have growing.

Geranium, or pelargonium as this funbos is known, comes in a variety of colours. This pink one is the only one flowering in my garden at present. These indigenous plants have been used in skin care since the mid 17th Century. To make a refreshing skin toner simply brew the flowers, stems and leaves in some boiling water (like you would for tea) for 5 minutes. Allow to cool and then store for use. To reduce inflammation and help heal wounds, soak the leaves in some boiling water for 5 minutes and then use as a poultice. For a facial steam treatment, to help with sluggish, congested and oily skin, simply place 4 drops of rose geranium essential oil into a bowl of warm water, place a towel over your head, close your eyes and lean over the bowl. Inhale the vapour for a few minutes and then rinse your face a number of times with the infused water.

The next plant in my garden is a succulent which appeared out of nowhere. It is so pretty and I am hoping that it will survive being transplanted into my fynbos garden as at present it is in my vegetable patch. The leaves can be broken off and rubbed onto wounds to promote healing.

 

I absolutely love my black eyed Susan vine which has grown wild into my planter. I originally purchased two of them but the orange one did not survive. They look so pretty and if anyone knows if they have a medicinal use, or culinary use, please let me know.

 

And while I am asking questions, does anyone know what this is?

The last fynbos I would like to introduce you to is Buchu. I bought this tiny plant as soon as Claire asked me to do a guest post, and hopefully in the future I will be able to show you how it has grown. The leaves of this plant are used to treat gastrointestinal and urinary tract problems. It has both diuretic and antiseptic properties. A tea infusion is made using the leaves or it can be purchased commercially in tea bags, often added to rooibos leaves. A tincture of the leaves and stalks is made by adding them to brandy. Buchu vinegar is a traditional remedy used in both a compress and taken internally.

I hope you have enjoyed a visit to my garden and the glimpse into some of our beautiful and functional fynbos.

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