Friday, July 5, 2013

The gardens at Babylonstoren

Here is just a taste of Babylonstoren, the spectacularly restored farm near Paarl. Vineyards, kitchen gardens, guest cottages, restaurants, farm shops, farm animals. It is the Western Cape's answer to New York's Stone Barns, and then some. It is what happens when brains, money, vision and talent are swirled together. It's a long story and has been told, many times, elsewhere. I'd like to write another one, some day, maybe...

...but I had little time to wander the wonderful kitchen gardens, whose scale is jaw dropping. My mom and I were taking her older sister, my Aunt Yvonne, out to lunch, and long walks were not appropriate.

It had been a hot, hot day the last time we visited. This time, a nippy winter wind blew.

A growing green mulch - between citrus trees - of lupines.

Edible waterblommetjies. Aponogeton distachyos. Their season has just started. My aunt had a beautiful bunch of them on her kitchen table in Paarl, sold by lady who goes door to door, after "swimming" for them in the rainfed pools and dams where they grow.

Woven containers for rhubarb

And then I was very lucky to meet the conspicuous and photogenic Gundula Deutschlander, a gardener at Babylonstoren, who contributed in large part to its extraordinary plant palette. She was picking vegetables and flowers and was gracious about having her picture taken. I could have quizzed her for hours, but lunch and two sisters were calling (click this link to read all about that lunch and the restaurant Babel).

I can't wait to spend some more time in these gardens. And they require time.

If you have it - time, I mean - go. It's one of those places that has to be visited. If you win the lottery, stay on the farm itself. It ain't cheap, but it does seem perfect.

This is my last day in Cape Town. New York, I am in-bound.

Save some blueberries for me.


  1. I love the woven containers, but why rhubarb? And what is Gundula wearing around her neck? A green mulch of lupines sounds so extravagant to my northern ears! Can I come with you next time? ;)

    1. I imagine the very long stems of rhubarb are supported well in these.

  2. Oohhhh I love so many things about this post: The wattle surrounding the rhubarb, the colors Gundula is wearing, her amazing little scarf(?), and the knowing that this place ( and ones like it) exist! Fly safely my friend!

  3. Thanks for sharing all those beautiful pics and impressions, Marie.
    Feel it's time for my first journey to Africa.
    But will you léave No.9 without the traditional salmon and bubbly??
    Anyway, have a safe and pleasant trip back home to the main man and the hairy one.

  4. So gorgeous - and that's the off season?! Thank you for this brief glimpse...

  5. Gundula's felt flower scarf looks like something from the splendid Gudrun Sjoden(not sure how to add an umlaut)... Wonderful posts, thank you for sharing. Safe and swift journey back Marie : )

  6. That woman is head-to-toe wholesome, something I'd like to see more of!


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