Weekend Wanderings: Autumn at Babylonstoren

One of my favourite places to spend time is Babylonstoren. Since I first visited the garden a few years ago I’ve made it my mission to visit at least once a year. It’s just one of those places that demands to be discovered in a new way on every visit and, preferably, in a different season each time. I’ve been in Spring, Summer, Winter and now, Autumn!

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I was recently invited to explore the garden again along with a group of bloggers, what would be different is that this time instead of forging my own path through the garden I would be priviledged to experience the garden alongside the head gardener, Gundula. And this made such a difference!

Gundula is passionate about “her” garden. She’s been working at Babylonstoren since the garden’s inception over 8 years ago and her knowledge about the huge variety of vegetables, trees and plants is astounding. As we meandered through the paths, she picked a few plants to discuss… some of her current favourites including the rather unique ground peanuts – which, fortunately, the squirrels haven’t discovered yet.

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We admired a still life of pumpkins all heading, no doubt, for the on-site restaurant, Babel, which uses only organic produce from the garden in it’s menu. Every one of over 300 varieties of plants in the garden is edible!

Among them was a rather unique, and very heavy, calabash fruit, better known as the dried out shells used by Kalahari Bushmen for water storage and musical instruments.

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Spanning eight acre, the Babylonstoren garden was inspired by the Company’s Gardens of the Cape, where for centuries ships would replenish with vegetables and fruit at the halfway station between Europe and Asia. It also hales back to the mythical garden of Babylon.

The formal garden is divided into fifteen clusters spanning vegetable areas, berries, bees, indigenous plants, ducks and chickens and even a prickly pear maze – if you’re feeling brave!

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We ambled along the river side path, where over 7000 clivia bloom during Spring, only to “stumble” across a gorgeous garden table set out for lunch – food and wine all produced on the farm!

As it is winter, we enjoyed a mushroom inspired menu and so it was only natural that we should take some time to discover more about them…

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Growing mushrooms is a fairly new venture at Babylonstoren. We were shown two different types of mushroom growing – mushrooms growing wild on a log pile in the garden and then a more controlled mushroom cold room stocked with a number of mushroom growing logs that are inoculated with spores and then take about a year to produce edible mushrooms.

Mushroom grower Kotie van Tonder & the garden team at Babylonstoren will be running a Mushroom Workshop on 8 July 2015 from 10h00 -16h00. Kotie will discuss and demonstrate the growing of oyster mushrooms plus there will be a practical demonstration where you will learn how to grow your own mushrooms. During the afternoon you will do a mushroom tasting followed by a hands on workshop where you will make mushroom “biltong” and mushroom flavoured salt. Lunch is included. Reserve your spot with Bronwynne or Deidre at enquiries@babylonstoren.com or phone 084 275 1243

After this educational we headed towards the gorgeous Babylonstoren spa for a sneak peek followed by a quick stroll past the stand alone cottages which form the Babylonstoren Hotel…

The spa is one of a few in the country that offers a Hammam room and I was lucky enough to review this unique experience a while back.

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And just like that it was over! The gloomy clouds matched our mood as we realised it was time to say goodbye to Babylonstoren. Fortunately we had a little leaving committee to see us off…

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Babylonstoren really is a great destination for a day out but with it’s bountiful gardens, award-winning restaurants, stunning artisan shops and spa facilities you may just need to book a night or two in the cottage accommodation!

Daily tours of the Babylonstoren gardens start at the Farm Shop at 10:00. Bookings essential.

 

Contact Babylonstoren

Tel: + 27 (0)84 275 1243
Email: enquiries@babylonstoren.com
Web: www.babylonstoren.com

Opening Hours

Open 7 days a week: 09h00 – 17h00 (last entry at 16h00)

Images: Kathryn Rossiter

Disclosure: 1

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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