The seven rose farms are situated throughout the northern parts of South Africa, all within a four-hour drive of Johannesburg, which is our main distribution point, locally and internationally. And the indigenous forest and vlei that border the garden provide decorative material and a playground for Hannes and DP’s five dogs, two Dutch decoy spaniels, a peke and two lurchers. As soil is the cheapest growth medium, Engelke Blomme plants its flowers directly into soil. Flowers are literally a way of life for Hannes Stander and his partner DP (Daniel) Ferreira. “It’s such a harmonious thing to do and so many people have lost that connection with nature,” says DP. The flowers come in shades of purple, scarlet, pink, mauve, salmon, and clear white. While crop rotation is used to prevent the build-up of soil pathogens, the soil is also occasionally fumigated. “We used to cut grass for hens, feed the pigs, and we had to carry water in two pails on a stick,” recalls Moses. We pick flowers throughout the year, but close down over the weekends. And The Man Above still ultimately takes a hand in decisions like which nights will be cold and which days warm, and what affects things like the colour of blooms. Twenty years ago, Engelke Blomme began producing flowers in tunnels for wind protection. Growing large volumes of flowers to order requires expertise: harnessing technology combined with knowledge, not only of the requirements of each flower type but the lifecycle of pests like western flower thrips, where the female is capable of laying 150 eggs every day for 15 days. Full sun to partial afternoon shade. Günther Engelke, one of the company’s directors, attributes the success of the enterprise to following conventional business practices. or about $15.000 an acre. You have to make the structure work for you, not the other way around. “And as soon as we harvest them we have to replant in order to get four cycles a year.” Each section of plants has a chart, a bit like a hospital patient does, detailing progress. Regardless of that, my brother, father and I still have to take turns to work at our market on Saturdays.”. To revive flowers, shorten stems and always cut on the diagonal with a sharp knife or secateurs. You therefore need a good estimate of all your input costs and income before embarking on such a venture,” he says. Flowershed produces high-quality, indigenous flowers, and the business has grown from a small, tentative sideline to the largest producer of blushing brides in South Africa, and a major producer and exporter of many other indigenous flower species. “This one any day,” he says. Today, the flower division employs 160 workers that produce more than 40 varieties of chrysanthemums alone, plus alstroemeria, lisianthus , three different types of lilies (Asiatic, Oriental and St Joseph’s), gladiolus in summer, iris and freesia in winter and seasonal flowers like Queen Anne’s lace, tulips, sweet William and snapdragon. Hannes and DP’s former florist shop on Thesen Island, Kynsna has evolved into Ecozest, a home-based business where their imaginative creations range from pyramids of proteas plus a display of different protea species for a wedding, to branches hung with plants and lights for a golf tournament. The other use is for the production of essential oils. Remove lower leaves so that only bare stems are in water. To get an idea of the many possibilities visit Bloomin.com. Say it with Flowers on Table Mountain this... Putsonderwater: An adventure to the emptiness, Running with the wild horses of the Namib. South Africa is currently the largest macadamia producer in the world with 19,500 hectares under cultivation, producing over 50,000 tonnes per year. South Africa is a country of exceptional originality and uniqueness of nature. “The wind blew the roof off one of our structures a year ago, resulting in our lisianthus plants contracting false mildew. About 50% of its flowers are sold wholesale, while 20% are sold to florists and 30% to private vendors. G a r d e n i n g i n S o u t h A f r i c a. The tunnel frames are made of hot-dipped, galvanised steel, covered with plastic, and white shade nets. Flowers … After a flirtation with tomato growing on the estate, Arend started with chrysanthemums for the cut-flower trade and launched what was to become the largest flower-production unit in the Western Cape. Those chrysanthemums, for example, are grown in a computer-controlled environment that manipulates the amount of light and heat to replicate autumn conditions, so that the plants are persuaded to flower year round. Binding the South African flower industry together is the South African Flower Export Council (SAFEC). Günther says that enclosing the tunnel with plastic all round would require a climate control system to manage temperatures and humidity inside the tunnels. Günther, Otto (his father) and Volkmar (his brother) keep an eye out too. They are the foundation on which their business Ecozest is built. Cosmos Growing Guide Crop Rotation Group. South Africa’s flowers, on the other hand, took up a comparatively paltry 545 hectares in 2011. Flowers are either grown in shade houses or in climate-controlled greenhouses on five hectares, using methods developed by the Dutch – long-established masters of the flower trade. Today a simple road sign that announces ‘fresh cut flowers’ entices customers from across the southern Peninsula, from Newlands to Simon’s Town, to buy bunches from Moses and his sons Malcolm and Charles at the Brounger Road Flower Stall. Throughout the year, the 12ha garden is magnificent, with rows of sweet peas, strelitzia, sweet William, watsonia, agapanthus, feverfew and poppies on either side of the Spaanschemat River, where tiny fish dart about in the clear water. Growing guidance for all the seeds we sell can be downloaded in PDF format from the following categories. The plant grows at a height of around 2 to 3 meters. Avoid standing blooms in draughts, direct sunlight or near central heating. The varieties are guided by market demand and suitability to the farm’s production conditions. But at Oak Valley there are specialised teams for planting, cultivation, picking and packaging, while good old-fashioned methods like composting and a fertiliser made from vermicasts are used. March 22, 2019 by admin. It is found in the south-eastern parts of South Africa. Unlike other green crops, onions are unpretentious and grow rapidly especially if Engelke Blomme, a flower producer established in the 1930s in Philippi in the Western Cape, has overcome these challenges and expanded from a small, part-time business to a major regional operation. Overhead shade net is used during summer to protect certain flower varieties from sunburn and encourage better length growth. In South Africa, a shortage of water is the main factor limiting crop production. “While producers are often flooded with all kinds of regulations to be allowed to supply a retailer, having your own market means that you can focus more energy on things that are important to you, like the production of good-quality flowers.”. In the heart of their four-acre smallholding near Jubilee Creek is a cutting garden where they harvest flowers both for arrangements and for the flower workshops they hold at their home, an original woodcutter’s cottage dating back to 1827. The garden, filled with dozens of species of flowering plants and shrubs, from strelitzias to pelargoniums, roses to viburnum, is gradually being expanded. A labour-intensive industry According to Jac Duif, director of the South African Flower Export Council (SAFEC), the flower industry started in 1944 in Johannesburg, with four South African and Dutch-origin flower growers as its first members. He warns, however, that these should be rotated according to their active ingredients to prevent weeds developing resistance. Their story stretches back to the 1800s to Moses’ great-grandmother Susan Williams, a member of the Christian community who grew flowers and strawberries in the area for generations, a vanished tradition remembered in the name Strawberry Lane. “It was very hard after school.”. While talking about how to make the floriculture business work, people engaged in the process on the farms are one of the most significant factors it is necessary to pay attention at. Multiflora, based in Johannesburg and the biggest flower auction house in the country, wholesales flowers from 600 growers to 400 florists. Flowers are among the high-value crops that create more, better-paying jobs for low-skilled workers, in part because they have been more resistant to mechanisation. “But it isn’t low maintenance.”, Farming has been handed down from generation to generation in the Jaftha family. From the farms the roses are transported, by refrigerated trucks, to the hub in Johannesburg from where they are distributed to the Cape depot and various other clients. Previously flower sellers sold their wares from tables rented at the municipal market. Some 95% of South Africa’s macadamias are exported, with China the main market. We live by the motto: Whichever flowers you desire – we can get them for you. The South African Flower Export Council. He adds that supplying a retailer does have some advantages, as farmers do not have to actively market their produce. “If you want to supply a retailer directly, you have to make peace with the fact that you will be a price taker, and that there will be all kinds of quality control measures to which your produce and production processes will have to conform. It is an export council used to apply for funding from government. © 2020 Farmer's Weekly Magazine | Caxton Magazines Digital |, Why a Cape winemaker bought a vineyard in Slovenia, Helping livestock farmers control data on the farm, Equipping women farmers for long-term success, Inside a family-run abattoir that slaughters 800 cattle a day, Building a mega business through egg production, Using manure as fertiliser: Mistakes to avoid, Good wheat year ahead, but climate uncertainty prevails, Land beneficiaries’ 20-year struggle for government help, Table grapes yet to experience full impact of COVID-19, Avocados remain buoyant amid ‘insatiable demand’, Breeding seasons in summer rainfall areas. “This would triple the cost of the structure, and result in a monthly running cost,” he says. But perhaps there is more to the attraction than that, for the Jaftha’s flower farm is a patch of rural paradise surrounded by affluent suburbs and upmarket wine farms, protected by its wetland status. This business has a high profitability and quickly pays off. Gardening in South Africa. Conditions can vary in provinces which also needs to be taken into account. On the plus side, your market risks might be lower than if you sold the flowers yourself.”. Production must be planned strategically to coincide with big market days, which traditionally include Christmas, Mother’s Day, Easter, Valentine’s Day and Eid al Fitr. Plant growing guides for vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers for growing at home. In 1948 a flower market was established, Multiflora, the Johannesburg flower auction, which is still the biggest flower market in Africa. The florists also cater for same day flower delivery to South Africa if ordered by 2pm local time. White nets are used as windbreaks as they provide less shade. Soil, and Pest and weed control However, this method does not apply to all seed and bulbs, as many cultivars are protected by breeders’ rights and cannot be grown from one’s own seed. Market choice is crucial for a farming operation’s success, as produce can be sold in various ways, from informal traders and the fresh market to retail stores. The flowers that form on the tips of the branches are a delicate blue. A cut above – The flower trade in the Western Cape is blooming for growers great and small…. The flower garden that supplies their business surrounds Woodcutters Forest Cottages – their home and their guest cottages on the edge of the forest above Knysna, on the Garden Route. Planning production around events ”We will have to see,” says Malcolm, his eyes twinkling. Glenneis Kriel spoke Günther Engelke about their success. Plants may do well at other Uses Rosemary in both its fresh form and dried is used in many food dishes as a flavouring. Marijuana is not yet legal but other herbs include tansy, blood flower, hyssop, alfalfa and wild quinine. But under the Group Areas Act, the families in the valley were forcibly removed from their leased land in the late 1960s, and relocated to Parkwood Estate near Grassy Park. Good quality flowers still in bud rather than fully open will last longer. SANA is a member-driven, non-profit organisation, which strives to promote gardening as a hobby in South Africa for ALL South Africans. South Africa flower farms and industry. Timing is everything when it comes to picking the blooms too. Weeds are particularly problematic, and Günther advises farmers to experiment with various products to identify those that work best. The disease spread like wildfire, and caused a loss of R200 000 in just three days,” he recalls. If you’ve ever wondered where your bouquet of chrysanthemums – long-lasting queens of the vase – comes from, the chances are, if you live in the Cape, it’s Oak Valley estate in Elgin, the biggest flower grower in the province. “We cannot produce everything, so some of our products, such as roses, are sourced from other growers,” he says. Flower production is also extremely labour-intensive, and the Engelkes employ between 40 and 50 labourers per day. As with most agricultural commodities, prices are volatile and competition is stiff. Any sunny site with good drainage. The flower farm was founded in 1978 by a Dutch horticulturist named Arend Doorduin, who worked closely with the current fourth-generation owner Anthony Rawbone-Viljoen. In those days Susan and her eldest sons would rise before dawn to walk to Adderley Street, Cape Town to sell strawberries and violets. The flowers have the highest quality oils and yield a … Choosing a market © 2020 Country Life All rights reserved | Terms & Conditions | Contact Us Tunnel production The flower farm in a valley beneath the Groenlandberg mountains is surrounded by Oak Valley’s apple and pear orchards, vineyards for cool-climate wines and pastures where grass-fed cattle and acorn-fed pigs are raised. Infrastructure won’t last five years here if it’s not galvanised.”. Many people are attracted to the floriculture industry because of their interest in growing plants. The farm sells around 800 000 bunches of chrysanthemums a year, each bunch sold by weight, with five to eight stems per bunch. based in Jhb) and the Intensive Growers Association (IGA) . Listening to Malcolm talk about his flowers – which plants self-sow, how to get sweet peas to grow straight and tall or how to store dahlia tubers (dahlias are their biggest sellers), is like taking a crash course in gardening. 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