Five for FynbosCrowdfunding
Fynbos Fire Fundraiser
Help to restore the diverse Fynbos at Veld & Sea and Good Hope Gardens Nursery on the Cape Peninsula!
In November 2017 early summer fires raged through our property on the Cape Peninsula, where both Veld & Sea and Good Hope Gardens Nursery are based. Despite epic efforts by firefighters and the community, the fire lasted for days and the entire mountainside was burned, as well as crucial infrastructure on our property. Amazingly, all buildings were saved, but we will not be able to restore the vegetation without help. Although fire is a natural part of the fynbos ecosystem, this fire was unseasonably early. This means that the mountain will have to endure months of hot sun and fierce south easterly winds before it receives the life bringing rain that will help to establish the majority of fynbos species in the winter. Many species will not survive without intervention. In addition, although we cleared our property of alien invasive vegetation over twenty years ago, alien plant seed banks can survive in the soil for up to 90 years, and their germination is triggered by fire.
With money raised here we plan to:
Save our seeds and biodiversity!
We plan to build catchment nets to trap sand and seeds, which will minimise seed loss and ensure we can maintain the high levels of biodiversity on the mountain side. In this very windy environment, without barriers to stop the wind, important topsoil is being blown away, along with the fynbos seedbank. This means that new seedlings are not able to recolonise the land. With the help of rows of wind barriers, we can ensure that seeds remain in the soil and can germinate safely.
Stop invading aliens!
To ensure the fynbos seeds we save have room to establish, we need to prevent alien plants from invading. We would like to hire a team of well-trained alien clearing professionals who will help to ensure the natural vegetation is not trampled while removing alien plants. This clearing needs to be repeated on an annual basis for at least five years.
Replace our infrastructure!
We would like to continue providing indigenous flora, flavour, foraging and knowledge experiences, and to do this we need to replace infrastructure burnt in the fire. Although our fire insurance was supposed to be fully comprehensive, they have thus far refused to pay out for any of the damage to our infrastructure. Part of the raised funds will go towards re-establishing paths, bridges, and fences to protect our diverse fynbos. We also need to replace thousands of rands worth of burnt piping and shade houses, to ensure the cultivation of these wonderful plants can continue. The insurance also does not cover the rehabilitation and restoration of the veld, which is the true catastrophe of the fire.
More about us:
Our 30 hectare property forms part of the Cape Peninsula mountain chain, one of the most botanically diverse regions of the world. The Cape Peninsula is home to at least 2285 plant species, many of which occur on the property. This biodiversity has inspired both Gael Gray and Roushanna Gray in their respective ventures. Gael Gray is a locally renowned indigenous plant expert, and founded Good Hope Gardens Nursery in 1986. She was a pioneer in the cultivation of our endemic fynbos, and has promoted water wise gardening for decades, long before it became popular (and a necessity during the current drought).
Roushanna Gray, who is married to Gael’s son Tom (also a fynbos expert and designer of indigenous landscapes), provides a wealth of inspiration and knowledge to foragers, culinary experts and wild flavour enthusiasts, through her Veld & Sea business. These two businesses together have been invaluable in promoting appreciation and understanding of our beautifully diverse fynbos.
Part of the joy of these businesses are the botanical experiences they offers to locals and tourists alike. The fire has ravaged the infrastructure that makes these experiences possible, such as piping, paths to protect the sensitive fynbos, bridges, and fences.
The signature Veld & Sea fynbos foraging experiences depend on the wild fynbos on the property, as well as edible indigenous gardens maintained by the nursery. Unfortunately important infrastructure required to maintain these indigenous edible gardens was also damaged in the fire.
These amazing and popular fynbos experiences are only possible because of the wonderful biodiversity present on the property. The property is home to a huge number of vulnerable plant species such as Serruria glomerata, Gladiolus merianellus, Liperia parva, Mimetes hirtus and Babiana villosula to name but a few. Without your help, the real consequences of the fire will unfold over the next months and years, when alien invasive plants invade rapidly into the empty veld left by the fire, and the native species are lost to wind and erosion.
Your help in raising funds to save our fynbos is invaluable, and all donors will receive a sneak peek recipe from Roushanna’s upcoming Fire and Flowers cookbook as a thank you!
If you would like any more information on the fire, the Veld & Sea and Good Hope Gardens business, or how your funds will be spent, please contact Roushanna Gray at roushanna[at]hotmail.com, or email Emma Gray at emmafionagray[at]gmail.com.