Grootbos Private Nature Reserve’s owner Michael Lutzeyer is constantly imagining new concepts and innovative travel options to add to the luxury lodge situated close to Gansbaai. Michael’s latest idea had me looking up the explanation of “florilegium”. It means “the gathering of flowers”. Visiting the property on 3 September 2022 and taking in the collection of fynbos illustrations was an awe inspiring experience.
The Grootbos team worked under the direction of Betty’s Bay resident Vicki Thomas and the project, a first for Africa, took about four years to complete. It exceeded all expectations. Grootbos Foundation Conservation Director, Sean Privett, and resident botanical artist Chris Lochner formed part of the core team. Vicki’s work is included in the Transylvanian and Sydney florilegia and she was part of the founding group of the Botanical Artists’ Association of South Africa in 1999.
More than 44 South African and international artists contributed to the 124 original art pieces displayed in the Hannarie Wenhold Botanical Art Gallery at Grootbos situated close to the newly revamped Garden Lodge. The exhibition has 6 themes: diversity, pollination, threatened, forest, heritage, and fire. Fresh fynbos was placed in vases created by Kleinmond potter Corinne de Haas while Creation Cap Classique was poured to toast the opening and body products of Just Pure was on sale in the shop. Stems of the beautiful Erica irregularis dotted the tables and graced the exhibition. Erica irregularis is commonly known as Gansbaai Heath and occurs naturally around Grootbos in winter months to paint the landscape with a flush of candy floss pink.
The Grootbos Florilegium opened at the start of September – celebrated as South Africa’s Tourism and Heritage Month. This collection promotes the botanical heritage of the Overberg through art as the medium with the rest of the world. It gives us another reason to explore our beautiful and interesting surroundings.