Farming art

    Any one who has been to the Cederberg will know that the area is rich in unique rock formations, a large variety of plants, animals and loads of bushman paintings. Klipopmekaar, a Rooibos Tea Farm and Private Nature Reserve situated in the bio diverse wonderland of the Cederberg mountains is one of these beautiful locations.

The rich history of the Cederberg region and the rooibos farming environment provides inspiration to Richard Bowsher, owner of Klipopmekaar, for a range of fun creative pursuits on the farm.

Together with friends and farm manager Paul, Richard put his creative juices to the test and frequently produces various sculptures and functional creative items from recycled steel, recycled materials and old agricultural objects found on the farm.

Unusually, none of the art that he creates is for sale and some of his ideas and creative concepts are used in the annual AfrikaBurn festival held in the Tankwa-Karoo National Park, like the old windmill that was successfully converted into a light spectacle for the festival. Richard's ethos regarding his art is to simply have fun and explore creativity in the beautiful Klipopmekaar wilderness with anything and everything that can be found locally.

Not only does Richard use recyclable materials in his artworks, but he has also taken Klipopmekaar to the forefront of organic Rooibos farming by installing solar power, environmentally conscious design, entrenched recycling systems and various other conservation projects across the farm.

Visit Klipopmekaar's website for more pictures on Richards' art works or his rooibos tea farm.

Klipopmekaar Art work

Shipwreck found at the V&A Waterfront

Talking about the V&A Waterfront brings up visions of commercial activities, tourism and a working harbour. Never in a million years would we consider it to be an undiscovered archeological site, but amazingly, a construction company excavating for a new office block in the Clock Tower precinct of the V&A Waterfront, as recent as last week uncovered a wooden shipwreck.

Large portions of the city and harbour now cover the old anchorage, beaches and colonial coastal infrastructure and below the surface still lie some of the ships driven ashore (around Woodstock, Paarden Eiland and the sea floor from Greenpoint to Salt River) by strong winter storms.

The discovery by workers of WBHO Construction, consists of a section of the wooden wreck covered by ballast, cannon balls and a small broken cannon.

A team of academics, students and volunteers are carefully brushing soil from the remains of the unknown wreck in an effort to record its structure and collect data that may give clues to its age and identity, while construction activities continue unabated.

'This wreck represents a rare reminder of the secret, and often forgotten, maritime heritage of Cape Town,' said Sahra (South African Heritage Resources Agency).

Source: Engineering News.

V&A Waterfornt Shipwreck

Tips to help you when tasting and enjoying wine

Organized wine tastings are often plagued by the joy-killing suspicion that there are very serious rules that must be followed to the letter or you'll look like an idiot. Tasting wine is not nearly as much fun when nervous that perhaps you're not holding the glass correctly or speaking poetically enough about the 'bouquet'.

Here are some easy tips on how to look the seasoned professional and to take the edge off those nerves:

Step 1: Pour It

A tulip-shaped glass will help capture the aromas and funnel them toward your nose. Fill your glass to about one-quarter or so of the way leaving plenty of room for swirling and space for aromas to build up.

Step 2: Nose It

Give the glass a good swirl (this will help release aromas), put your nose right in there and breathe deeply. Smell is a critical part of taste and therefore the first sniff is usually the most revealing. As the nose experiences the sense of the wines' aroma it will stimulate the palate. If your white wines are poured too cold, you will have difficulty picking out aromas until they warm a bit and the tightly bundled odours reveal themselves.

Some people are more naturally adept at picking out aromas than others, while others are simply bolder about giving voice to their guesses. Identifying underlying flavours often sounds like a poetry reading, but with practice you can teach your nose and palate to identify more aromas and flavours. When cooking, pay special attention to the smell of specific foods (mushrooms, lemons, herbs). The nose has a powerful memory and taking care to notice aromas in the ingredients you prepare will help you pick out aromas in wines, it helps to know that each grape varietal has a few classic aromas.

Here is a list that covers some of the popular red and white varietals:

Red wine Aromas
Cabernet Sauvignon Black currant, mint, plum, eucalyptus, bell pepper, olives, vanilla, black cherry, cedar, anise, cassis.
Merlot) Red berries, black berries, eucalyptus, mint, herb, bell pepper, plum, violets, cassis, fruit cake, chocolate.
Pinot Noir Red currant, strawberry, cherry (red or black), raspberry, violets, mushrooms, decaying leaves, cola.
Syrah/Shiraz Raspberry, black or white pepper, blackberry, red or black currant, cassis, jam, smoke, leather, tar, coffee.
Pinotage Boiled sweets, bananas, cloves, herbs.
Cabernet Franc Violets, herbs, heather.
Zinfandel Wild berries, raspberry, plum, pepper, bramble, earth.
Muscadel Roses, raisins, ripe pineapple, cinnamon, apricot. When aged, chocolates, nuts, liquorice.

White wine Aromas
Chardonnay Apple, melon, peach, pineapple, pear, lemon, fig, honey, butter, toast.
Sauvignon Blanc Grass, gooseberry, nettles, herbs, tropical fruit, citrus, fig.
Chenin Blanc Guava, tropical fruit, honey, nuts.
Viognier Blossom scents, peaches, pears, apricots, honey.

Tip and Sip It

Take a sip, but before you swallow the wine let it linger a bit in the mouth and then wash the flavours over the palate by either tightening the mouth and breathing in over the wine to send the aromas into the back of the nasal cavity or 'chew' on the wine a bit to move it around the tongue. This will provide sensations such as 'body' (viscosity or weight) and drying sensation due to tannin.

Verbalise what you experience through your senses. No one ever says a wine smells or tastes like grapes, instead there are many other fruits plus vegetables, herbs, spices and minerals that are detected in wine. This is because there are thousands of flavour compounds milling around in that glass that share flavours with other foods. Part of the fun of identifying flavours in wine is being willing to assign to it words that might seem silly or out of place as in the wacky world of wine they are considered attractive.

Going Beyond the Basics

After tasting and identifying for a while, aesthetic evaluations such things as the wines' 'balance' (whether the wine's acidity, alcohol, tannins and flavours come together as a pleasurable whole without different parts sticking out unattractively) can be attempted.

Karen from KGB Wine hosts very casual social wine tastings that can be done in your own home. Contact her for more information.

Wine tasting tips

Experience the magic of harvest for a day

Roberston Wine Valley (only one and a half hours' drive from Cape Town) is cupped between the scenic Langeberg and Riviersonderend mountain ranges, with the Breede River running through the entire valley ensuring water all year round.

The valley itself was founded in 1983 and currently consists of 57 members (49 of these being wineries) in the towns of Ashton, Bonnievale, McGregor and Robertson. This scenic route is a welcome alternative to the busy highways and an opportunity to stock up on fabulous wines - with 50 wineries offering free wine tasting, you're bound to discover many new favourites.

This year's Hands-on Harvest festival held on 24th, 25th and 26th February 2012 in the Robertson Wine Valley offers wine aficionados and budding vintners a chance to experience the magic of harvest for a day - without having to quit their day jobs!

Some of the wineries participating in the 'Hands-On Harvest' are not ordinarily open to the public, and therefore this harvest festival gives the public a chance to enjoy specialised expertise in a series of small, intimate and fun events held on the various farms in the valley. These small events ensure that guests enjoy the best, most personalised 'hands-on' experiences.

Fun activities during the harvest festival include grape picking, bunch sorting, stomping grapes, grape vs wine tasting, a harvest market, vineyard tractor trips, wine blending, picnics, live music and much more. Events need to be pre-booked by 22 February 2012.

Did you know?

  • There are between 35 and 60 clusters of grapes per vine
  • One vine produces between 24 and 36 glasses of wine
  • Each bottle of wine contains about 1,5kg of grapes
  • A ton of grapes makes about 720 bottles of wine
  • One barrel of wine equals 1 800 glasses of wine

Visit the Hands-on Harvest Festival website for more information.

Roberston Valley Hands-on Harvest Festival

Hot News

Eversdal Paradise

Living Matter designed a serene haven for a client in Eversdal in 2009, and as a testament to the loving care that the client has put into the garden, it has bloomed into a beautiful peaceful space brimming with birdlife.

Eversdal Landscape Project

We recently (almost 3 years after implementation) took one of our professional photographer partners (ishoot photography) with us to capture the essence of this very successful landscape. View the fantastic results of this project in the case studies section of our website.

Design Indaba 2012

Don't forget to visit the Design Indaba held at the CTICC from 29 Feb to 4 March 2012. For more information visit their website.

Featured Plant

Cassine Peragua

Cassine Peragua
(Cape saffron)

Family :


Description :

Indigenous medium tree to 5m with small white flowers.

Flowering time :

Summer / Autumn

Conditions :

  • Full Sun
  • Average water
  • Evergreen
  • Wind resistant
  • Some frost sensitivity
  • Any soil

View more detailed information on this plant in our plant directory.

Wine of the month

Wine of the month

Babiana 2008

Winery : Vondeling
Winemaker : Matthew Copeland

Description :

A lightly wooded white wine blend of Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Chardonnay and Grenache Blanc and derives its name from a tiny plant unique to the Paardeberg Mountain.

Aroma : Deliciously complex, spicy nose of ginger, jasmine, coconut and peaches.

Palate : Fresh with touches of white pepper, citrus blossom, honey and pears. Mid-palate is smooth and slightly creamy with a fresh, lingering citrus after-taste.

Winemaking : Each wine is fermented separately and matured on the lees for at least 7 months with malolactic fermentation softening acidity and promoting rich, buttery flavours.

Food Pairing : Decanting is recommended to unlock aromas. Enjoy with grilled and tempura style fish, aromatic Thai dishes or chicken flambe pasta followed by soft Italian cheeses.

If you want to purchase or require more information on this wine, or if you are interested in a private or corporate tasting, please email Karen or visit her website.

Planting Guide

Herb or Veggie

Seeds can be sown or plants can be planted for the following herbs and veggies this month:


  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Leek
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Swisschard
  • Turnips
  • Herbs

  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Chives
  • Chamomile
  • Dill
  • Mustard
  • Oreganum
  • Parsley
  • Rocket
  • Thyme
  • Watercress
  • View our full planting plan in our resources section of our website.

    Brain Teaser

    We all love a chance to test our own brain capacity with brain teasers. Try see if you can figure out this one...

    Brain Teaser

    January's Teaser Answer :
    "Moral high ground"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82