Anthropocene art - a call to open our eyes

    For the first time, it has been recognised that man's activities have made significant enough geological changes to herald a new epoch and the question lies as to whether it started recently in association with carbon emission and CFC's or at the time of the industrial revolution or even earlier.

Epochs are traditionally defined by geological changes and historically these events would have been natural disasters such as meteorites, volcanoes, earth quakes etc.

Anthropocene is a new word - anthropocene is an informal geologic chronological term that serves to mark the evidence and extent of human activities that have had a significant global impact on the Earth's ecosystems.

Artist Robert Slingsby sees his work as an 'Anthropocene artist' as a form of activism, a calling to others to open their eyes and take action to prevent further obliteration. In this sense he shares the Kafkaesque call that the medium of the artist must act to 'shaken awake' the reader, the viewer.

He feels that we lose the very essence of what makes us African when we diminish the diversity of our natural abundance. When we lose the rhino we lose something which is so deeply engrained into our psyche, a mooring post which defines our 'African-ness'.

Through his current series of drawings he bears witness to man's persistent and ruthless exploitation of planet earth, bringing the consequences of mans greed, rather than the gods, as taking the blame for this epoch of mass obliteration.

It includes his longstanding interest in the Richtersveld, an unfolding tragedy, a microcosm of Anthropocene change: the destruction of this semi desert was not at the hands of the locals, the Nama, they have been innocent victims, their destruction coming at the hands of the outsider, the colonisers of Africa.

His art will be showing at the Barnard Gallery in Newlands from 24 October to 28 November 2012. The Barnard Gallery represents and exhibits some of the foremost contemporary fine artists both locally and internationally. The gallery ensures that the artwork is not just confined to the walls upon which they are hung, but also builds their artists careers by researching global opportunities and by making their incredible work as accessible as possible.

Source: Wikipedia

Robert Slingsby

Paper thin batteries for smart phones

Today, smart phones are limited by and, to a degree, designed around the battery. With the latest technology currently being manufactured by Infinite Power Solutions Inc (IPS) that will replace conventional lithium-ion batteries, the cellphone industry can move toward designing the battery around the phone instead, thereby improving performance and the flexibility for innovative designs for smart phones and other devices.

With record-breaking energy storage capacity for an organic-free, all-solid-state, thin-film battery (TFB), IPS's battery is more flexible in how it can be shaped, promises more volumetric energy density and is also safer, while still being comparably priced. Using single-sided deposition, a paper-thin rechargeable cell achieves a capacity density of 1.25mAh/cm2.

IPS have also put forward a plan for manufacturing this new battery technology using roll-to-roll manufacturing and double-sided deposition in order to achieve a capacity density of 2.5mAh/cm2, which is equivalent to prismatic lithium-ion cells (but without the risk of thermal runaway) and at comparable production costs. This new solid-state battery could be manufactured in volume and when fully packaged can provide a 25 percent increase in energy density over today's lithium-ion cells.

In August 2012 IPS was granted a key battery encapsulation patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) representing an ultra-thin, flexible encapsulation with a hermetic seal for use in manufacturing long-lasting, solid-state, thin-film batteries. IPS' first battery encapsulation patent granted in 2005 was for the initial invention of a metal foil encapsulation for thin-film batteries. This second patent expands on the first, by including a vertical conducting element that eliminates the need for peripheral current collectors.

High-capacity cells can be arranged in a variety of configurations, including designing a battery around the form factor of the display of a smart phone or tablet. For example, cells can be safely stacked in a parallel configuration to form a 3.95V all-solid-state, thin-film battery pack about the size and thinness of five standard playing cards, which is three times thinner than today's lithium-ion cell-phone batteries of equivalent capacity.

Such a battery would have a capacity of approximately 1.4Ah with a maximum current of 7A and could serve a variety of common hand-held consumer devices. Due to the all-solid-state (completely dry) nature of this technology, there is no organic liquid or gel electrolyte that needs to be safely contained, unlike prismatic lithium-ion cells.

Source: PR News Wire and Energy Harvesting Journal

Litium Battery

Plants for butterflies

You can attract specific species of butterflies by learning the species prevalent in your area and grow the plants that caterpillars prefer to eat and those that adult butterflies like to feed on.

Plant a variety of plants as butterfly species have different tastes and the more varieties of plants you have, the greater the diversity of butterfly species you will attract. Staggered flowering cycles in your garden will ensure an endless stream of flutter-by activity.

These are popular and easy to obtain plants for specific locations in South Africa:

Western Cape :

  • Geranium flowers - Most of the Bronze Cacyreus butterflies feed on geraniums
  • Osyris lanceolata - foodplant for the larvae of the Common Dotted Border (Mylothris agathina)

Gauteng :

  • Kiggelaria africana - Foodplant for the Garden Acraea (Acraea horta)
  • Acacia karoo - Foodplant for many of the smaller butterflies in the area
  • Citrus sp. - Foodplant for the Citrus Swallowtail (Papilio demodocus demodocus)

KwaZulu-Natal :

  • Vepris undulata - Foodplant for the Mocker and Green-veined swallowtails (Papilio dardanus cenea and P.nireus lyaeus)
  • Ekebergia capensis - foodplant for the larvae of the white-barred Charaxes (Charaxes brutus natalensis)
  • Xylotheca kraussiana - foodplant for the larvae of the Blood-red Acraea (Acraea petraea)

For more information on attracting butterflies, view our September newsletter or for a comprehensive field guide buy Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa or Bring Butterflies Back to Your Garden.

Plants for butterflies

Tranquil pampering - Provence style

Wellington is well known for its peaceful, nature abundant holiday venues. Just 45 minutes away from Cape Town, it is the perfect getaway destination for a weekend away and the 5 Mountains Lodge and Spa is the perfect venue to get that desired R&R.

5 Mountains, a 4 star country house located on 7.5 hectares of vineyards & manicured gardens (including a koi pond) has long been a blissful sanctuary of tranquillity. In 2009 Riverside Cottage Spa moved to 5 Mountains Lodge and after refurbishing the main homestead, they opened up their own spa allowing guests to be pampered by professional staff with a broad range of treatments.

In the Spring of 2009, having been open only 6 months, they won the very prestigious accolade of Health Spas "Small Spa of the Year 2009". In the same month they won a silver award in the Wellington garden of the year and their Chenin Blanc, made from vines on the premises, came second in the Sunday Times top ten best value whites.

The spa and the Spa Garden (a discreet balinese themed sanctuary of calm where guests receive treatment under canopies or relax on sun beds under wysteria or shady gazebos), provide guests with that feeling of intimacy, exclusivity and a peaceful retreat. There is no better way to unwind from the pace of city and working life and to gain a sense of peace and restoration.

They have 4 stand alone garden cottages that are light and airy and have a 'Provence' style elegance. Each cottage has its own private veranda with stunning views over the vineyards to the mountains. All cottages are ensuite and are fully equipped with a mini bar, tea / coffee making facilities, air-conditioning and heating.

Their luxury master suite consists of a bedroom with king size bed and a separate lounge with DSTV. The large bathroom has a roll top Victorian style bath, shower and double basins. Outside is a private courtyard garden with table and chairs.

For more information visit the 5 Mountains Lodge & Spa website.

5 Mountains Spa

Hot News

Happy 21st Birthday!

One of our long time standing partners Master Decks has just celebrated their 21st birthday.

Well done Sam and the Master Deck team and congratulations on providing excellent service every time!

New preferred partners added

We are proud to announce 2 new implementation contractors have been added to our preferred partners list - Alan Dawson Gardens and The Garden Trellis Company.

Both companies have proven themselves in the quality of their work and their service levels.

Featured Plant

Freylinia Longiflora

Freylinia Longiflora
(Bell Bush)

Family :


Description :

Indigenous sub shrub to 1.5 m with white trumpet flowers.

Flowering time :


Conditions :

  • Sun / semi shade
  • Little water
  • Evergreen
  • Wind resistance
  • Some frost resistance
  • Acid soil

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

Wine of the month

Wine of the month

Chardonnay 2011

Winery : Seven Springs
Winemaker : Riana van der Merwe

Description :

The second vintage for this wonderful oaked Chardonnay from Hemel en Aarde Valley.

Aroma : Fresh and fragrant with a delicate balance between crisp citrus, tropical fruits and subtle toasted oak.

Palate : An elegance highlighted by the crisp minerality stemming from the terroir of the region and cooling influences of the nearby Atlantic Ocean.

Winemaking : Fermented and aged in 2nd and 3rd fill barrels making use of wild and commercial yeast then left on lees for 11 months to aid in development of creamy palate.

Food Pairing : Salmon fish cakes or simply poached, pasta in a creamy sauce, caesar salad or chicken salads that include peach, mango or macadamia nuts, mild curries with buttery sauces.

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
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Mielies
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Squash
  • Sweetcorn
  • Swisschard
  • Tomatoes
  • 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

    September's Teaser Answer :
    "Foot in mouth"


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    Contact Cheral:

    Cell: 082 82 509 82