This year my Forest Bride come forth and bloomed in all her fragrant glory. I have been waiting patiently and diligently carried buckets of water to keep it watered in the Summer’s heat. As it naturally grows in Summer rainfall area, I knew that if I wanted it to bloom abundantly, I had to keep it well watered, since here in the Cape it is the driest time of the year. [Read more…]
Calodendrum literally means a beautiful tree – kalos means beautiful, and dendron tree in Greek. I am reminded of the famous discourse between Diotima, a seeress and midwife from Mantinea in the Peloponessus, and Socrates; tes genneseos kai tou tokou en to kalo – Eros (love) is an easthetic desire, the passion for engendering and expressing the Beautiful. Perhaps one can say that the Cape Chestnut was created to remind us [Read more…]
Ambergris is the stuff that a perfumers dreams are made of. I have been getting all kind of odd pieces to evaluate as ambergris but up till now none have been ambergris, just sea sponges, soap and odd pieces of petroleum by-product.
Of course I knew that Africa has been trading in ambergris since ancient times but I have never came across any from Africa. [Read more…]
Every reader of my posts knows how much I love botanical wonders of my environment. Here’s a great short documentary on South Africa’s aromatic and medicinal plants. Now you can see why I am so inspired and feel incredibly blessed to live here. [Read more…]
Autumn has finally arrived in the Southern Hemisphere. It has been a long hot Summer at the Southern point of Africa. Although we have been wilting in the heat, the fragrance of the flowers have been the best I have smelled in years. I have been busy this Summer extracting the scents through enfleurage. I have been using enfleurage for five years now, but this Summer, I had a goal of recharging 30 times and I did! [Read more…]
I remember with clarity when I fell in love with spices. During our winter holidays my family often took a trip up to Durban by train. It was like stepping into another world arriving from the cold wet Cape winter into the tropical heat of Durban. The scents were the first thing I noticed, the very air smelled exotic, but for me the most memorable event of the trip was going to the Indian market. It was like entering a page of the Arabian Nights [Read more…]
Every reference on Sugarbush Protea will mention that once a syrup was made from the nectar of the flower. During the early years of the Cape Colony when sugar was very expensive and provisions were in short supply the Khoi-Khoi introduced them to the “honey” of the sugarbush. The use of bossiestroop reached its height during the 1800’s., however, by 1900 the art of making bossiesstroop was virtually lost. How was it actually made?
One of my favourite stir fries is a delicious spicy creamy “Chicken, Beetroot and Mushroom stir fry”. I have been promising fans of Arabian Spice to share the recipe. It not only tastes great, and is quick to make, but also looks great with its wonderful colour, filled with anti-oxidants. [Read more…]
There are some plants that make an indelible impression on you. Kukumakrankas are one of them, and not only because of its unique folk name, which comes from the Koina language, an extinct Khoi tongue. In the Cape Kukumakrankas have an almost fabled reputation, partly because its rarerity, its mysterious growing faces and of course the highly perfumed flowers and fruits. [Read more…]
Once upon a spring time, a long time ago, I saw the striking sight of the tall blue spikes of Aristea capitata (a member of the Iris family) and the pink purple blooms of Pelargonium cucullatum set the verdant mountain slopes ablaze in colour. Ever since then green,purple and blue became my favourite colour combination. They are now bringing me happiness in my garden. Pelargonium cucullatum (Tree pelargonium) is the parent of many modern pelargonium hybrids, and grows on the sandy and granite slopes along the Cape coast from Saldanha to Baardskeerdersbos. [Read more…]
I grew up in the heart of the fynbos area and was lucky as child to be able to spend a lot of time exploring the mountains of Paarl. I must admit though, having grown up with the fynbos, I took their beauty for granted. What’s more in those days, Protea was considered to be a kitsch flower – only for tourists. I never even thought of smelling them, since there were just so many other obviously fragrant flowers and plants to explore. [Read more…]
Dabney Rose’s post about the potent scent of her Moonflowers on Facebook, jolted back to my mind my youthful memories of Moonflowers. My mother was wise in teaching me early which plants were edible and which ones were poisonous. When she introduced me to Moonflowers, I was enthralled. That it was also poisonous only added to its mystery to me. To me it was like a femme fatale; mysterious and seductive, with the deadly [Read more…]