Friday, September 29, 2017

Hebron Community Projects

Upon moving from Cape Town to Citrusdal, South Africa, Neil and Olivia Hall were excited about the prospects of having the opportunity to live and work in the countryside. Although this small town is blessed with picturesque mountains and a vibrant community, the effects of alcoholism, child abuse, HIV Aids, underage pregnancy, poverty and more were evident and right on everyone’s door step! As the years went by, the Hall’s realized the problems and challenges that the community faced, particularly the youth, were only getting worse. This resulted in the birth of Hebron Community Projects (HCP) in 2008, a registered non-profit organization that aims to be a catalyst for positive change in Citrusdal and communities alike. HCP has a particular focus on youth by providing programs and facilities that will allow for qualified personnel to counsel, teach, train, and provide a safe haven for youth at risk.

Since establishing Philadelphia Farming, Neil and Olivia have been looking for ways to give back to the community of Citrusdal. With its close ties to HCP, Philadelphia Farming began assisting in several ways. A portion of land, 2.5 hectares, was donated to HCP to build a community center and sport facilities. This provided HCP with the facilities it needed for its community based programs. In addition, Philadelphia farming started an initiative donating a percentage of the sales price of each stem it produces to HCP – Called the Carton Initiative. HCP as an organization was fortunate enough to receive funding and incredible support from a Seattle based church, Sammammish Presbyterian Church. This allowed for further building of infrastructure as well as covering a significant portion of the program costs and running fees.

Today, Philadelphia Farming, and Hebron Community Projects are growing together to provide solutions to the problems the community of Citrusdal faces on a daily basis. Neil and Olivia are committed to and passionate about setting up initiatives that will ensure sustainability, further developing the farm and HCP as a combined force for change in the community. Philadelphia Farming wholeheartedly supports the vision of HCP, and partnering with this organization is just one small way that the farm looks to give back to a very special community.

For more information on Hebron Community Projects, please go to

Sunday, September 24, 2017

In the Field: Banksia Menziesii

Menziesii is also referred to as Menzies' banksia, firewood banksia, port wine banksia or 'Raspberry Frost' – all very suitable nicknames for this fabulous flower.

Menziesii blooms in the fall when the reddish flowers begin to open from the base. Gradually taking their time, sometimes taking weeks, row after row of flowers open until the flowering reaches the top of the cone, looking like splendid candles on a Christmas tree.

This banksia’s essence certainly seems to parallel with The Language of Flowers and the symbol of Protea – Courage and Diversity! Menziesii, not only is a beautiful flower, but strong and powerful one as well. And when it comes to diversity… it looks fabulous mixed with other flowers and foliage.

International Protea Association Conference

The 2017 International Protea Association (IPA) Grower’s Day was held on September 4th, in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Farmers, propagators, breeders, educators, researchers and marketers gathered in an open forum of communication and friendship to promote and expand the protea industry.

The event drew nearly 100 attendees from 10 countries. Grower’s Day topics included: Strategic Intelligence – thinking the future, Effect of domestic economic trend of SA flower market, Importance of temperature management in the cut flower value, Providing assurance in the wild fynbos sector and Will fynbos change with climate change?

In addition, Area Reports from South Africa, USA, Canary Islands, Azores, Australia, Chile, Israel, New Zealand and Portugal were presented covering each country’s current status of Proteaceae production and future outlooks. The reports were also submitted to the International Society for Horticulture Science (ISHS) and will become part of the conference proceedings published in ACTA Horticulturae.

Not only was the Grower’s Day program interesting and informative, but the flowers that complimented and adorned the conference area were inspiring and gorgeous!

The next IPA conference will be held in September 2019 or 2020 in the Canary Islands, with the exact dates and venue to be announced.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

IPA 2017 Pre-Conference Tour

South Africa’s Western Cape is one of the country’s most beautiful provinces, attracting a lion’s share of tourists. It is a region of majestic mountains, long beaches and colorful patchworks of farmland set in lovely valleys. With a total area of 129,462 square kilometres, the Western Cape is roughly the size of Greece.

The Mediterranean climate of the peninsula and the mountainous region beyond it is ideal for flower farming and there are a number of family farms producing an excellent range of flowers. However, if you’re passionate about Protea there’s no other place on Earth like the Cape Floristic Region – The Home of Proteaceae! That’s exactly why we made it a point to attend this year’s International Protea Association (IPA) Conference in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

The IPA Pre-Conference Tour took place on September 1st & 2nd and featured four fabulous flower farms: Arnelia Farms, Pomona Farm, Philadelphia Farm and Jansekraal.

Our first stop on the morning of the 1st (and the first day of spring in Africa) was Arnelia Farms near Hopefield.

Then, that afternoon we ventured out to Pomona Farm near Piketberg.

On day two, we headed out to Philadelphia Farm near Citrusdal in the West Coast area.

Our last stop, Jansekraal also on the west coast near Citrusdal.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

What is Fynbos?

Fynbos - pronounced fain-boss - is the vegetation that is found growing naturally on the the mountains and coastal plains of south-western tip of South Africa. It is unique to this area. The name comes from the Dutch fijn and bosch meaning fine bush referring to the very small leaves and flowers of many of the species. Fynbos makes up 80% of the Cape Floristic Region (often called the Cape Floral Kingdom).

Fynbos is characterized by the presence of four main plant groups: Restios, proteas, heaths and geophytes, as well as seven plant families that only occur in fynbos.



Silver Tree

Leucadendron and Mimetes



What's so special about fynbos?

Fynbos is amazingly diverse and exceptionally rich in species, and it occupies a relatively tiny area of land. Over 7,000 species occur in 41,000 km, and 80% of them occur nowhere else on Earth.

The Cape Peninsula alone has 2,600 species - that's more than the total number of species in the British Isles - crammed into an area smaller than London.

Compare species diversity with other heathland communities in Australia and the California, and with the rest of South Africa:

  • Cape Floristic region - 94 species per 1,000 km
  • Australia - 14 species per 1,000 km
  • California - 12 species per 1,000 km
  • The rest of S. Africa - 8 species per 1,000 km

When you walk through fynbos you can discover a new species with every step.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Cape Floral Kingdom

The Cape Floral Kingdom is the smallest of all floral kingdoms and is the only one to fall completely inside the borders of a single country.

It occupies about 90,000 square kilometers - that's only 0.04% of the total surface area of the Earth - yet it contains 9000 species of flowering plants - that's about 3% of the Earth's species.

Furthermore, two out of three of the Cape Floral Kingdom species are endemic, that means they occur nowhere else on earth. The highest level of endemism in the world.

What is a Floral Kingdom?

Floral Kingdoms are the largest natural units that can be determined for flowering plants. Regions that share the same combination of plant families form part of the same Floral Kingdom.

There are six Floral Kingdoms in the world: Australian, Antarctic, Cape, Holarctic, Neotropical and Palaeotropical.

The Cape Floral Kingdom is a World Heritage Site.