Mont Blanc Flora is a picturesque fynbos farm, located in the mountainous countryside of Riversdale in the Western Cape. The property has been in the Geldenhuys-family since the 1970’s where they originally farmed with cattle, sheep and grain. When the next generation took over, they opted for a more sustainable approach to their land and business by converting their focus to flowers, which they have now been farming for over 20 years.
The Mont Blanc Fynbos Farm was severely affected by the 2018 fires that swept through the region. One of the impacts was the widespread, rampant growth of invasive alien plants (IAP), specifically Wattle from neighbouring areas. When left unchecked, IAP spread and dominate the landscape; posing a threat to water supply, increased fire risk, and the loss of biodiversity and livelihoods.
The Geldenhuys’ have always taken a proactive approach to manage and remove invasive plants, but in 2019, due to the overwhelming scale of the problem, they reached out to the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR) for assistance.
Since then, the GCBR team and the owners of Mont Blanc Flora have developed a meaningful, mutually beneficial relationship. It began with clearing invasives and evolved into Mont Blanc Flora running a small nursery to supply the GCBR’s restoration projects with indigenous plants which are used to rehabilitate cleared areas.
By planting indigenous plants, Mont Blanc Nursery and the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve are not only restoring the natural flora of the area, but are also providing habitats for native wildlife. Indigenous plants are adapted to the local climate, soil, and other environmental factors, making them more resilient and better suited to the local ecosystem. This, in turn, helps to promote the growth of other native species, creating a balanced and sustainable ecosystem.
When Wedre Geldenhuys (owner of Mont Blanc Flora) decided to develop a commercial nursery, he offered the GCBR the opportunity to invest in this business. We entered into a joint venture with Mont Blanc Flora in 2022 as part of our investment strategy into nature-based enterprises and trust that their valuable knowledge of plants, hard work and business savvy will yield future profits that will fund our ecological restoration efforts.
Overall, this collaboration between Mont Blanc Nursery and the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve is an excellent example of how businesses and conservation organisations can work together to promote environmental and financial sustainability.
Watch this video to meet Wedre, see what’s growing in the nursery and learn about this enterprises’ future plans.