Vaalnest Shows Progress on Trees that were planted on Mandela Day

Posted by Vaalnest on Wed December 23, 2015 in Responsible Tourism & Environmental News.

On Mandela Day, we spent one hour planting what today seems like a never-ending job of growing the most beautiful trees known to man. Vaalnest staff participated in this project in aid to give back to its community, our core business represents Responsible Tourism thus it was only fitting we plant over 10 trees which will later be planted in various parts of the community.

This is an overview of the trees planted…

“the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now”  - African Proverb

This is an African proverb that I only came to understand now with this project that the Vaalnest Staff had participated in. We planted trees on Mandela Day and today its December 23rd and the trees only look like seedlings that were planted two weeks ago. I cannot explain the excitement in me regarding this initiative, additionally all this came together perfectly with a long journey of hardship regarding this year sudden drought. The journey continues as we watch the trees grow into homes and nests to vast population of birds in the Vaal. This what planting and nurturing a tree is all about. Let me then give you a brief description of the two types of trees we planted…

Cape Ash Tree (Ekerbergia Capensis)

This indigenous, evergreen tree can grow up to 15m tall in gardens, but usually 8 to 10m tall; individual trees vary considerably from one area to another with evergreen and semi-deciduous trees occurring together quite often. Spreading crown can be up to 8m wide with attractive green leaves and the season’s new growth is bright red with small modest flowers appearing during summer time. Cape Ash are aromatic, but not in amounts that should earn this tree a place in a fragrant garden, also to note is ornamental berry-like fruit which form and ripen in autumn and as they ripen they take on an attractive red colour. These are sought after by birds like red-winged starlings

Basic Tree information:

  • Plant in full sun to semi-shade and offer a regular water supply.
  • Purpose: Landscaping to Attract Birds, Landscaping to Attract Butterflies, Colour in the Garden, Evergreen Plants, Plants with Berries

Wild Olive Tree (Olea European)

The Wild Olive is found not only throughout Africa, but also in Arabia, India and China. It is found in diverse habitats from woodlands to rocky hilltops. The sweetly scented flowers are creamy-white and appear from Spring through to Summer. These are followed by the small fruit which have a deep purple-black like colour when ripe. Interestingly it is mainly the smallness of the flower and fruit that separates this tree from the cultivated olive of commerce.

Basic Tree Information:

  • Mainly grows on calciferous soils, because they act as indicators for this subsoil type.
  • Purpose: It is used to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, combat viral, fungal and bacterial infections and improve circulation and brain function. The leaves are used - either dried or made into a tincture. With its neat form and hardy habit, the Wild Olive is a popular bonsai and landscape tree.


Written by: Steyn Maduna – Trainee Chef at Vaalnest Boutique Hotel


blog comments powered by Disqus