On any given day you can find the inspiring Naomi van Schalkwyk head-down digging and planting in the renowned Tuin-op-die-Brak botanical garden in Stilbaai. Her work ethic and enthusiasm has ignited a new wave of interest and appreciation for the indigenous flora of Hessequa, which she explains below:
The Hessequa area falls within the larger Cape Floristic Region, one of the plant kingdoms on earth. The CFR is the smallest and most diverse of all the kingdoms, and the only one occurring on one continent only. The CFR is best known for the Fynbos, a specific type of vegetation that prefers soil with low nutritional value. There are different types of Fynbos, and in Hessequa we have a variation ranging from the Dune or Coastal Fynbos, to that of the Langeberg Mountain. Very important is the Canca Limestone Fynbos, which is found on alkaline soils only, in contrast to the common types that prefer acidic soils. The restriction of the soil type causes many endemic (occurring in a specific area) species to be found here, as well as a large number of threatened and endangered species. Interspersed with Fynbos we have a few patches of Renosterveld, which is gradually being utilized for farmland. Fortunately Hessequa boasts a number of reserves and parks for the protection of our flora.