Recently, Susan Dehosse of The Kraal at Joostenberg Wine Estate invited me to cover and participate in an exciting floral workshop event. It was a collaboration between local fynbos and protea supplier, Fabulous Fynbos, and The Kraal.
What could be lovelier than a fynbos and protea-themed workshop event during spring?
Personally, having grown up on Cape farms, both proteas and fynbos have been a huge part of my life.
It is also no secret that I am low-key obsessed with our indigenous proteas. (Everything from my home decor to my favourite bouquets are protea-themed.)
This was my first time covering an event officially (I usually do reviews for the blog but this felt different) so I was a bit nervous.
Happily though, the day turned out to be a brilliant success.
This event is one of the most enjoyable that I have covered to date. But more on that later! 🙂
Working Relationship between Fabulous Fynbos and The Kraal Restaurant
Nicky and The Kraal have collaborated previously and have a wonderful working relationship. This really shines through.
Not only do Nicky and the Myburgh family go way back but they work together on flowers, too. Especially as Joostenberg also has a fresh cut flower division. This is fronted by Anette, who took the operation over from Susan’s mother.
Joostenberg Flowers sell and supply local flowers to a variety of stores and outlets, including Joostenberg Deli and the famous Kikka in Paarl.
A Springtime Floral Affair: Fabulous Fynbos Spring Fynbos and Protea Workshop at Joostenberg Wine Estate’s The Kraal
Held over the Heritage long weekend (particularly fitting given how the King protea is our national flower and a special part of our Cape, South African heritage overall), the event took place on 25 September 2021.
For the event, guests enjoyed making a variety of different floral creations. Everything from delicate flower head (or hat) crowns to vibrant wreaths and beautiful bouquets. (All necessary materials were included in the cost.)
All of which, we got to keep and take home with us. Afterwards, we were also treated to a delicious light luncheon at The Kraal.
Also included in the event were lovely light refreshments, like excellent coffee or tea and delicate pastries with fresh strawberries.
Perhaps most importantly though, was the invaluable skills and knowledge that we gleaned from hostess, Nicky Michell.
Not only is Nicky a wonderful, warm and engaging hostess, who immediately set us all at ease – but she is an expert on all things proteas and fynbos.
It is fascinating listening to her recount the history, different families and varieties of fynbos and proteas, the growing process and commercial industry and more technical floral aspects.
Icons in the Protea Industry
Nicky is an icon in the protea industry, having grown up on a protea farm in the beautiful Banhoek Valley. Her mother, Pam Michell, was a natural greenfingers and more importantly, a legend in the protea field.
Pam’s work and passion has inspired generations of protea and fynbos lovers (including Nicky, who tenderly gushes about her mother), while also giving us the Venus protea, named after the goddess of love. (Up until recently, the Michell family actually owned the rights to this protea.)
The Venus protea, a hybrid creation born from a chance crossing of Protea aristata and Protea repens (or sugarbush/suikerbossie), now grows across South Africa and has been exported all over the world.
The Legacy Continues
Today, Nicky’s brother, Bryan, still runs the family’s protea farm, Calenick Farm, originally bought by their grandparents in 1916.
Over time, Bryan has expanded to local and international floral trading, under the company, Cape Mountain Flora. Through this enterprise, their family’s legacy remains alive and blooming.
While Nicky – who began her business, Fabulous Fynbos, some five years ago now – creates and supplies glorious floral creations for weddings, events, special occasions and local suppliers.
Fabulous Fynbos also provide long-lasting floral displays for reception areas, private homes and more.
Aside from Nicky’s intense passion for proteas and fynbos, what I love most is her down-to-earth, humble approach and how her vibrant business focuses, as far as possible, on using and sourcing only the finest, locally grown products.
It is also touching to hear her fondly speak of her mother. And to see how Pam has inspired both Fabulous Fynbos and Nicky as a whole.
The Language of Fynbos and Protea Flowers
Once our small, closeknit group – an interesting mix of inspiring female chefs and local business owners – enjoyed some light refreshments, we did some quick introductions before handing over to Nicky.
Nicky began the workshop by asking what each participant hoped to create or learn from it.
From there, she shared some fascinating insights. Speaking about everything from her family’s floral background to what precisely fynbos and proteas are.
Nicky explained about different families of fynbos and proteas. She also highlighted how the fynbos makes up to 80% of the vegetation of the Cape Floral Kingdom.
We also discussed how different fynbos species.
It was really interesting listening not only to Nicky’s excellent insights and endless knowledge, which she generously shares with her guests but also to the valid questions that arose from our talks.
As much as Nicky runs these workshops, she allows her guests to actively participate. Everyone gets to share their own thoughts, prompting new group discussions.
For me, this is what makes a workshop great: engagement – and Nicky’s floral workshops have bucketfuls of that.
Tips, Tricks and Floral Inspiration from Nicky Michell
After that, Nicky started showing us how to form and create a variety of different floral creations.
Touching on everything from intricate wreaths to flower crowns and effortless bouquets, it was hugely educational and inspiring.
The simple tricks and tips she shared made the process easier for the participants later on, when everyone got busy with their own floral pieces.
We learnt everything from the correct way to deleaf and trim a bouquet to how to make a frame for a wreath, use florist wire and even how to delicately tie a bow.
From this, each guest drew inspiration and once the workshop educational side of things was out the way, it was time to get our pruning shears/secateurs ready and get creating.
This was perhaps one of the highlights of the workshop for me as a spectactor/photographer.
As I wove around The Kraal, snapping photos of the lunch prep and beautiful table settings, the others were elbow-deep in fragnant fynbos, penny gum branches and beautiful proteas, weaving and threading and neatly pulling magical creations together.
Creating Floral Magic with Fabulous Fynbos
Some of us opted for detailed wreaths, while others focused on eye-catching bouquets and intricate hat creations.
Either way, the creativity and unique taste of each guest is what really impressed upon myself and Nicky, as we watched from the sidelines at times.
Where needed, Nicky helped and guided, offering individual tips and insights for each guest’s items.
Just before lunch was served, I was finally persuaded to put my camera aside for a moment and try my hand at a floral bouquet too.
I love flowers and flower arrangements. But, after this, I can safely say that there is so much time, effort and thought that goes into even one simple bouquet.
Flower arrangements and displays really are an art that require the finest balance of time, creativity and fresh florals to make a special piece.
I was proud of my quick, somewhat mediocre bouquet attempt. But I won’t quit my writing job any time soon. 🙂 Still, it was great fun overall.
It was also a joy to see how we connected and conversed over the beauty of fynbos and flowers.
Connecting after COVID
Even though every COVID-19 protocol was in place (including temperature check-ins and sign-ins upon arrival) at The Kraal – this is the first time in a long while that I have felt so relaxed and calm in a ‘public’ space.
Perhaps it is down to The Kraal’s airy, well-ventilated, yet covered porch lends itself to easy social distancing, sunshine and fresh air. Or the way our small, intimate group felt less risky.
But somehow, this is the safest I have felt anywhere since COVID began.
If your health and safety are a concern, rest assured knowing that these workshops – and indeed, The Kraal in general – take the greatest care to safeguard everyone from their excellent waitresses to the participants.
Over lunch, under the shelter of the porch, we discussed the strangeness of the past two years.
General consensus was how good it was to bond with people over a shared interest or passion. In person out in the fresh air, not locked away in our offices or houses in virtual meetings.
If anything, this is another reason why these safe, yet invigorating workshop events are so impactful. Especially as COVID continues to linger.
Lunch at The Kraal
On the day, we also got to savour more of The Kraal’s exquisite food.
Having visited shortly after their opening, I already knew what lunch at The Kraal entailed. And I was practically excited about the food from the moment I arrived.
Even just the coffee and pastries enjoyed as light refreshments were sublime.
What I adore most about The Kraal’s food and drink offering is their thoughtful attention to detail.
Everything from the crockery to the plating and neat menus are a work of art. Fresh flowers and delicate crockery round off every lunch table.
While the table placing, set out in the garden or underneath the porch, evokes a soothing, laid-back vibe. Especially nestled amid the shelter of the old kraal, where flowers and grass now form a secluded restaurant oasis.
With their usual weekend lunches underway and our own workshop luncheon, The Kraal team was kept busy with prepping and serving. As usual, they made it look effortless.
I am always blown away by the consummate professionalism, efficiency and warm attentiveness enjoyed at The Kraal.
Lunch is Served
Flower arranging is hungry work. So I don’t think any of us needed much persuading to glide across to our shared lunch table.
Here is the full menu from our light lunch:
- Cheese straws and slow fermented sourdough bread with nasturtium butter (9/10)
- Zandam buffalo mozzarella, black olive tapenade and crudites (8/10)
- Spring season Kraal mezze with home cured coppa, slow roasted tomatoes, soft boiled eggs and artichokes (9/10)
- Creamy mushroom and wild leeks on potato rosti (10/10)
- Kraal leafy salad (7/10)
- Peppermint pelargonium ice cream with buchu meringue and chocolate nut shard (8.5/10)
Overall, our lunch and refreshments were divine and left everyone raving about how good the food was.
We also enjoyed some excellent organic Joostenberg wines with our meal – the perfect accompaniment.
After lunch, it was time to finish our floral creations and take one last group photo. 🙂
Upcoming Workshop Event
The next workshop between Fabulous Fynbos and The Kraal will be a special festive edition.
With a lovely Christmas-theme, this event will take place on 27 November 2021, from 09:00 am.
Pricing will be R900 per participant.
For more information, please contact Fabulous Fynbos or The Kraal directly.
Special Thanks to The Kraal and Fabulous Fynbos
As I was hosted for this experience and able to partipate, while photographing the event, I would like to extend my warmest thanks to Susan, Nicky and Roxy for inviting me to be part of this special workshop event.
I also wish to thank The Kraal team, who were pleasant and excellent as ever, and the workshop participants who were hugely understanding of the fact that I was photographing and covering the event.
It was a privilege to cover this event for The Kraal and Fabulous Fynbos and to meet all those who participated on the day. We were blessed with such a lovely, fun group and that really made the workshop all the more special.
In terms of event organisation, participation/engagement, provided materials and of course, food and drink, this collaborative workshop between Fabulous Fynbos and The Kraal Restaurant feels faultless to me.
Everyone had a wonderful time and walked away with the most beautiful floral creations, as hopefully the photos show. 🙂
For more information on Nicky’s flower arrangements, displays, business and upcoming events and the full Fabulous Fynbos offerings, please contact: +27 (082) 783 8921. Or email them at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on The Kraal at Joostenberg Wine Estate and its lunches, please contact: +27 (079) 641 1320 or email them at: email@example.com.
You can also visit the Joostenberg Wine Estate website.
Find The Kraal for yourself at: Joostenberg Wine Estate, Hoopenberg Road, Muldersvlei, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Author: Tamlyn Ryan
Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.
Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.