It was a beautiful, exciting day for this writer, a serendipitous idea germinating just a couple of years back when, on a sauntering spring day , a stirring in the air became palpable. And then, a friend walked in, with a bunch of hand-picked wildflowers…..
The Flower Cartel
To form a Cartel, you need a few things; bravery, courage, passion, creativity, an appreciation of beauty, and, perhaps most of all, a sense of adventure. And these things, this dream has spades of. Starting as a glimmer of hope amidst a global pandemic, The Flower Cartel sprouted out of the brushes of the vision of three passionate individuals, and continued on beyond any ideas that might have individually been.
When Francois, Louise, Conrad and Anneke met, they had, apart from all being flower farmers, an instant connection. Friendship was immediately formed, and like-mindedness was obvious. Realising that a few trumps a one, they were soon sharing experiences, bouncing ideas off each other, and creating value together that clients could not get enough of.
A sombre time struck the world, as a pandemic raged through the very heart of humanity. But instead of forgetting about the seeds that had been planted, they decided to form a Cartel, and watered it every day, and many nights too, with the aid of permits and carrot cake.
Conrad & Louise
Conrad and Louise spent nearly 7 years of their 20’s overseas, travelling, working and exploring. Once they decided to make their way back home to SA, the only thing left to decide on was how to get back. In the spirit of adventure, and with a penchant for the unknown, they decided to undertake this journey in a Land Rover, from London to Cape Town. The 13-month journey included a 3-month stop at a Hacienda on McCarthy Island in the Gambia River during the treacherous rainy season. Here they set up vegetable gardens for the islanders, and the proverbial bug bit.
Once back in Cape Town, they decided to start growing vegetables on a larger scale, and serendipitously, after supplying a florist with artichoke stems, they fell in love with the wonders that can be created with vegetable flowers.
From their beautiful piece of land in Wellington, they supply the floristry trade with some slightly unconventional floral gems.
Francois’ love for gardening, flowers, growing and all things soil started when he was very young, as every Saturday was ‘Tuinwerk Dag’, or ‘Gardening Day.
The seeming monotony of these gardening chores soon made way for invaluable reflection time. It was during these times that he developed a deep appreciation for the simple beauty, yet complexity and diversity, of flowers.
Francois went on to study the sciences, in particular biochemistry at Stellenbosch University and currently holds a PhD in Biochemistry. Marrying science and beauty has always come naturally to this flower farmer, who now farms on a piece of land near Klapmuts in the Western Cape.
A few years back, Francois started making his floral dreams a reality by planting a ‘few’ bulbs at his home in a space composed of a measly 4m x 2m worth of land. When these were harvested, a friend walked in, with a bunch of wildflowers.