Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa is located on one of the most beautiful pieces of land on the Garden Route. Sitting atop the Eastern Head of the famed Knysna Heads, the hotel and resort boasts jaw dropping views, vistas for days and a vision for their vast gardens that will see this piece of land only become more beautiful.
One of the first things you’ll notice when visiting Pezula, is the stunning gardens surrounding the property. These gardens are the pride and joy of Pezula, and there are big plans in the pipeline for the gorgeous gardens.
Pezula is also home to nurseries that are specially curated and cared for by horticulturist, Bruce Wessels.
We recently caught up with Bruce to ask him about his vision and plans for Pezula’s beautiful gardens and nurseries.
1. What is the vision for the nursery(s) at Pezula Hotel?
My vision for the nursery is to create a space where we can minimise the outsourcing of plants that are easy to grow. There is a science and art behind the propagation of plants, and one that is a passion. My vision would be to have visitors see the process behind the scenes and what it takes to grow plants. Our visitors can then buy our plants and remember their time here, when they plant them in their gardens.
2. Why do you think it’s important to cultivate a nursery at Pezula Hotel?
It’s important because there aren’t many nurseries with a big selection of plants. Most species grown by other nurseries are mundane and available from other nurseries. If we can grow less used species in the trade, we can set ourselves apart and become known for our excellent quality and diversity.
3. How will the hotel and its guests benefit from a nursery at the hotel?
Our guests will definitely benefit because it would mean that they can purchase plants on-site from us. They can purchase a large selection of plants and be able to enjoy them in their own gardens.
4. What is your vision – or what would you like to do – with Pezula’s vast gardens?
My vision is to create gardens that mimic the surrounding areas in the greater Knysna area. A “collections garden” if you can call it that. At present there isn’t much diversity in the gardens, and with all the microclimates in and around the gardens we can grow many plant species found in the area. With the use of permaculture techniques and principles, we can create gardens that aren’t just aesthetically pleasing, but resourceful to our guests and the animal species which we share the space with.
5. How long have you been a horticulturist?
Nearly 8 years now.
6. What attracted you to this profession?
I have always had a love for the outdoors and nature. I am forever grateful to Annelise le Roux and Lita Cole for sharing their love of the Namaqualand plants and their uses. It is these two ladies who put me on the path that I am on today. I also think that it is one of the most important professions (if not THE most important!) to fight the anthropogenic problems we have caused by our greed and disconnection from nature.
7. What, in your opinion, is the most important thing to take into consideration when starting/cultivating a garden or nursery, big or small?
Soil. It all starts with soil. Then one must look at the specific needs of the plants that you will be cultivating. Many plants have specific niches which they fill in nature. One must try and re-create these niches in order for your plants to flourish. We are always removing plant material from our gardens, which is then taken away to a dump where companies take the plant material and compost that, only to sell it back to and for us only to put it back into the gardens. One must remember that plants form the basis of the food chain. We need to leave the leaves and sticks in our gardens so nature can break it down and continue the processes that have been cycling the nutrients since plants have existed.
8. What measures have you/do you want to put in place in order to make sure that the cultivation of Pezula’s nursery and gardens is as environmentally friendly as possible?
The easiest way is to create a closed system. This means that nothing leaves our gardens and whatever gets taken out, get put back into the system.
All food scraps from the hotel be used in worm farms to break it down and create superior compost and teas that increase micro-organisms that only benefit soil composition and thereby creating a more favourable condition for plants to grow. I would also like to have permaculture techniques and principles introduced, and only natural and organic products to be used in our gardens and nursery so we don’t damage the fragile environment that we find ourselves in. Creating abundance for all that use our gardens.