During the period January to March 2020, Anji worked as an intern at Babylonstoren in South Africa, alongside the farms gardeners; planting, harvesting, pruning and mulching.
Set at the foot of the Simonsberg mountain range, in the Franschhoek wine valley, Babylonstoren is one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms in the Cape Winelands. It has a fruit and vegetable garden of beauty and diversity, unique accommodation, fine food and wine, and evokes a sense of wellbeing.
In 2007, French architect Patrice Taravella was commissioned to design the layout of the garden. Set within 3,5 hectares (8 acres) of cultivated fruit and vegetables, the big garden at Babylonstoren is at the heart of the farm.
It was inspired by the historic Company's Garden in Cape Town, which supplied sailing ships of the Dutch East India Company with fresh vegetables and fruit during the days when the Cape was a halfway station between Europe and Asia. But we also link back to the mythological hanging gardens of Babylon, created by Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century BC, for his wife, who longed for her youth's mountains and valleys.
The garden comprises 15 clusters spanning vegetable areas, stone and pome fruits, nuts, citrus, berries, bees, herbs, ducks and chickens, a prickly pear maze, and more.
Gravity feeds water from a stream by rills into the garden, flowing through ponds planted with edible lotus, nymphaea lilies, and waterblommetjies.
Every one of the more than 300 varieties of plants in the garden is edible or has medicinal value. They are also grown as organically as possible and in a biologically sustainable manner. The fruit and vegetables from the garden are harvested all year round for use in two farm-to-fork restaurants.
Along the garden's edge, a natural stream flows from the Simonsberg Mountain to the Berg River, creating a space for indigenous wild olives to flourish. In their shade, a collection of some 7000 clivia lilies explode in a spectacular display every spring.