Working within an environmentally sensitive and protected natural area has proved to be an intensive project for Idube Landscaping, which was contracted to design and install the landscaping for the grounds of the new Cape Morgan Conference Centre at Kei Mouth in the Eastern Cape. The conference centre is set within the Cape Morgan Nature Reserve and is an initiative of the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency Department. The Cape Morgan Nature Reserve is part of the larger East London Coast Nature Reserve group, which is some 3,424ha in extent and consists of ten coastal reserves and two inland State Forests.
“All planting had to be approved by the conservation authorities and everything that we planted had to be endemic to the coastal forest margins and surrounding thicket and grassland areas,” says Idube’s Anthony Nel. “I first had to do extensive research on the plants of the area, within a relatively small 20km² radius and then submit a list for approval.”
The biggest challenge was selecting plants that were available from nurseries. Once the list of plants was given the thumbs up, Anthony had to search to source the plants from nurseries in the area. At the time of ordering the plant material some plants could not be sourced, so alternatives had to be used.
“I was also given permission to harvest grasses and bulbs from the coastal forest margins within the Cape Morgan reserve,” he says. Some plants were harvested elsewhere.
Part of the installation included the planting of the grass-block road around the new facility with Cynodon dactylon sprigs and Buffalo instant lawn on other remaining areas.
The newly completed project includes the creation of a 300m² rooftop garden and 150m of rustic-looking tana-pole screen fencing to block off a view of adjacent buildings.