The name Babylonstoren immediately evokes images of abundance and hanging gardens of wondrous dimensions, brimming with glorious plants from around the world. So what could we expect when visiting this Babylonstoren, with no prior information or pictures, other than a whisper to go visit?
Babylonstoren is situated in the foothills of the Simonsberg, Franschoek and Du Toitskloof mountains in the Drakenstein valley. It lies between Franschhoek and Paarl, about 45 minutes from Cape Town. A pleasant drive for a day out.
We were astounded by the size and layout of the gardens. It’s a magical maze, with each section leading to more herbs, vegetables or fruit trees, all lush and abundant with the vegetables or fruit of the season, hanging off the trees like gemstones. Purple and yellow plums, red and green apples, and of course the yellow orbs of the lemons, hanging enticingly at your fingertips. Each time we’ve visited there’ve been other fruits or flowers of the season tempting your palate and senses, and you can hardly wait to get to the Green House in time for a light lunch.
The smell of the lavender envelopes you as you step inside to the wondrous gardens.
Some of the vegetable garden
A beautiful structure in the garden, perhaps for a climbing vegetable of sorts
We chose to sit under the oak trees alongside the Green House for some tasty morsels
Lunches are wonderful and everything on the menu is either baked in the farm’s own bakery or sourced from the Babylonstoren garden itself, including drinks like homemade lemonade with mint, or the green, red or yellow juices of the day, all made according to whatever’s in season at the time. we chose a light lunch of a ham and cheese roll with some farm salad
Followed by some delectable Scones with jam and cream
Another walk in the gardens among the fruit trees to whet our appetites. Taking a leisurely walk back through the gardens, you’ll notice something you missed on the way, in another fruit tree or new herb not seen before. Like Cinnamon Basil, with an amazing aroma of cinnamon and a special flavour too.
The vegetable garden is enormous with everything from herbs to salad leaves to edible flowers.
The Cobra is an amazing walkway filled with bright orange clivia.
After all the walking around it was now onward to the shop.. The farm shop is an amazing collection of bakery, charcuterie and an absorbing array of glass flagons, bottled drinks, table linen, plants and books – all of them unique to Babylonstoren and probably handmade to their own design and brief, no doubt. It’s impossible to leave without something you just have to have, like the Babylonstoren recipe and history book. There’s also a wine shop adjoining the store, where wine from the farm can be purchased.
And at the end of a long day in the gardens we headed to the Green House for a final something to eat beofre heading home.
We settled down to a curried lamb and waterblommetjie pot pie, washed down by a wildflower tisane and a blob of honey. A pretty decent spread, enjoyed in a shady corner of an 8-acre garden paradise.