At Domaine Sérénité, we have planted more than 850 trees and shrubs, and another 130 clumpers of bamboos. Originally, the land was bare consisting of only a couple of shrubs and dry grassland. Gusts of wind were sweeping through the veld and we were wondering how we would be able to settle here! But sheer determination prevailed: we established the farm with a few buildings, and decided to create our own ecosystem. This would not have been possible without trees.
Why are trees important on our farm?
Trees help our planet breathing. Through photosynthesis – that requires light, water, carbon dioxide and minerals, trees and plants produce oxygen and organic compounds. Trees not only provide the oxygen we need to breathe, but they also store the carbon dioxide (‘carbon sequestration’) in the soil, rather than in the atmosphere where this greenhouse gas contribute to global warming. Thus trees help mitigating the effect of climate change.
On our farm, the trees also act as windbreaks. Their roots reduce our soil erosion, so that water is better retained. Together with the nutrient-rich organic compounds that trees produce we increase the fertility of our soil. The moisture that trees release then goes back into the atmosphere.
A third of our trees are fruit trees. We started from bare root plants, and eventually grew our own trees from the seeds of the fruit we harvested the previous year! (and similarly for our vegetables). We now have a diverse crop of vegetables and fruit to feed us and we are look forward to our first almonds next year.
Along the years we have observed the beneficial effects of our many trees, shrubs and plants in our local environment. We have an increasing number and diversity of pollinators, from bees to birds including malachite sunbirds. One newcomer this year is the long-tailed widowbird that roams freely in our gardens.
Our overarching goal is to plant 1,000 trees! Nearly there!
What we have achieved so far required a lot of work. But like everybody else we started small, one tree at a time, and you can do the same!
Watch a short video ‘2013 – 2019’ reflecting what we have achieved in the past 5 years here.