Urban Foxglove Garden Design and Essentially Obs Co-op have teamed up to bring you a combination of specialty indoor and edible plants and a new space to showcase the behind the scenes of the already existing creative and multi-skilled Obs community.
By Claire Erasmus
Claire Erasmus, 35, “born and bred in the southern burbs of Cape Town” is one half of Urban Foxglove Garden Design.
‘I have always been interested in gardening from a young age, my father was and still is always in the garden so my love of plants and the natural world, was just a given and made the most sense for me as a person.
I live in Observatory with my boyfriend of 11 years and two cats Frankie and Onyx (they are siblings).
Fiona and I started Urban Foxglove five years ago after we both left the hospitality industry. A friend asked us to green up the courtyard of her hairdressing salon, and the rest was history. Capetonians love the outdoor lifestyle and it brings us so much joy bringing nature into their city gardens/courtyards.
We later branched out from soft landscaping when we were asked to ‘green up’ one of the stages at Rocking the Daisies festival and since then have included weddings and other events on to our list of services. It made perfect sense coming from a hospitality background, because we really understand the pressures, they are quite similar industries.
The lockdown was tough. The financial support from the government for small business was impossible to get. But luckily we had some savings. We weren’t going to give up that easily !
Essentially Obs came about when Werner Steyn from Hot Property offered the space to people interested to use as either a plant shop or coop shop.
Fiona and I decided it was too risky going into it on our own, especially during these uncertain times and Werner then introduced us to the other half of the shop, Danielle and Carmen Life. We then decided to join forces and make the shop a co-op. Foxglove does the plants side of the shop as well as plant/botanical related products/art.
We have also started doing weekly organic veg boxes along with our Deli products and veg/herb seedlings. This has been very successful and popular amongst our clients.
The response from the Obs community has been really positive and gives people a sense of hope and happiness when they step inside. There is something really special about the building itself and of course it has quite the history of being a reputable party place back in the day.. So lots of good vibes and memories for a lot people.
The amount of talented friends and neighbours from the community that are vendors in our shop, is really something to behold. All the goods that we sell in the shop are curated by us and has come together so perfectly from all the creative folks we know. The lockdown has forced a lot of people to hone in on their other skills and talents and crafts.
When life eventually goes “back to normal” we would like to continue with Essentially Obs for the long run.. It will hopefully by then run itself and we can continue gardening at the same time.
Lockdown Life: Five Favourites
Quality time with my man and my furry babies.
Regular exercise and me time (meditation and yoga) .
Leasure time: playing badminton, reading a book in the sunshine, learning new culinary skills and of course GARDENING
When we were permitted to exercise in mornings, we went all along the Liesbeek urban park to Rondebosch Common and back. And as I mentioned before we are lucky enough to have a fairly large back garden (especially for Obs) where we spent most of our time. And we were blessed with such great weather too!
When coffee sales were permitted, St James on Station Road makes a killer coffee!
Typical Lockdown Day
I appreciated the small things at home. Having the time to actually get all the things done I’ve been putting on hold for so long as life got so busy before all this!
Planning for Spring, planting, prepping beds, pruning some trees to let more light in. And doing it together with my boyfriend. That makes me Happy.’
Essentially Obs, 42 Trill Road Obs, Cape Town
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