dreamcatcher logo

La Bloemen Botanical Garden

We invited residents from the wider Stilbaai area to reestablish indigenous species alongside the local community


In 2008 Dreamcatcher took over lease of the old rectory of the original St Augustine’s church. The building was completely abandoned and the surrounding grounds were neglected. Part of the land had evolved into an illegal dumpsite where waste from the wider Stilbaai area was dumped including medical waste and asbestos. Much of the land was overgrown by invasive species, predominantly Acacia cyclops which had been imported to stabilise the nearby sand dunes in the Stilbaai resort area. The invader decimated the natural habitat of Melkhoutfontein environs, located on the Garden Route.

The La Bloemen project sought to correct this by remediating the land and bringing nature back for the community and visitors to enjoy and so enhance their quality of life. The space would also be used as an educational resource for the Dreamcatcher Kids, and facilitate skills transfer and job creation –and also food growing.


Initial focus was clearing the invasive species and waste, and then work started on the garden. The project was officially launched by the then Dreamcatcher Ambassador, Karin Bloemen and the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Honorary Ambassador Marisa Gerards in March 2016.

Within 2 years over 211 species of fynbos were identified by a knowledgeable local Kamamma well versed in indigenous plant species, including medicinal plants. The census was assisted by volunteer Chris. Nature returned with abundance of mammals, insects, reptiles and birds, of which some rare.  

Many visitors experienced the peace and beauty of the garden and were afforded the chance to join the Kamammas, the Dreamcatcher Kids, and other local residents to help plant. As part of our environmental stewardship commitment, the Dreamcatcher Kids also made mosaics from the waste porcelain and glass recovered for display in the garden. Food grown in the garden was used by Cook up Kamammas, and distributed to the community. The garden, once a wasteland, transformed into what our founder called a ‘graced land’ and was incorporated into the UN declared Greater Gouritz Biosphere Reserve. Explore how the gallery below sharing the story of the garden.

In 2022 we were informed by St Augustine’s church that our lease of the home office and La Bloemen garden would not be renewed. On 31st December 2022, after 15 years of dedication and investment in people and the environment, we moved into a temporary home and are currently developing a permanent sustainability centre to emulate this project and to share our model of sustainable, socio-economic and environmental development. 

We proud to have tangibly transformed a blight on the environment and public health into a community resource – which has been globally recognised. We acknowledge the funding from Wilde Ganzen and Dreamcatcher Nederland for supporting this project.


Garden looking up to the church