An Effortless Floral Masterpiece – Friday Flowers

The next stop on my flower journey through South Africa brings me to my parents home. In my eyes, my mom is the master and oracle of all things floral! From fresh flowers to floral prints, designs and art – she knows and loves them all. Gerda Solms has the ability to arrange  flowers in such an effortlessly way, she makes it look so easy as if everyone can do it. It might sound like I’m showing off with my mom, and I unashamedly am, because it is my mom, so do forgive me.

Foliage & Fruit flower arrangement

A green and autumnal foliage display gets a lift with fruit and red love-lies-bleeding.


Lily, fern, aster, rose hip arrangement

Green foliage, fern, white lily, rose hip, white asters and trailing jasmin looks great in this urn on the side table.


Below is another corner that doesn’t get left out, here fragrant rose geranium, lavender, grey dusty miller, red love-lies-bleeding and a selection of exotic red plants from the bromelia family, dress this antique chest by the window.


Fern, lavender, grey leave, amaranthus arrangement

Above: Love-lies-bleeding or amaranths.  Selection of foliage, dusty miller, rose geranium, fern, lavender. Two red plants are types of the bromelia-family.


Here my mom and my little girl are picking the flowers for the above arrangement.


My Mom Gerda and Dad Theobald Solms.

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Feature & photos by Theoda Solms Iles

All flower displays by Gerda Solms in her home at Bredasdorp, South Africa.

Flowers at Halfaampieskraal – Friday Flowers

So there’s this small little place in the world that is the curve of my heart. Halfaampieskraal is the farm in South Africa where I grew up, spending very happy and carefree days with my 3 sisters and 1 brother. Before my dad retired, he farmed this little bit of golden land tucked away in the Overberg region, to be precise the Ruens. My very talented brother, Jan-Georg Solms, took over the farming just over 20 years ago and in this time also transformed some of the outbuildings into accommodation and an old barn serves as a venue for events. The manor house has changed just a bit and now acts as the leisure area for guests where they can curl up around the fire drinking local wines in winter or spend endless summer hours on the enormous stoep (veranda), admiring the view to the Riviersonderend mountains. Inside this house the interiors are quite dramatic. During my childhood this was also the case (we often joked that we grew up in a museum) but now my brother, Jan-Georg, has amplified this drama, (giving my parents a go in the ‘dramatic interiors’ stakes) adding lots of eclectic elements, gorgeous items collected from his world wide travels and heirloom pieces that all have a story to tell.

To cut a long and passionate story short, Jan has also inherited my parents’ love for beautiful things and flowers, he knows exactly how to take them to the next level, go big or go home! Here are a few examples of the flower moments that you will find any day of the week at Halfaampieskraal.

Hydrangea and apple branches in urn

Jan-Georg doesn’t do ‘small’, here the dining room table gets a full-on showstopper made up of hydrangea, love-lies-bleeding and small apple branches. The urn standing ontop of a stone plinth, gives this oversize number even more height, filling the room, while still keeping the table surface clear.


red amaranthus, love-lies-bleeding

Love Lies Bleeding or Amaranthus grows wildly in the the farm garden and looks fabulous on its own against the beautifully hand painted botanical wall art, done by Nelia Solms du Toit (my other sister).


opal coloured hydrangea

Giant hydrangea heads in opal colours adorning an extra large pale blue vase.



An abundance of farm grown quince fruit, nothing more needed…  For me this fruit brings back such happy and nostalgic childhood memories with my dad on this farm. Driving in the bakkie (pick-up truck) with him, dad taking giant bites out of the hard fruit and passing it onto me.


All flowers by Jan-Georg Solms on location at Halfaampieskraal, holiday guest farm & venue.

Feature by Theoda Solms Iles