Cape Grace

Benetha has been at Cape Grace for seven years, and loves the challenge and buzz of working in a five-star hotel environment. Before Cape Grace, she worked at the Table Bay and the Mount Nelson. Her ‘engine room’ is below the hotel, with a view of the yacht basin. Together with a team of four, she is in charge of all the flowers that you see in the hotel, She also make ups orders for flowers and takes care of special requests from in-house guests.

Who inspired you to become a florist?
My mother was always into flowers, and used to be a florist at the Mount Nelson. I used to help her during school holidays, and eventually went to work with her there. She taught me everything she knew, but what I’ve found in this job is that you continue to learn something new every day.

Which flowers do you use to decorate the hotel?
Since the hotel’s refurbishment, we only use flowers from the Cape floral kingdom. The heritage of Cape Town is celebrated throughout the hotel in many different ways.

Where do you get the proteas and other graphic flowers that have become part of the signature look at Cape Grace?
We have a handful of trusted, quality suppliers, who source flowers from all over the Western Cape. If we have requests for other flowers, such as roses, lilies and irises, they usually come from Oak Valley farm in Elgin.

What do you like the most about your job at Cape Grace?
On Thursdays we make up the big arrangements that you see throughout the hotel, including the four big round pots that catch your eye as you walk into the hotel lobby. Our guests love the big arrangements! Thursday may be the busiest day of the week for us, but it is also the most creative and fun. To keep things interesting, we vary the big arrangements from week to week, using fynbos, proteas and other indigenous flowers like strelitzias.

What does an average week entail for your team?
On Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we make up all the small arrangements for the rooms and bathrooms and replace or redo the flowers in the restaurant, especially on the breakfast buffet. As mentioned, we make up all the big arrangements on a Thursday in preparation for the busy weekend. On a daily basis, we check all the flowers throughout the hotel and often have to top up the vases with water. Proteas drink a lot of water.

What do you do with all the proteas at the end of the week?
We recycle them! All the big flower heads get sent back to our supplier, who dries them for us and stores them until the end of the year. They are used to make Christmas trees and Christmas decorations in December.

Please give us a few tips on how to maintain flowers in a vase?
Flowers can last for a week if you take care of them properly. Before you arrange the flowers in a vase, cut off about half an inch from each stem. The most important thing is to have clean water. You should rinse out the vase and replace the water on a daily basis.

Blog Post by Jane Broughton

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