Seek With New Eyes – Session #2 : Gardens

Our CrackerJack Speakers


Find out about Fynbos – South Africa’s one-of-akind type of vegetation.
Discover why the Cape Floral Kingdom, one of only six in the world, is the smallest, yet the richest,
and the very hottest of biodiversity hotspots.
Hear from luminaries what makes this the world’s richest natural garden.


Adam is the senior botanical horticulturist at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.
He specialises in plant breeding, discovering new plants in the wild, and the cultivation of rare and endangered plants especially trees, succulents and bulbs.

Formerly, he was a horticulturist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Currently, he curates the Conservatory and the xerophytic plant collection at Kirtstenbosch.

Over his 20 year career here, he’s curated numerous other collections – herbaceous, succulent, tree, shrubs and epiphytic orchids. And been awarded for his creative involvement in the construction and landscaping of the Boomslang, Kirstenbosch’s crowd pulling, aerial tree canopy walkway.

He’s also widely known for his photographic skills. Look out for “Kirstenbosch – The Most Beautiful Garden in Africa” by former director Brian Huntley that’s his visual treat.

His avid involvement in the dynamics of gardens extends to Arderne Gardens, one of the most diverse and valuable collections of exotic trees in all of South Africa, where he volunteers his plantsman’s expertise with his signature enthusiasm and big heart.


Sean is conservation director of Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, located on 6,200 acres of flawless wilderness.

He is one of South Africa’s leading botanists who has discovered several species previously unknown to humankind. Sean has an enormous passion for the conservation of the Cape’s unique flora. His patch of paradise that runs along the south east coast, has over 800 types of plant species found nowhere else on earth.

One of his projects at Grootbos was to initiate the most detailed, continuous, long-term vegetation study ever undertaken on a private reserve in South Africa.
He’s authored scientific papers relating to fynbos topics on his patch – the Agulhas Plain.
And assisted in establishing the South African flora display at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

He’s played a pivotal role in the 15,500 hectare Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy, as well as designing a sustainable harvesting program for the Flower Valley Conservation Trust.

Sean’s been instrumental in getting going a project at Grootbos that develops and mentors young conservationists, since upliftment of people is another passion.


Ernst is respected worldwide for his extensive research, profound knowledge and many publications of Southern Africa’s indigenous plants.

After a stellar career with Kirstenbosch as über horticulturalist and curator of the conservatory, he transferred his unique collection of plants to Babylonstoren.

He’s now pioneering ground breaking projects at Babylonstoren Estate with undiminished verve, in a garden that fuses elements of the historical and horticultural to create a cultural and botanical legacy. 

Ernst’s first task here was to establish a succulent garden. The ability of succulents to adapt to a hostile environment in order to survive was the subject of his PhD thesis.

For ten years he researched and ventured high and low to collect a total of 220 succulents and bulbous plants that grow exclusively on rocks.

Ernst is revered globally for how he translates his scientific knowledge into advice on plants and guidelines on gardening.