Galenia is a genus of plant, occurring within the Fynbos and Karoo biomes, but has a wide distribution, from Northern Cape through the Western Cape into the Karoo. The species found on the estate is called, Galenia africana, which can be easily overlooked, as there are several similar looking shrubs. However, it has quite a bright narrow, aromatic, greenish-yellow leaf, and same coloured inconspicuous flowers appearing from October to December. After two days of good unexpected rainfall in January, everything started shooting out and green returned to a lot of the drab wilted looking plants, which hadn’t received enough rain in the last year. This included the Galenia on the property, which were quite drab looking, and suddenly burst into life again, revealing itself all over the estate.
As you know Les Hauts De Montagu, went through a name change to Galenia – see blog of 27th June 2016 – but why Galenia?
The decision to change the name came about as not many people around the Montagu and surrounding areas, including our own guests who weren’t French speaking, could pronounce it correctly. This led us to play around with several name ideas, possibly Boontjiesrivier? The name of the stream originating and flowing through the property, but Boontjiesrivier is no easier to pronounce than Les Hauts De Montagu. It took us a long time and a lot of pondering to come up with the name, but in fact the name already existed on the property. Whilst out on a walk around the property, we stopped and looked at an old, historical staff cottage called, “Galenia cottage”.
That is when the name came to us, Galenia, it is pronounced exactly as you read it, (Ga-len-ear) without any silent letters, or guttural sounds.
The name Galenia, has Spanish origins and means, “small intelligent one” and is used medicinally for the treatment of wounds, eye and skin infections, whereby it is made into an aqueous infusion and then applied. In the Montagu region, this infusion is also drunk, to help with bladder infections and prostrate problems, however, in all pharmaceutical trials no evidence was determined that this is indeed a successful treatment against any of these ailments. So perhaps Galenia africana is still holding on to its secret, but whatever it is – we have plenty of it here on Galenia Estate.