Palms have become a defining characteristic of Shelley Point

A typical boulevard at the Shelley Point estate, where Gert Joubert, the developer, has invested close to R12 million in palm trees.

If you were to ask any visitor to the Shelley Point security estate 160km north of Cape Town (by road) what he remembers best about the estate, the chances are that he would mention four things: the impressive adherence by all homes and the communal buildings to the Cape Vernacular white walled, black roofed, architectural style, the high standard of the golf course, the whales and dolphins of St Helena Bay – and the palm trees.

It may stagger people to know that the developer, Gert Joubert, has invested close to R12 million in palm trees. From the outset, he insisted that the golf course boundaries, the boulevards, parking spaces and communal areas should have palm trees – at intervals of ± 25m.

What is more, Joubert was not content with simply planting these and watching them grow – he had to have mature, fully grown trees from the outset.

It will come as no surprise to those who have been involved in major landscaping projects to know that they cost out at R9 000 to R12 000 each – and to ensure their success, Joubert went a step further and installed an irrigation spray at the base of every tree.

So far 453 date palms (dadelpalme in Afrikaans) and 450 waving palms (waaierpalme) have been planted and the failure rate has been kept below 4%.

In recent years, the Homeowners’ Association have complemented the input of the developers by authorising the planting of new, young palms between the mature trees. These are on average only 1,5m high, but they have a projected life of 60 years (?) and will in time slowly make their way up to the same 20 to 30m level of the mature palms.

Joubert on one occasion said that he would probably be remembered in history for only three things: as the man who built triumphal arches for his entrance gates, as the man who battled for years to get approval of a small boat harbour and as the man who loved palms so much that he grew them everywhere in a Strandveld environment which had never before had any trees or shrubs above 2m in height.

For further information contact Gert Joubert on 021 914 1303