Below the slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain lies the African continent’s best and most beautiful garden – Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Yesterday, for the 33rd time, Kirstenbosch brought a gold medal home from the world famous and prestigious Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show held annually in London. This year’s exhibition at the Chelsea Flower Show was all about Kirstenbosch’s centenary celebration, showcasing 100 blooming years!
Exhibition at Chelsea
In true Cape Town style, the Kirstenbosch stand used the Table Mountain slopes and unique Cape Floristic Region as basis for the exhibition. With the 100-year celebrations in mind, the exhibition designers cleverly used the Garden’s oldest sections – the Central Garden and Dell Cycad Amphitheatre – as key focal points. And then the exhibition paid special tribute to the honored Centenarians. These senior residents of Kirstenbosch, including the delightful gardenia tree locally known as the “Boskatjiepiering” and the unique mountain growing Lamb’s ears shrub with its soft leaves resembling a young lamb or donkey, have been growing in the Garden since its establishment in 1913 and their offspring are well cared for under the watchful eye of expert Kirstenbosch horticulturalists.
Haven taken almost three weeks to complete the stand, the Kirstenbosch team succeeded in creating a true replica of Kirstenbosch’s unique diversity and loved landscape against Cape Town’s blue skies, while telling the story of hundred years in the Garden.
Table Mountain and the Cape Floristic Kingdom
The African continent is blessed with many gems and undoubtedly Table Mountain and the Cape Floristic Kingdom feature high on the African gem list. At the southern tip of the continent, Table Mountain has been inspiring locals and visitors for many centuries while under the conservation protection of the Table Mountain National Park. No less than 100 million people around the globe recently confirmed their love and appreciate for Table Mountain in the search for the world’s New 7 Wonders of Nature. Deservingly, Table Mountain is now officially one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature (and should be on your top travel list!). Filling the Table Mountain serving plate is the Cape Floristic Kingdom, one of only six floral kingdoms in the world. A biodiversity hotspot, people around the world flock to Kirstenbosch to see the colorful and dainty fynbos flowers in between the prominent protea flowers. In 2004, the Cape Floristic Region received UNESCO World Heritage status, endorsing its irreplaceable legacy for man and nature. With its location in the heart of the Cape Floristic Region, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden remains the one and only botanical garden in the world with a UNESCO World Heritage status.
Hundred years of blooming
The establishment goal of the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden was this: promoting, conserving and displaying southern Africa’s astonishingly unique flora. The early expedition travelers traversing the Cape quickly realized the extraordinary nature of flora in this region and soon it became known that the small Cape Floristic Region was home to more plants than the whole of the United Kingdom. Today, more than 7,000 plant species are cultivated at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Kirstenbosch places great emphasis on the South African heritage and the importance of sharing this with the people of not only South Africa, but the rest of the world. This year marks an exceptionally important year for Kirstenbosch and coincidentally, 2013 is also Chelsea’s centenary celebration. With exciting centenary celebrations, visitors can also expect to see the golden London flower show exhibition recreated at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden as part of the Spring Festival later this year. Visitors from far and wide are encouraged to pay a visit to our golden garden where mountain, greenery, colorful displays and abundant natural history await.
Photo credits: some rights reserved by Randy OHC via flickr [Creative Commons]