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Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Submitted by on January 12, 2010 – 5:00 pmNo Comment

Pavetta cooperiSome may visit for the landscape, but most Road Trips Gardeners put distant climes on their travel schedules to see the plants: especially indigenous plants. One garden that emphasizes native flora is Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden just outside Capetown, South Africa, on Rhodes Drive, Newlands, Claremont. Located along the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, it grows only indigenous South African plants on its 528 hectares (about 1305 acres).

In addition to the gardens, there are four restaurants and a gift shop on site.

Kirstenbosch was settled in the 17th century, probably named for the several families with the surname Kirsten who lived in the area (it means “Kirsten’s Forest”). When the English occupied the area in 1811, two large grants of land were made: one to a Colonel Bird and the other to Henry Alexander. The property passed through several more families until 1902, when Cecil Rhodes gave Kirstenbosch to the people of South Africa as part of his great Groot Schuur estate. In 1913, it was designated the site for a botanical garden. It has been a “work in progress” ever since.

Pictured (above, left) is Pavetta cooperi, blooming in Kirstenbosch during the week of January 11, 2010. It’s a shrub that when in full flower is covered with pom-pom clusters of starry-white sweetly scented flowers.

The 35th annual Garden Fair and plant sale will be held at the Stone Cottages on the corner Rhodes/Kirstenbosch Drives, opposite the main entrance to Kirstenbosch Gardens, on March 20 and 21, 2010. It’s sponsored by the Kirstenbosch Branch of the Botanical Society of South Africa. “Gardening for Pleasure” is the theme for the Demonstration Garden, to be designed and set up by Kirstenbosch horticulturists who will be on hand throughout the Fair to offer advice and assistance.

“It’s In Our Nature”, a Biodiversity Expo will be held at Kirstenbosch March 25-28, 2010, as part of the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity.

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