SANBI-Kirstenbosch’s 41st annual entry to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show (CFS) has taken a new direction this year, with the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden – A Gateway to the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve World Heritage Site taking centre stage in the exhibit. The model showing this year’s theme was unveiled at Kirstenbosch today.
Our theme for 2016 . . .
Harold Porter National Botanical Garden – A Gateway to the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve
The Harold Porter National Botanical Garden in Betty’s Bay was bequeathed to the National Botanical Gardens, now SANBI, in 1958. Uniquely located within the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, and situated in the centre of the coastal fynbos where the flora is at its richest, this beautiful garden encompasses mountain slopes with wind-clipped heathlands, deep gorges with relict forests, flats and marshes with restios, sedges and bulbs, as well as dunes adjacent to the beach with specialised salt-adapted plants. The Garden is renowned for its waterfalls and amber pools. It showcases more than 700 species of indigenous South African plants and over 100 species of birds.
The main fynbos families (proteas, ericas and restios) are present as well as other important families such as irises, daisies and orchids. The Garden boasts red disa (Disa uniflora) in its natural habitat as well as South Africa’s national flower, the king protea (Protea cynaroides) and the Prince of Wales heath (Erica perspicua).
Ten hectares are immaculately cultivated with wheelchair-friendly paths winding between banks of fynbos plants, wetland and dune displays and cool African montane forests.
Another 190 hectares have been left undisturbed and offer several kilometres of attractive mountainside and riverine nature trails taking between one and four hours to walk. Trails in the Garden include a mountain slope Fynbos trail, the longer zig-zag border trail takes you into the core of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, and a trail (requiring a permit) along a stream up to the waterfall in Leopard’s Gorge.
The Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve – the Cape Floral Kingdom’s model sustainable living environment for all
Just an hour out of Cape Town at the southern tip of Africa, lies an area of such natural beauty and floral diversity as to be recognized as perhaps the world’s greatest biodiversity hot-spot. A zig-zag ribbon of narrow coastal plain, squeezed between the ocean and awesome folded mountains with highland valleys, is home to the most complex biodiversity on our planet, with more than 1 880 different plant species occurring in only 240 square kilometres. The next richest is the South American rainforest with just 420 species per 10 000 square kilometres! The Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve alone boasts 77 species that occur nowhere else on earth. To put this in perspective, the whole of the United Kingdom has just 22 endemics.
The Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve falls within the Boland Mountain Complex – one of eight sites across the Western and Eastern Cape that comprise the Cape Floristic Region Protected Areas World Heritage Site.
The heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom is in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve*. Although it is the smallest of the world’s floral kingdoms, it is the richest by far with 9 087 different plant species of which 6 218 are endemic.
A place of natural beauty and complex floral diversity
Says SANBI CEO Tanya Abrahamse; “This year we showcase Harold Porter National Botanical Garden located in the beautiful area of Betty’s Bay, tucked away to the east of Cape Town near the southernmost tip of the African continent where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. Our Garden is uniquely located within the renowned Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve (KBR) – a place of such natural beauty and complex floral diversity to be recognized as perhaps the world’s greatest biodiversity hot-spot.
“The KBR is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom (locally known as the Fynbos), the smallest of the world’s floral kingdoms but the richest by far with 9 087 different plant species of which 6 218 are endemic. Our Garden and the Reserve make up a floral hotspot in the heart of the fynbos region dominated by high sandstone peaks of the 900m Kogelberg Mountain range and lapped by the blue waters of the ocean at its feet.
Wherever you are holidaying in South Africa there is a National Botanical Garden close by waiting to embrace you with its beauty and ‘window’ onto our country’s fascinating biodiversity. So, why not save a day in your holiday diary to visit one of our ten National Botanical Gardens?”
With more than 150 000 people visiting the CFS, the success of the stand depends on the enthusiastic team of volunteers who join the designers and SANBI representatives in ensuring that our display is perfect in every way.
This year Lihle Dlamini (SANBI’s Director of Marketing and Communication), Alice Notten (Interpretation Officer at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden) and Sthembile Zondi (Horticulturist at KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Garden) will also be working hard at the show.
Read more about our history at the Chelsea Flower Show, the exhibit designers and Clarence Drive, the scenic and award-winning route to Betty’s Bay and the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden.
* The concept of a biosphere reserve is an international designation in accordance with UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme. They are ‘new concept’ reserves: no fences to keep ‘people’ out and ‘nature’ in. It is the commitment of local communities, farmers, conservation agencies and local government that protect the magnificent landscapes and unique biodiversity.
The essence of the biosphere reserve concept is about the combination of three complementary functions: conservation (of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variation); sustainable development (fostering economic development which is ecologically and culturally sustainable); and logistical support (promoting research, monitoring, education and training). It is vital to the future of its fynbos heritage to strive to become a world role model for conservation and sustainable living while also meeting the needs and aspirations of the communities that call it home.