The most beautiful Garden - Kirstenbosch
Last week on a gorgeous sunny day, accompanied by my charismatic guide, Andrew Jacobs, I went on a tour of Kirstenbosch botanical gardens.
Kirstenbosch was established in 1913 to promote, conserve, and display the diverse indigenous flora of South Africa. Kirstenbosch was born out of Harold Pearson’s vision to establish a garden for the people of South Africa. Pearson was responsible for choosing the location of Kirstenbosch and he believed that the eastern slopes of Table Mountain were the most suitable for establishing the garden.
Pearson is buried in Kirstenbosch beside an Atlas Cedar which overlooks the Cycad Amphitheater and the Dell. Due to his vision for South Africa, and with the help of the Botanical Society of South Africa, a neglected overgrown farm became a National Botanical Garden, which today is also part of the Cape Floral Kingdom World Heritage Site.
Along the tour Andrew showed me the herbal garden which consisted of plants that can be used for medicinal or healing remedies. We also stopped at the braille garden, which features a rope for the visually impaired to follow along, with interprative braille information posts along the way.
Andrew also showed me the garden of extinction which is a display of threatened plant species, with information on how to educate and create awareness for these different species. The Colonel Bird’s Bath was another stop on our route. The bath was built in 1811 by Colonel Christopher Bird, he built the bath to collect spring water and let it settle and clarify before piping down to the house.
One of the last stops on my tour was a visit to the oldest tree in Kirstenbosch, which is a 352 year old Wild Almond. This tree produces almonds, but they contain cyanide, so before consumption people would need to cook the cyanide out of them.
Some of my favorite memories and plant species along the tour were “Mandela’s Gold.” These flowers are a member of the Strelitzia Family, and they were grown from 7 origional yellow plants which took 20 years of selecting and hand-pollinating to develop the “Mandela’s Gold.” In front of these beautiful plants stood a photo of Nelson Mandela in Kirstenbosch on 21 August 1996, where he unveiled the special yellow flower dedicated to him. I also really enjoyed spotting two Cape Eagle owls, which my guide Andrew knew exactly where to point them out.
I really enjoyed my tour of Kirstenbosch. There are so many different species of plants to see, and many wonderful spots to relax and enjoy the gardens. This was my first of many visits to Kirstenbosch. I would like to thank Andrew Jacobs, and Sarah Struys for making this tour possible. I will be accessing Kirstenbosch by taking the Blue Mini Peninsula Tour with City Sightseeing Hop-on, Hop off buses.
For more information on Kirstenbosch please visit http://www.sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch