SA in bloom for Chelsea Flower Show

This year’s South African exhibit for the Chelsea Flower Show will be launched today, Thursday April 20, in the conservatory at Kirstenbosch.

The circular exhibit, titled Windows on Biodiversity, will showcase the backdrop of Kirstenbosch and Walter Sisulu national botanical gardens and is a rich and varied voyage of discovery.

This will be the 42nd year that the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) Kirstenbosch will be showcasing the country’s floral wealth at the Chelsea Flower Show, the range of flora that has been showcased is a testament to the incredible floral wealth of our country.

The model of this year’s exhibit will be unveiled at Kirstenbosch on Thursday May 18 and is said to be a celebration and taking one step further with the country’s diversity.

Designed by the award-winning team of David Davidson, of Lakeside, and Raymond Hudson, of Johannesburg, the exhibit will provide a glimpse of all nine of South Africa’s biomes to the over 150 000 people who are expected to visit the Chelsea Flower Show in May.

They have been responsible for designing and creating the Kirstenbosch-South Africa exhibit at Chelsea for 22 consecutive years, together with a small core team and an enthusiastic crew of volunteers.

During this time the exhibit has garnered 16 RHS gold medals, bringing the total to 33 since 1976.

On display are plants from all 10 of South Africa’s National Botanical Gardens: Free State, Hantam, Harold Porter, Karoo Desert, Kirstenbosch, Kwelera, Lowveld, KwaZulu-Natal, Pretoria and Walter Sisulu.

“The richness of our biodiversity is one of South Africa’s greatest natural assets,” said Sanbi CEO Dr Tanya Abrahamse.

“South Africa is home to nearly 10 percent of the world’s plants and contains three regions that have been declared global biodiversity hotspots, so it’s fitting that we celebrate this heritage this year at Chelsea.

“As always, the success of the stand depends on the enthusiastic team of volunteers who join the designers and Sanbi representatives in ensuring that the display is perfect in every way. This year the Sanbi team will include Lihle Dlamini from Pretoria, Lufuno Nenungwi from the Free State, Mashudu Nndanduleni and Felicity Poole from Goodwood.

Dubbed the world’s most prestigious flower show, the Chelsea Flower Show takes place at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea.