Members of the #CTBig6 urge you to join them in cheering for South Africa at the Chelsea Flower Show. The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) is going for gold with this years Kirstenbosch -South Africa Chelsea Flower Show design. 

“This is our opportunity to show the world the spectrum of our flowers. From the Highveld to the Lowveld, the East Coast to the West Coast, our Namaqua daisies to our aloes and proteas, the world sees a snapshot of our biodiversity. ” says Mrs. Ferguson of SANBI.

Leon Kluge is the landscape architect of the exhibit design entitled “Mountains of Abundance

Kluge talked about walking on our mountains, seeing all the different plants and noticing that each month has a different show, something that is a unique aspect of the plants on our mountains.

According to Leon each plant has a story to tell, and that is what he and the SANBI staff do at the Chelsea Flower Show, they relate the stories and unique aspects of the biodiverse South African Floral Kingdom.

He explained how the Protea Cinaroides got its name. Protea is derived from the Greek God Proteus who had the ability to change his form depending on his mood.  The protea too has many forms, all beautiful, from the closed flower, the wide open colourful bloom to the dried out brittle brown skeleton once the flowers time is over. Still, in keeping with the theme of changing, Leon says that a Protea in one region will be quite different to another, citing Cape Town and Hermanus as examples.

The exhibit aims to recreate the way our proteas, aloes, disas, restios and fynbos occur naturally, and they will be displayed rising up a wall of slate extending three meters high representing Table Mountain and the Magaliesberg.

Local culture is brought into the design

I get inspiration not only from the Ndebele, but all the tribes and I fused them together to add a cultural and human element to the exhibit.” This adds a vibrancy and colour to the display, as well as a human interest which is important to Leon. He uses a Ndebele hat as the source of a river through the design, and this theme is continued via subtle patterns on the slate, and beaded artifacts in the display. “a garden needs movement to make it come alive” says Kluge.

2019 Kirstenbosch RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Back row from left: Mr Tristan Woudberg – Artist, Mr Leon Kluge – Designer, Mr Ntuthuko Mabuya – Horticulturist: Pretoria National Botanical Garden. Front row from left: Ms Lihle Dlamini – SANBI Director – Marketing and Communications, Mrs Beryl Ferguson – SANBI Board Chairperson, Mr Chris Randlehoff – Horticulturist, Dr Moshibudi Rampedi – SANBI CEO, Mrs Siphu Ngqasa – Marketing Coordinator from KZN National Botanical Garden, Mr Benjamin Festus – Horticulturist: Kirstenbosch.

When you visit Kirstenbosch, you can view the painting by artist Tristan Woudberg, depicting this year’s exhibit “Mountains of Abundance” at the information desk at entrance 1.

Seeing the painting it is easy to understand Leon’s statement “the South African stand at the Chelsea Flower Show is always popular for is creative and vibrant displays, and its reputation as a gold winner.”

SANBI Director of Marketing and Communications Ms. Lihle Dlamini, has 100% confidence in the design saying

“We have 36 gold medals; this is who we are.

We are going to London to get another one. We go for gold or we don’t go at all.”

The Chelsea Flower Show will be held in London from the 21st – 25th May and we have high hopes of achieving another gold medal for SANBI and South Africa, bringing the total to 37 gold medal awards.

The artist’s depiction shows only one side of the four-sided exhibit and we are looking forward to seeing the live display next month.

Follow Kirstenbosch on Twitter @KirstenboschNBG and on Facebook @KirstenboschNBG for weekly updates on some behind the scenes interviews, videos and photos of the selection of plants, planning and challenges. #RHSChelsea #Kirstenbosch #MountainsOfAbundance


There is no one way to explore all of the Cape Town Big 6, and much of what makes each of them so special is the variety of things to see and do at each. So if possible, take your time to explore each of the city’s most visited tourist attractions in as much depth as possible – as any local will tell you, you can spend a lifetime at each of the Big 6 and still not tire of them. Find the 3 and 4 day itineraries and tips here.

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