Kirstenbosch our #CTBig6 member represented the South African floral kingdom at the 2019 Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show and won a GOLD medal, this is the 37th year that Kirstenbosch will be bringing home gold.

Table Mountain in the centre of the ‘Mountains of Abundance’ Exhibit

Table Mountain. Iconic symbol of Cape Town, World Heritage site, one of the New Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the chunk of rock that dictates our traffic and our weather, the list of accolades is endless. So, it is no surprise that Table Mountain was what inspired landscape designer, Leon Kluge’s ‘Mountains Of Abundance’ SANBI Kirstenbosch exhibit for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.

The exhibit was awarded a gold medal for the design that depicted the abundant fynbos as it grows on the slopes of Table Mountain. Proteas, disas, agapanthas, lilies and restios created a riot of colour and brought the heady scents of Africa to London.

SANBI Kirstenbosch – South Africa shipped containers full of indigenous plants, flowers, hand-painted edgings and Ndebele hats from Africa to England for the annual Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show, taking place in London from 21 – 25 May.

The Kirstenbosch Chelsea Flower Show Exhibit has been proudly representing South Africa’s diverse floral kingdom at the Chelsea Flower Show for 44 years.  This year’s exhibit was indeed a show-stopper with its cutting edge design featuring a slate mountain, dotted with abstract waterfalls cascading from bright larger-than-life traditional Ndebele hats, and masses of proteas, arums, restios and fynbos arranged as they occur together on the wild slopes of some of South Africa’s mountains.

Leon Kluge, the designer behind Kirstenbosch’s 2019 exhibition titled ‘Mountains of Abundance’ – created a contemporary hand-made three metre high slate mountain, with one side depicting a silhouette of Table Mountain and the other of the Magaliesburg.  

According to Kluge, who also designed last year’s gold medal winning display, each plant featured in the exhibit has a story to tell and showcases the phenomenal spectrum of South Africa’s flowers to the world. “In addition to restios and fynbos, we have King Proteas in all the different colours this year – something I am very excited about.  There are also rarer kinds of proteas included – such as a small species that lie on the sand and gets pollinated by mice.  All the plants have come together to produce a magical showcase of only a fraction of South Africa’s biodiversity.”

“The pressure is always on to produce an exhibit that will surpass the previous years.  Thankfully, we managed to do exactly that and are extremely proud to be bringing home another gold medal!  Special thanks go to everyone involved in the creation of this year’s Kirstenbosch Chelsea Flower Show Exhibit – we have an amazing team.  It is a lot of hard work but the atmosphere at the Chelsea Flower Show is always wonderful – from fellow exhibitors and the public attending the show,” says Kluge.

SANBI Board Chair, Mrs Beryl Ferguson, I thought that last year’s exhibit was magnificent, but 2019’s design has taken things to a new level.  Seeing Leon’s designs come to life has been so exciting and in reality the exhibit is even more impressive and representative of South Africa’s rich natural heritage.”

SANBI’s team in London consists of designer Leon Kluge, Tristan Woudberg and Chris Randlehoff from Leon Kluge Garden Design, dedicated volunteers, and SANBI staff.

As promised SANBI Kirstenbosch is bringing home GOLD!


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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