More than a ton of plant material, including rare and endangered plants, which will form part of the 42nd exhibit at London’s famed Chelsea Flower Show by Kirstenbosch and South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) is being examined and packaged for the flight to the UK.
Once it arrives, the team from South Africa can start the long process of putting together the 100m2 exhibit. The team will start the building process on 15 May 2017 and the exhibition will be show-ready on 22 May 2017.
With its theme Windows on Biodiversity, the circular exhibit with its stunning backdrop of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden is a rich and varied voyage of discovery. On display are plants that represent all ten of South Africa’s National Botanical Gardens: Free State, Hantam, Harold Porter, Karoo Desert, Kirstenbosch, Kwelera, Lowveld, KwaZulu-Natal, Pretoria and Walter Sisulu.
The Chelsea Flower Show is open on 23– 27 May 2017. With the exhibit being Kirstenbosch and the South African Biodiversity Institute’s 42nd exhibit, there are high hopes for a 35th gold medal. The range of fynbos that has been showcased is a testament to the incredible floral wealth of our country.
Horticulturist Benjamin Festus and a team at Kirstenbosch have spent the past few days cleaning and packing the plants. Among them are acaciaie, leucadendron, sansevieria, rolbos and the protea nitida.
The Protea nitida will be one of the plants that brings height into the display. As designer David Davidson said, ”The protea nitida is one of the few proteas that grow into trees, and the only one that has usable timber. They were used to make break blocks for wagons back in the day.”
On Thursday Department of Agriculture inspectors M. Panda and Mathevula Nsovo were at Kirstenbosch making sure the plants were good to go. The inspectors were looking for “any living organisms on the plants like, insects, fungi and anything that moves” to make sure they were removed before the plants were packed.
“The logistics around getting everything to London is challenging,” said Sarah Struys, Events manager at Kirstenbosch. “There is lots of work to do before the plants can be sent: we need all the export and import permits, including the Cites ones (for protected, endangered species). We need to ensure that the plant material is fumigated, so we only feel completely comfortable once the plants are at the showground.”