Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Touch of Madiba magic for flower show entry - Cape Times article

Article by Rebecca Jackman that appeared in the Cape Times, May 13 2014 at 10:37am

DIVERSITY: The SA Biodiversity Institute's exhibit for the Chelsea Flower Show
features four habitats unique to South Africa. Photo: Bheki Radebe

THE second half of about a ton of plant material will land in London today, ready to be assembled as the South African Biodiversity Institute’s contribution to the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show.

Designers of the exhibit, David Davidson and Raymond Hudson, travelled to London on Saturday, before the second delivery, with a team including two horticulturists, the South African Biodiversity Institute’s marketing director and a group of South African volunteers.

The team will be hard at work putting together their 10m by 10m masterpiece with the theme “In Harmony with Nature” for the flower show taking place in London from May 20 to 24.

The plants came from the institute’s nine gardens in South Africa, including Kirstenbosch, the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden near Joburg and nurseries around the country.

Davidson and Hudson have designed the Kirstenbosch-South Africa exhibit for 21 consecutive years, achieving 17 gold medals in that time.

This year’s design features “South Africa’s rich biodiversity and its intrinsic wealth of design ingenuity”, with four habitat types including the “enchanted” forest inspired by the “boomslang” – Kirstenbosch’s new canopy walkway, the savanna, the Cape’s fynbos region and a “pristine ecosystem” showing South Africa’s biodiversity in the “web of natural life”.

The exhibit also pays tribute to Nelson Mandela with a pixel-portrait on a stone memorial wall created from dry protea flower head rosettes.

Andrew Jenkins was part of the team responsible for cleaning, sorting and packing plants at Kirstenbosch yesterday after they were inspected and cleared for travel.

He has worked in the seed room there for seven years and has been involved in the Chelsea Flower Show planning every year during that time.

“We made sure everything is just right,” he said.

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