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KIRSTENBOSCH (article first published : 2005-01-5)

Colin Paterson-Jones has written, illustrated and professionally photographed several books on South Africa’s floral kingdom. He has collaborated with John Winter to create Kirstenbosch, a small but visually exciting book on Kirstenbosch, South Africa’s world-renowned botanic garden.

John Winter joined Kirstenbosch as assistant curator in 1967 and went on to become the Gardens curator for 20 years. He continues to be involved with Kirstenbosch on a voluntary basis, his focus being cycads and clivias.

With its Mediterranean-type climate, Kirstenbosch was the first national garden in the world devoted to a country’s indigenous plants and includes many important collections such as cycads, clivias and succulents and restios.

In 1913, South African member of parliament, Sir Lionel Phillips was tirelessly encouraged by his wife, Lady Sarah, to initiate legislation that led to the formation of the Botanical Society and the establishment of Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens. Artifacts found in the area on this, more sheltered, side of Table Mountain indicate the presence of man about 2,000 years ago.

The book gives a comprehensive history of the Gardens along with accompanying photographs. It covers the huge diversity of plants found in the extreme South Western corner of Africa, many of them rare and extraordinarily beautiful.

Over 9,000 species make up the Cape flora, most of which are to be found in the 40 hectares of the Gardens in what must be one of the most spectacularly beautiful botanic gardens to be found worldwide.

Prominent features of the Gardens are detailed in the book as well as the floral highlights of the four seasons. More than 100 beautiful photographs portray the gardens and the animals and birds to be found there. There are informative lay-out maps showing special features, buildings and activity venues as well as walks and climbs that can be undertaken from the Garden.

This soft cover guide is a worthwhile memento of a visit to Kirstenbosch for local and overseas tourists.

Kirstenbosch is published by Struik and retails at R59.95. ISBN 1 86872 937 0 – Cherry MacIldowie




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