Cape Town


Kirstenbosch scoops double awards at Chelsea Flower Show


The Kirstenbosch-South Africa exhibit won its 29th gold medal and scooped the Presidents Most Creative Award – a brand new award given by the RHS President Peter Buckley- at The Royal Horticultural Society's Chelsea Flower Show in London this year.

Capturing the essence of the effects of climate change on our unique biosphere designers David Davidson and Ray Hudson engaged the judges and the public with the exhibit “The Heat is on” showing very clearly how global warming is already affecting our fynbos.

This brings to a grand total 29 gold medals from 33 exhibits of which this is the 16th exhibit designed by this innovative pair establishing South Africa as one of the front runners at what is considered the “floral Olympics”.

Always intriguing this year’s exhibit, co-ordinated by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and sponsored by First National Bank (FNB), showed visitors how some of the early warning signs from nature indicate that the impacts of climate change on the South African flora are already upon us.

Within a naturalistic landscape, the exhibit contrasts two floristic scenarios: on the one side a scene rich in diverse and unusual plant species featuring the fynbos community of proteas, ericas, restios and associated indigenous plants – on the other a much hotter and drier scene where water resources are depleted and the visible indicators of climate change impacts are graphically portrayed.

Climate Change is a major theme of the 2008 RHS Chelsea Flower Show indicated by the many exhibits in the Continuous Learning Centre situated in the Great pavilion. Echoing this theme at the South African exhibit did much to push it up the winning ladder and demonstrated how seriously we take these changes.

Designers David Davidson and Raymond Hudson said “ In terms of the theme we really captured the imagination of both media and public with the very clear results of what is happening in South Africa. We believe this is what tipped the scale in favour of our exhibit. Our thanks to the enthusiastic team who have worked tirelessly towards this goal”

Brett Erasmus, Head of Segment Marketing at sponsor First National Bank, said “ What a fabulous achievement and congratulations to the team who put this together. FNB are hugely honoured to be associated with such a superb example of garden design expertise. We cannot wait to welcome the team back to South Africa and start the home tour of this gold medal winning exhibit”

Dr Tanya Abrahamse CEO of SANBI was overjoyed on hearing the news saying “Well done to the team, we are so delighted they are bringing the gold home to us again. We are looking forward to welcoming them back and showing South Africans our pride and joy when the exhibit is recreated later this year”

The Kirstenbosch exhibit has created quite a stir and has been a major drawcard for thousands of visitors including the Princess Royal, Prince Edward and the Duke of Gloucester.This was preceded by the President of the Royal Horticultural Society who expressed enormous interest for this innovative exhibit.

The serious subject matter does not detract from the fact that the exhibit, while helping to create public awareness about climate change, is one of most popular and beautiful exhibits at Chelsea, and with the generous assistance of FNB, South Africans will have the opportunity to see it on home ground at Garden World in Gauteng (25 July – 24 August), in Cape Town (5 – 14 September), Pietermaritzburg (3 – 5 October) and Port Elizabeth (7 – 26 October).

Article Issued on behalf of SANBI by HIPPO Communications

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