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May 22, 2012

Chelsea Flower Show 2012: SANBI takes gold

Winning team: David Davidson (designer), Mandisa Kondlo from Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden, Kuphumla Zenze from Kirstenbosch with Alison Pekeur (Kirstenbosch) and Ray Hudson (designer). Photo © HIPPO Communications

The South African National Biodiversity Institute’s (SANBI) Kirstenbosch-SA entry has won a gold medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, in London, UK, for the exhibition Gateways – a botanical journey.

This is the 32nd time SANBI has taken gold during the 37 years it has exhibited at the prestigious flower show and, for 19 of these years, designers David Davidson and Ray Hudson have added their special touch of magic to the exhibits.

“Our exhibit is always a popular destination and this year, by taking them on a journey across the country, they get the sense of how each location has its own iconic attractions,” said Davidson and Hudson.

Design team Ray Hudson and David Davidson with the gold medal. Photo © HIPPO Communications

This year’s exhibit merges nature with cultural diversity and forms a combination of botanical diversity and architectural elements to give visitors a taste of the land in which we live.

During the five-day flower show, from May 22 to 26, the 2012 Kirstenbosch-SA exhibit will take thousands of visitors on a journey through changing botanical and cultural landscapes, displaying South Africa’s unique flora. Featured attractions included the fynbos biome of the south-western Cape coast and interior, the succulent Karoo biome of Namaqualand and the semi-arid Karoo, as well as the grassland biome of Kwazulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.

Dr Tanya Abrahamse, CEO of SANBI, was delighted with the win. "Once again our team has done us proud! Our biodiversity is an extremely valuable national asset. Biodiversity is the extraordinary variety of life, such as plants, animals and insects that are the foundation of ecosystems and provide people with numerous benefits. From ecosystems we derive essential goods and services, such as food, water grazing, pollination, fish and medicines, and we embrace the opportunity Chelsea affords us to highlight the importance of these natural resources."

The winning exhibit. Photo © HIPPO Communications

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is home to more than 22 000 indigenous plants, is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.

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