Leon Kluge, Mountains of Abundance
Mountains of Abundance – this year’s design theme will be bold and abstract – a distinct representation of South African landscapes.
On 3 April, the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) unveiled the design for the Kirstenbosch -South Africa Chelsea Flower Show design at an event in the conservatory at Kirstenbosch.
Mrs Ferguson, SANBI Board Chairperson, spoke about what it means to have an exhibit at this prestigious show.
” This is our opportunity to show the world the spectrum of our flowers. From the Highveld to the Lowveld, the East Coast to the West Coast, our Namaqua daisies to our aloes and proteas, the world sees a snapshot of our biodiversity. “
Kirstenbosch to represent South Africa for the 44th year at 2019 Chelsea Flower Show
For the 44th year running the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) Kirstenbosch–South Africa Chelsea Flower Show Exhibit will be proudly representing South Africa’s diverse floral kingdom at the annual Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show, taking place in London from 21 – 25 May.
Mountains of Abundance
Leon Kluge, the designer behind Kirstenbosch’s 2019 exhibition, explains that this year’s design will be bold and abstract – a distinct representation of South African landscapes. Kluge will be creating a contemporary hand-made slate mountain, with one side depicting a silhouette of Table Mountain and the other of the Magaliesburg.
“Abstract waterfalls and streams will be created with bright traditional Ndebele hats against the slate mountains. Around this mountainous theme, various species of proteas, aloes, disas, restios and fynbos will be arranged as they occur together on the wild slopes of our mountains,” says Kluge, who also designed last years Kirstenbosch exhibit for the Chelsea show – winning Gold for South Africa for the 36th year in a row.
“The flowers and foliage in the display have been carefully chosen to compliment the structures we are building; each flower needs to elevate the next and importantly occur in the same region. We explored many various regions, hiked up mountains and came across Bartinney farm in the Banhoek Valley who will be sponsoring the fynbos and proteas used in the exhibit. This will allow us to showcase some interesting and rarely seen plants at Chelsea to entice the gardening public to visit the various SANBI botanical gardens.”
Kluge gave some insights into the challenges the team face: “It is always one of our biggest challenges to ensure our plants remain in tip-top condition – it is no small feat to get them all to London from South Africa in one piece. But opening those containers and unpacking all of the plants is one of my favourite parts of the whole experience. Then comes the challenge of what the different climate in the UK will do to the plants once they are there – a sharp change in temperature is not great.”
“We are anticipating a mix of modern contemporary and classical designs at this year’s Chelsea show. Chelsea always produces a vast array of exciting new garden designs each year – it is ever evolving and never the same – that’s the magic about gardening,” says Mrs. Beryl Ferguson, SANBI Board Chairperson, who further explains that the Chelsea judges focus on plant quality and selection, creativity, design uniqueness and impact in their judging criteria.
“We hope to once again bring home Gold for SANBI and Kirstenbosch,” concludes Kluge.
Follow Kirstenbosch on Twitter @KirstenboschNBG and on Facebook @KirstenboschNBG for weekly updates on some behind the scenes interviews, videos and photos of the selection of plants, planning and challenges.