Bringing Gold Home

The designer behind the award-winning exhibit at London’s Chelsea Flower Show 2019 is Leon Kluge.
He follows in the footsteps of David Davidson and Raymond Hudson, who between them won a total of 18 gold medals for Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden /the SA National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) in previous years.

Kluge said that the display ‘Mountains of Abundance’ was inspired by the diversity of the South African floral kingdom ‘infused with our rich culture’. He wanted to show that South Africa is the home to many of theflowers exported throughout the world.

Since Table Mountain alone has more plant species than the United Kingdom has in its entirety, Kluge says South Africa’s display shows just a ‘fraction of our South African biodiversity’.

The display focuses on the plants of Table Mountain in the south and the Magaliesberg in the north because of the abundance of flowers in the two areas, in particular the various types of proteas.

It has a sculptural aspect, with 3-meter high mountain ranges carved out of slate, and Ndebele hats that mimic the flow of a river as the water pours from one ‘hat’ to another. “We showcase our diversity as South Africa – our rainbows of flowers and colours, our complexity … from the east to the west, north to south”.  

The award is a real feat for SANBI since government funding for the Chelsea entry was cut in 1995, requiring fundraising to generate money to create the displays and transport them to London.
And last year’s drought in the Western Cape added to the challenge …

Watch Leon getting his inspiration from the Kogelberg Biosphere, a mere hour’s drive from Cape Town and sitting in Kirstenbosch, explaining what’s in this year’s display.
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Chelsea expedition to Pringle bay…Researching Restio's and Erica's for the Chelsea flower show 2019#kirstenbosch #chelseaflowershow #leonkluge #gardendesign

Posted by Leon Kluge on Sunday, 31 March 2019

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