Cape fynbos steals the spotlight at the international flower show

Henry

On Tuesday, South Africa reaped its 38th gold award on the first day of the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London, England.

It was also the first time that our country won the prizes for the best exhibition in the pavilion and best new design.

The show is regarded as the Olympics of flower shows and is also a major attraction for tourists and celebrities.

The flower show has been held annually since 1913 on the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London. This opportunity remained in action only during the two World Wars.

Keith Weed, president of the RHS, presented the prizes to Leon Kluge, chief designer of the exhibition, and his team on the opening day of the show.

Kluge and the artist Tristan Woudberg led a team of volunteers to create this year’s exhibition.

In 2018 and 2019, Kluge also collected the gold medal at the Chelsea flower show as team leader.

This year the exhibition was inspired by the biodiversity of the flora on the slopes of the Cape mountains, with various protea, fynbos and other flower species that formed part of the massive arrangement with all 22,000 stems.

A special effort has also been made to preserve rare, hybrid species such as the “Snow leopard” protea, the honeysuckle sugarbush (protea sulphurea) and the delicate serruria floridaknown as bridal flower or blushing brides in English, to be part of the exhibition.

The earthen structures against which the flowers are adorned are made of clay and have been specifically chosen to make sure the colorful arrangement steals the spotlight.

“The sculptures play the role of the mountain ranges, which divide and isolate the different biomes of the Cape, and which over time have contributed to our country’s unique flora,” explains Woudberg.

A team of role players from the private sector has come forward this year to make sure that South Africa is once again represented at the world’s leading flower show, after the sponsor that financially supported the team for three decades withdrew in 2019.

Kluge, well-known botanist, landscape architect and judge of the kykNET series The greenest fingersjoined hands with Keith Kirsten, conservationist Michael Lutzeyer, and business developer Marinda Nel to bring about the country’s return to the Chelsea Flower Show.

The Rupert Nature Foundation as well as the Grootbos private nature reserve, together with various contributions from the private sector, provided the financial support needed to create the exhibition in London.

Cape Flora SA, a non-profit organization founded in 2005, has also consistently offered its support to Kluge and his team, as the foundation strives for the sustainable growth and harvest in the fynbos industry.