30 August 2010


Where is the Biodiversity Showcase Garden? What is it all about? Who's idea was it anyway?

The Biodiveristy Garden
is situated in the new Green Point Urban Park, not far from the golf course and Mouille Point lighthouse. This 12.5 ha park, conceptualised and designed by OvP Associates, features a large circular lawn area (the 'Common'), cycle and running paths, play parks, a small amphitheatre, trim park and lots more. Future plans include an Eco-centre (the so-called Smart Living Centre), a tea room and a small retail nursery linked to the Biodiversity Garden and Green Futures Horticultural training college.

Below is a pic taken while the park was under construction on 12 April 2010. The squiggly red line encircles the Biodiversity Garden. The bright green is the golf course - completed as a first priority along with the Stadium.

The Biodiversity Garden is one of the City of Cape Town's Green Goal 2010 projects, and one of five LAB (Local Action for Biodiversity) projects. Stephen Granger, Head of major programmes & projects at the City's Environmental Resource Management Department, identified its purpose 'to showcase the Cape's biodiversity and demonstrate responsible gardening practises.' And its goal 'is to raise public awareness about the value and importance of regional biodiversity, and to disseminate practical knowledge on how to help conserve it.'

In August 2009 I was approached to help design this educational garden, and I have had the great pleasure of working with OvP on the project. Below is the first conceptual plan, beautifully rendered by Sarah Kantey (OvP).

A few workshops and meetings were held to identify the main themes and messages for the Biodiversity Garden, and these informed the design. There are 3 theme areas:
1. People & plants
2. Discover biodiversity
3. Wetland walk

Many people have contributed their knowledge and skills to the garden and various specialised items such as the shade dome; interpretive signage; khoikhoi huts; the Food garden; educational art; placement of rocks, special soil, unusual plants etc. The support of OvP and the client (the City of CT) has been nothing short of amazing.

At this stage - 2 weeks before the opening - we have:
320 species planted in the garden, most of which come from greater Cape Town
60 interpretive sign & 200 plant labels - on the way from Durban
posters which have gone to print

Above a planting plan for the Demonstration Gardens - the grey hatched areas are hedge blocks of Rhus crenata. I envisage them to be immaculately maintained green wedges, table top level....


  1. very exciting! I can't wait to see how it turns out... will have to visit in person, next time I am in Cape Town.

  2. Yes - please do! When the Park is open (end Nov?), it will be free entry, open daily from sunrise to sunset.

  3. Stunning stunning stunning. Cant wait to visit!

  4. Thanks, but it may be long wait: have hear the park may only open in december now. Tell me more about Serruria gracilis - is it growing on some wine farm? (ok just guessing)

  5. Dear Marijke,
    I understand you and our family are looking to relocate in Muizenberg. I don't know much about land for living on but we have a spot that will be vacated in 2014 hopefully and could well be used to develope a Biodiversity Garden similar to the one you and your colleagues created in Green Point. Would you be interested? I have access to an organisation which could possibly raise the funds for this.
    How about it. We need to continue to turn Muizenberg into a sustainable play ground for fauna, flora and people.

  6. I returned to South Africa on holiday after a four-year absence and was delighted to discover this garden, which I found incredibly moving, as described in my blog - http://petergrovesblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/impressions-of-home-what-a-difference-four-years-can-make/. I think it is an exceptionally beautiful and worthwhile undertaking.