07 January 2011

Biodiversity Garden Update


Today I went to check on the Biodiversity Garden and to trial a visitor survey - more about that later in another post. The Green Point Park finally opened its gates on the 20th December and there has been a steady trickle-flow of visitors since. My fear that hoards of unsupervised children and dogs would over-run the garden and trample the plants were thankfully unfounded. Security reports there have been no problems to date.

However the number of visitors will be increasing soon: the City is planning an official opening late in January accompanied by media and publicity and the intention is to host regular events in the Park. In addition the Biodiversity Garden will be marketed to schools - so my fears are not entirely unfounded. Fortunately the City is committed to making this a success and the Operations Manager supports the need for effective visitor management.

Even though it's another hot day in Cape Town (33 C), there was a lovely cool breeze - it felt more like 26 C. The lakes were full and water was flowing down the spillway making a gurgling gushing sound - really the Park is wonderful place to hang out.

Wandering through the Biodiversity garden I found it gratifying to see the coastal thicket is starting to fill out, here seen partially obscuring the huts (below). The thicket areas are an important component in the design: they will provide wind protection; create a neutral backdrop to the displays; and will add depth and interest to the landscape. In a few years one may only get partial views and glimpses of the art and structures - hopefully just enough to tickle your curiosity and entice you to enter...

Climbers are racing up the shade dome. For those following the Amazing Race, Dipogon lignosus is still in the lead, and it's reached the second cross-bar. And notice the teeny bit of shade on the wall - we sat in it. Shade works.

There have been some lovely unexpected design surprises in the Biodiversity Garden. Who would have thought of shade patterns, and the movement of shade as a design element?

The Lawn types display is coming along nicely. On the flowering front, here are some species in flower:

Phygelius capensis at the pond display.

Crassula coccinea (Klipblom) is doing it's crazy red thing in the Mountain Fynbos display. They are typically associated with rocks, so every rock has a red flag at the moment.

Senecio crassulifolius - I love the translucent lines in the blue-grey foliage.

A small mauve-brown butterfly was pollinating Muraltia mitior. If I knew what it was, I could add it to the biodiversity list.

Erica cerinthoides or Rooihaartjie ('red hair') as it is called in Afrikaans.

Looking back over the garden towards Signal Hill and Lion's Head.

In the Make a Difference display the leaves are flapping gently in the breeze. So all is well en ce moment in the Garden - long may it last.


  1. I visited the garden for the first time this week and I *loved* it. Congratulations to the whole team who planned it and put it together. Thanks, Marijke, for your updates too - it's really interesting to have a behind-the-scenes perspective. I'm sure the garden is going to be very popular. Pleased to be hear the city is committed to running it properly (let's hope!)

  2. Clearly this garden is a MUST to visit and we will be doing this tomorrow - hope the 30% forecast rain does not deter us... we will take umbrellas!

  3. Helen - thanks for the positive feedback. We plan to offer guided walks through the garden soon - will keep people posted on this site.

    Lyn - I bet it won't rain! I find Green Point has such a wonderful microclimate - quite often it's a little misty, which is magical. Hope you enjoy it.

  4. It looks beautiful! Can't wait to visit... I blogged about your lovely blog and the garden.

  5. Congrats Marijke, it looks amazing - can't wait to visit.
    Am I correct in understanding that dogs (presumably on leads) are welcome?
    I tried and failed to get this info on the City sites.

  6. MOlly: Dogs are allowed in the Park, on a leash. However they are not allowed in the Biodiversity Garden. So maybe two outings are in order? I hope you enjoy the garden.

  7. John says: the butterfly on the Muraltia is Geranium Bronze.