Merrilee Berrisford

The wonderful landscapes, plants and animals of the Kogelberg will be seen by tens of thousands of visitors to this year’s Chelsea Flower Show in May.

The South African exhibit was formally launched at a function in the Conservatory at Kirstenbosch on 21 April. Exciting news for the villages of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve is that the twin themes are the Reserve and Harold Porter NBG. We’d had clues that Kogelberg would feature when designer David Davidson wanted a copy of our book, Your Place in the Kogelberg. It was a great surprise that the whole stand will showcase our area.


Designer David Davidson describes the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve side of the stand.

David has cleverly divided the rectangular stand using a central backdrop of a Leopards’ Kloof waterfall to show off a stunning array of our plants. The other side is backed by that world-beating view across the sea of Koeёlbaai to the mountains with the heading: “Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve”. In front, plants and informative posters complete the design; worthy of yet another Gold Medal!

After David’s introduction at the launch, the proceedings took a Betty’s Bay turn when Harold Porter Curator, Berenice Carolus, spoke about the Gardens and Richard Starke read a message from Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve Company CEO, Johan West. Richard’s photos will be used on the stand.


Berenice Carolus, HP Curator, talking about the garden.

Kogelberg Branch also features in the brochure for the exhibit as BotSoc Executive Director, Zaitoon Rabaney, mentioned it in her piece using the cover of Your Place in the Kogelberg by Tim Attwelll as an illustration. So the Benn’s house will be at Chelsea, not only that, but Andrea herself, and her granddaughter, Kirstin, will be there as a volunteers manning the stand on three days, able to give visitors very personal stories of the wonders of the Kogelberg.


The Harold Porter side of the stand at the Chelsea Flower Show.

We are very lucky that David Davidson will be our speaker on the Saturday 16 July Botsoc talk. All of you who’d like to hear the story of the Kogelberg at Chelsea first-hand, mark the date clearly on your calendar. David will have all the anecdotes of the show told with verve and humour and good illustrations. (NB – No rugby international that night!)

This is just another strong reminder that we live in an area that is home to very, very special flowers and that we should see that our public open spaces and gardens are in harmony with the spectacular core of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve.