Yesterday I visited Durban’s subtropical botanical garden – the most beautiful in the world, for eyes and nose! A guide, Krishna, educated me about the trees, plants, and birds. Many of the “proper” names are long, so I took photos. The exquisite plants take your breath away and divine fragrances fill the air – orchid, lemongrass, jasmine….
“Durban Botanic Gardens maintains indigenous plant collections from the subtropics, characterized by majestic trees dominating the landscape.”
History and Background
British Colonists developed the Garden in 1849 as a “botanic station for agricultural crops”. Today it’s part of a network of international botanic gardens focusing on “biodiversity, education, heritage, research, horticultural, and green innovation“.
One focus is conserving threatened plant collections like cycads and palms.
The Gardens are home to the “original specimen of a Cycad widely acknowledged as the rarest plant in the world”.
Highlights and Collections
The main plant collections are, orchids, bromeliads, cycads, and palms.
- Orchid House – first “naturalistic” orchid collection with Cattleya, Dendrobium, Vanda, Phalaenopsis, Oncidium, and Miltonia
- Cycads and Palms – rarest collection in the world
- Natal Herbarium – specimens of dried, pressed, and catalogued plants
- Charity Tea Garden – teas and refreshments for visitors
- Sensory Garden for the Blind
- Heritage Trees – rare majestic species over 100 years old
- Education – permaculture courses, lectures, horticultural library
- Botanical Research Unit – researching indigenous flora
- Durban University Horticulture Department – work with students
- Green Innovation – focus on Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC)
On the way home I discovered Château Gâteaux, a South African pâtisserie with great espresso and tempting sweets. The fudge-picasso white chocolate mousse is ;)!