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5 reasons not to miss the 2017 Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Plant Fair

This year’s fair promises to be a fun (and informative) day out at Kirstenbosch for the entire family
2017 Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Plant Fair

The 2017 Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Plant Fair invites visitors to take an aromatic journey into South Africa’s unique plant kingdom. The theme of this year’s Fair is ‘Amazing aromatics: recognise and celebrate the fragrances from our rich legacy of plants that surround us’. Here’s why you have to diarise this event:

1. Learn more about our local flora

Our ability to smell and savour a beautiful aroma is one of our most highly prized assets. Plants are also concerned about how they smell, and they create scents to achieve very particular objectives. Some might wish to attract a potential pollinator with a smell like sweet nectar, while others deliberately create horrid smells to attract flies!

Some plants have fragrant leaves to discourage unwelcome insects and herbivores. South Africa’s huge diversity of indigenous plants contains unique fragrances that are often inadequately recognised and appreciated. The 2017 Kirstenbosch Plant Fair aims to help change this.

2. Help Kirstenbosch grow

Another purpose of the Plant Fair is to raise funds for the development of Kirstenbosch. A world-class botanical garden must continuously adapt and improve, and a major objective of the Kirstenbosch branch of the Botanical Society of South Africa is to support this process financially.

The Botanical Society of South Africa has been a proud partner of Kirstenbosch since its inception, and the Plant Fair is its main fundraiser.

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3. Shop till you drop

Kirstenbosch comes to the party by bringing the products of its extensive Plant Production Nursery to the fair – giving gardeners a very rare opportunity to acquire indigenous plants produced within Kirstenbosch itself.

Two other botanical gardens – the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden in Worcester and the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden in Betty’s Bay – will also bring their specialised products.

Furthermore, the Kirstenbosch Plant Fair provides a stage upon which indigenous plant wholesalers, usually hidden from the public’s view, can present their best indigenous products for direct sale to the public.

As if that isn’t enough, there will be a number of hobbyists who will have their surplus treasures on sale for discerning buyers. As always, the fair will offer a shop window for vendors of garden equipment as well as fynbos-inspired arts and crafts. There will also be compost to purchase, in particular Kirstenbosch’s famous ‘home brew’.

Related: 7 easy tips for a water-wise garden

4. Ask the experts

Professional horticulturalists and experienced volunteers from Kirstenbosch’s Plant Production Nursery, as well as the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden and the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden, will be available to answer customers’ questions and to help them make their plant choices.

5. Eat, drink and play

Some of the more enduring fynbos scents are captured by distillers who extract the most delightful essences from some of the most unprepossessing shrubs. Look out for these wizards at the fair, as well as for culinary creators who will take your breath away with samples of scented savouries from gardens and more.

There will be plenty to eat and drink, and places where you can relax while your children play under supervision.

Details

NEW DATE: Saturday 13 May and Sunday 14 March 2017

PLEASE NOTE: The Kirstenbosch Plant Fair has been postponed to mid-May because of the water crisis the Western Cape is experiencing. Originally scheduled to take place on 18 and 19 March 2017, the Plant Fair will now take place in May 2017, by which time there will be a greater likelihood of rain.

TIMES: Saturday 9am to 4pm; Sunday 9am to 2pm

ENTRY: Adults: R20; children under 12: free of charge

For more information please call Catherine Gribble of the Kirstenbosch branch of the Botanical Society of South Africa on 021 671 5468 or e-mail catherine@botsoc-kirstenbosch.org.za.

PHOTO: iStock/RapidEye

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