Can South Africa Win Gold Again At The 2012 Chelsea Flower Show?

Model of South Africa's 2012 Exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show in London
Model of South Africa's 2012 Exhibit to be created at the Chelsea Flower Show in London. With members of the Kirstenbosch team, from left to right: Sarah Struys; David Davidson; Kuphumla Zenze and Alison Pekeur -- click to enlarge

For the 37th year South Africa’s National Biodiversity Institute will exhibit at the famous Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show, taking place in London from 22 to 26 May.

“We wanted to give people the sense of an arrival at a destination. We have to come up with a new way of representing the country every year. This year, each scene is a different place in South Africa.”
— David Davidson, Designer.

Chances are good that South Africa will win gold again — for the 33rd time.

Designers David Davidson and Ray Hudson have come up with an innovative and exciting concept which is designed to showcase South Africa’s rich floral heritage on the one hand, and on the other, South Africa’s cultural “Rainbow Nation” diversity.

The exhibit is titled “Gateways – A Botanical Journey.” A low perimeter wall encloses the square exhibit and each side will feature a distinct botanical and cultural “destination.” The “Gateway” is the entrance to South Africa, the rich floristic region of the south-western Cape. The other biomes are those that extend into Namaqualand, the semi-arid Karoo and the northern provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.

The various landscape displays will represent these distinct biomes. Each will be interspersed with watercolour artworks presented as an illustrated travelogue and featuring various picturesque locations.

Mandela's Gold
Mandela's Gold: This is the ½ oz Mandela Strelitzia gold medallion, known as Mandela's Gold Flower, with Mandela on the front and the Strelitzia on the reverse -- click to enlarge

To coincide with the 2012 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the South African Gold Coin Exchange (SAGCE), who is the main sponsor of the Kirstenbosch team, has launched this 1/2 oz Mandela Strelitzia gold medallion.

The Strelitzia featured on the coin is found at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town and is named after Nelson Mandela with the moniker Mandela’s Gold.

Known as Mandela’s Gold Flower, the coin has Mandela on the front and the Strelitzia on the reverse.

South Africa’s unique flora is always a huge draw card at the Chelsea Flower Show. Visitors flock to see the unusual and exotic plants. Over the past 36 years, apart from 36 medals, South African exhibits have been the recipients of numerous prestigious awards including the Lawrence Medal in 2006 for the ‘Best Exhibit shown to the Society’ and in 2008 received the new ‘President’s Most Creative Award’.

Go South Africa!

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