07 February 2010

Kirstenbosch: Lower Garden

Date: 6 February 2010

Location: Kirstenbosch

Walker: Helen

For a walk in the upper section of the garden see here.

We haven't been doing walking much lately - all very busy with work and other commitments. Plus the weather's been a bit too hot to be out and about in the middle of the day. I've really been missing time outdoors, though, so when I had a couple of hours free over the weekend, I headed to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. I usually head to the top reaches, but this time I parked at the bottom and explored the lower part of the garden.

I walked up the Camphor Avenue first. These trees are amazing, and the undergrowth of ferns and lilies so lush and leafy. I wish my garden could look like this!

Then I crossed across the grassy area that they use for the summer sunset concerts. Fabulous setting, isn't it? I haven't been to a show here for a couple of years - I believe they pack in more people than is comfortable and I really don't like crowds. They do have some great performers playing - the programme for the rest of the season can be seen here.

Nice to see some colourful flowers around!

Next I headed past a giant wild almond tree, into the Enchanted Forest.

This wooded area was so quiet, cool and green... a delightful place to escape from the heat of the day.

The path came out at the cycad amphitheatre.

Nearby is Peason's Grave. Professor Harold Pearson established the garden in 1913. His final resting place is a very peaceful spot.

I followed the steps down, past the arboretum.

I loved the soft whites and pinks of the shrubs in this section of the garden.

The cloud was low, swirling around the peaks above the garden.

Next, I took a cobbled path into the Dell. This area is the oldest part of the garden and its centre. Lots of tree ferns thrive in the deep shade here. The sound of the stream running through it is very soothing.

I walked up to Colonel's Bird Bath. A natural spring fills this adorable little pool with clear cold water. Each time I visit this spot I remember how, a couple of years ago, my brother-in-law had an impulsive (and illicit) dip into the bath on his 40th birthday. Such a naughty and fun way to mark the day.

I made my way out onto the grassy lawns. Usually these lawns are filled with picnickers, but the garden was surprisingly quiet for a weekend.

I meandered through the rockery and marvelled at the variety and strangeness of the aloes, crassulas, euphorbias and other succulents.

The main pond is a serene spot. I sat on the bench and watched the geese.

Then I walked down the main path, past the beds planted with annuals.

Next stop: the sculpture garden.

Sculptures from Zimbabwe are dotted around this section of garden.

From here I took the board-walk through the vlei.

There is variety of reeds, rushes, grasses and restios in this section of the garden. Beyond are beds of blue agapanthus.

A path leads up the thatched cottage that houses the Botanical Society. I walked around this area then headed back. Kirstenbosch is such a special place... I felt so refreshed and relaxed after my visit.

(Photos by Helen)


Anonymous said...

Oh - my - WOW!!!

As I read this post, I just couldn't stop wow-ing... I haven't been around Kirstenbosch for ages, so this was a wonderful reminder that it truly is a treasure house. THANK YOU for this reminder! :-)

Helen said...

You're welcome :)
The garden is really looking wonderful at the moment. I hope you get a chance to go and spend some time there!