Indigenous Treasures at the Garden Route Botanical Garden

The Garden Route Botanical Garden (GRBG) is located in the coastal town of George and was established to showcase the unique flora that is found in the spectacular Garden Route region of South Africa. The southern side of the garden is located in George and it stretches to the border of the Outeniqua Nature Reserve and mountain forests. Two lush wetland areas dominate the town side of the garden with easy access for visitors to enjoy the water-loving plants and resident waterfowl in tranquil surroundings. Cape mountain fynbos, coastal fynbos, Renosterveld fynbos and the extensive protea family are among the many plants visitors can enjoy while strolling through the gardens.

With increasing awareness of the need to preserve our natural heritage, the demand for indigenous plants continues to grow. The GRBG indigenous plant nursery was originally started as a means to replenish the plants that die off naturally in the gardens. Plants are grown from seeds and cuttings in a small greenhouse until they reach the stage of being large enough to plant out in the garden. In response to public demand, the GRBG opened a small retail nursery which is open to the public during the week. Here gardeners can buy a range of plants indigenous to the Southern Cape region and turn their own private gardens into indigenous havens.

Located alongside the Garden Route Botanical Garden Trust, in the Moriarty Environmental Centre, is the Southern Cape Herbarium. Unlike the GRBG which is open free of charge to the public, access to the Herbarium, which is essentially a research centre, must be arranged through the curator. The Herbarium is come to a collection of more than ten thousand pressed plant specimens, each of which is identified and organised to international standards. More than 2,000 specimens are stored in the Quick Guide section of the Herbarium which can be accessed by members of the public, accompanied by a Herbarium volunteer or staff member. Researchers can consult the Botanical library on Tuesday mornings.

The diverse flora of the Southern Cape is supported by the varied habitats ranging from dry coastal forests to wet afro-montane forests, coastal and mountain areas, valleys and estuaries. The Garden Route Botanical Garden and Southern Cape Herbarium promote the conservation of, and appreciation for, this precious natural heritage.