CALEDON

WILDFLOWER

GARDEN

“Caledon's most significant claim to fame is, without a doubt, its wild flowers. There is in no other part of the world an equivalent area which can boast as many different species growing in such natural profusion.”

 

“The first Wild Flower Show took place on 3rd September, 1892. Organised by Mr. Alf Divine and some friends, Mr. Gawie Ie Roux and Miss Hope Meleroth, this exhibition was held in the everlasting dry flower (Hemichrysum) factory shed of Messrs. Walsh & Walsh in Haw Street.”

 

“In 1899 the Municipality of Caledon was given a piece of ground by Queen Victoria for the purpose of a park. In 1925 the members of the Horticultural and Wild Flower Society decided that a reserve should be established to ensure the perpetuation of all the species.”

 

“Two years later, in 1927, a start was made on the layout and design of the Victoria Wild Flower Garden, following the recommendation of Mr. J. W. Matthews of Kirstenbosch. Mr. Cecil Young, an unknown landscape gardener, chanced to come to Caledon and was offered the task of making a start on the layout and cultivation of the garden, situated on the slopes of the Zwartberg, under the shadow of the imposing Venster Rock. He was to a great extent responsible for the landscaping and stonework; until he left one day as quietly and unobtrusively as he had come.”

 

“Mr. C. de Wet Meiring took over from Mr. Young in 1933, and made a life's work of the extension and improvement of the gardens. He remained Superintendent of the gardens until 1971. From a small planted section he extended the gardens, improved the layout and planted many thousands of bluish, seeds and cuttings, sometimes combing the surrounding mountains in search of different species. Many plants such as Proteae, Nerinas, Gazinias, Sparaxis, and Ai"Ctotis were cultivated by him. “

 

 

“His knowledge and hard work was recognized and honored by the Queen of England who in 1964 presented him with the Royal Horticultural Society's Veitch Gold Medal for Horticulture and Hybridization of Protea Species and other wild flowers.”

 

“In 1927 the Flower Show was attended by H.R.H. Princess Alice who in opening the show made the following observation: "My one fear is that in our interest and pleasure in collecting rare species you may be led into despoiling the country-side, and the time may come when we shall only be able to read about them." Thus even then the gardens were obviously deemed of vital necessity for conservation as well as pleasure. In fact with regard to the Caledon wild flowers, research has shown how greatly the need for conservation and protection has been known and acted upon by many aware horticulturalists and conservationists.”