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Johannesburg Botanical Gardens - Johannesburg

johannesburg botanical gardensSet on the western shores of the Emmarentia Dam, the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens is a green space in the middle of Johannesburg's northern suburbs about 6 kilometres from the city centre - with over 30 000 trees, a large rose garden, the site of over 4 500 varieties, and a space through which vistors can stroll and meet to relax for picnics and play with children. Brick-paved pathways wind their way discreetly between stands of indigenous and exotic plants and trees within these lovely gardens.

The Johannesburg Botanical Gardens were established in 1968 and are home to over 30 000 trees, among them a fascinating array of exotics such as cork oaks, English oaks, Californian redwoods and silver birches. Interestingly, the Johannesburg Botanic Garden is one of the youngest gardens in the country at only just over 30 years of age. It was voted the best passive recreation space in the city by its residents in 2004 that make use of the greenery to escape the drudgery of city living, and is involved in a seed exchange programme with another 300 odd gardens throughout the world.

The Johannesburg Botanic Garden has some of the finest plant collections in the world that include indigenous trees and succulents, and its herb garden contains a surprising collection of traditional African medicinal herbs, culinary, medicinal and cosmetic herbs. A huge, formal rose garden features some 4 500 of these scented treasures. The succulents section, which may be visited by appointment only features more than 2500 species. Indigenous vegetation includes reedbeds, Highveld grasses and an Erythrina zeyheri, known as the ploegbreker (plough breaker), because of its extensive root system. A prehistoric garden, with a collection of cycads and tree fems, is currently being plarmed.

The gardens are used by many Gauteng weddings for capturing those special moments and has now opened its own wedding venue, the chapel Garden - specially revamped to provide a sumptuous setting for wedding photographs. Summer Sunset Concerts have proven to bring the crowds to the Johannesburg Botanic Gardens and have been touted as a ‘weekly humdinger of a party’, featuring a variety of local and international artists in similar style to the summer concerts held at Kirstenbosch in Cape Town.

Gardening demonstrations are held regularly and visitors may picnic on the manicured lawns. A number of ponds within the garden attractbreeding waterfowl, and birding enthusiasts can expect to see - among others - moorhen, dabchick, crested grebe and Egyptian goose.


 

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