About the landscape
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and the British Museum have brought a small corner of South Africa to the heart of London.
South Africa Landscape highlights the rich diversity of plant life from South Africa’s Cape region – an internationally renowned biodiversity hotspot – and celebrates the two institutions’ shared vision to strengthen cultural understanding and support biodiversity conservation across the world.
Connections are made between plants, people and objects on display in the Museum’s African galleries.
The landscape includes the Western Cape’s famous fynbos, succulent Karoo vegetation and the coastal flora of the Eastern Cape. It features African lily (Agapanthus), fynbos heather, daisies such as the bright blue marguerite (Felicia amelloides) and the Cape daisy (Osteospermum hyoseroides), the South African geranium (Pelargonium), the Lesotho red hot poker (Kniphofia caulescens) with its bright orange rocket-shaped flowers and the shocking pink fig marigold (Carpobrotus).
The layout is a walk-through landscape with a desert feel of tumbled rocks, scree and sand, interspersed with strangely shaped quiver trees (Aloe dichotoma), swathes of spectacular plant colour, and an understorey of desert annual and perennial plants. Reproductions of famous examples of rock art depicting men and animals, from well-documented sites in South Africa, are incised on to a number of rocks in the landscape.
The plants in this landscape were sourced from nurseries in South Africa. They were chosen to highlight the rich diversity of flora in South Africa’s Cape region. The plants were shipped to Britain in a refrigerated container and upon their arrival it took four weeks to build the landscape outside the Museum.
This is the third in a series of five landscapes to be developed in partnership with Kew.
What happens next?
When the landscapes are dismantled, plants are given to
Camden Council to be planted outdoors
for the enjoyment of people in the area. Those
that cannot survive permanently outdoors are
grown at Kew.
Trust for African Rock Art (TARA)
World Collections Programme