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South Africa's exhibition at the Chelsea Flower Show in London was awarded a gold medal, the SA National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi) said on Tuesday.
The 2012-Kirstenbosch-SA exhibit, titled “Themed Gateways”, presented the rich biodiversity of local regions as mini-destinations one could walk through.
Designers David Davidson and Ray Hudson likened the display to “the diary of a traveller”, as visitors could walk through changing botanical landscapes with water colour paintings acting as backdrops.
Sanbi CEO Dr Tanya Abrahamse said the display highlighted the importance of biodiversity.
“Biodiversity is the extraordinary variety of life, such as plants, animals and insects that are the foundation of ecosystems which provide people with numerous benefits,” she said.
“From ecosystems we derive essential goods and services, such as food, water, grazing, pollination, fish and medicines and we embrace the opportunity Chelsea affords us to highlight the importance of these natural resources.”
The display featured largely winter plants, as opposed to the spring flowers shown by other countries.
Flora from the Cape Coast, Karoo region and the grassland ecosystem of Kwazulu-Natal and Mpumalanga was highlighted.
The Madiba protea, named after former president Nelson Mandela on his 80th birthday in 1998, would also be exhibited for the first time.
In the last 36 years, the SA exhibit has won 31 gold medals, two silver-gilt medals and three silver medals, as well as other awards for outstanding contributions.
The flower show is open until Saturday. - Sapa