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Unisa online - SA garden grabs gold at London flower show

Green fingers working hard – Ingrid Barwise, Tracy Bruis-Licht and Jenny Badenhorst at the RHS Chelsea flower show in London.

Going for gold and getting it at the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea flower show in London has boosted South Africa and Unisa’s sense of pride in the gardening world. Assisting the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) construct the Kirstenbosch garden, three Unisa Ornamental Horticulture students displayed their green fingers at the show from 22 to 26 May 2012.

The RHS Chelsea flower show is one of the most illustrious in the gardening world, lending to a celebration of the highest quality of horticulture. Having been part of this horticultural celebration for 37 years now, South Africa walked away with yet another gold award, proving that this country has what it takes to compete on an international level.

With the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden being acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world, the 2012 theme for SANBI’s Kirstenbosch was Gateways – a botanical journey. “This year’s exhibit, sponsored by the South African Gold Coin Exchange, took the viewer on a journey across our wonderful country, from the Cape coast to Namaqualand, the semi-arid Karoo, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.  This exhibit does not only show the botanical biodiversity of South Africa, but it also features glimpses of the iconic architecture of each region,” said Dr Tanya Abrahamse CEO of SANBI.

Following their love for horticulture, final year Unisa Ornamental Horticulture students, Ingrid Barwise, Jenny Badenhorst and Tracy Bruis-Licht jumped on board as volunteers joining SANBI this year. Despite having to pay for their own travel and accommodation costs, these students displayed passion in their work and an eagerness to make Unisa and South Africa proud. Coming home with gold has met these expectations and more.

RHS medals were given to exhibits as a mark of excellence. They were awarded by highly-experienced judging panels and come in four grades – RHS gold, silver-gilt, silver and bronze.

The gardeners had to work fast as immense preparation goes into a garden exhibition.

The garden just before its final touches.

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