The Garden Guide

Karoo Desert National Botanic Garden

Karoo Desert is the only true succulent garden in the Southern Hemisphere. Set in magnificent surroundings at the foot of the Hex River Mountain range near Worcester, it concentrates on plants from the arid or semi-desert parts of the country. The garden has fine specimens of tree aloes, euphorbias, wild grapes and a great variety of smaller species. Chief among these are the mesembs, or 'vygies' which, together with the annual daisies, provide a dazzling kaleidoscope of colour in spring (August-mid October). The garden was orignally at Whitehall and was moved to Worcester in 1946.
Photograph © Karoo Desert National Botanic Garden
Photograph © Karoo Desert National Botanic Garden

Plants of note

This is truly the most magical time of the year, when the garden bursts forth in a artist's palette of colour. Tiny oxalis (clover or suuring) flowers provide masses of colour, especially on lawns.
Namaqualand daisies in an array of colours are flowering in all the various beds. The orange namaqualand daisy is the most common; whites, yellows, salmon, browns & even pretty bicoloured versions pop-up here and there. Other annuals in flower include ursinas, which look like namaqualand daisies.

Another profusion of vividly flowering annuals. There more -- some sky blue, others pink, bright yellow, snow white and tangerine. Later in spring the gazanias (gousblomme) appear, displaying sheets of clear bright orange, burnt orange, crimson & vermilion.

As late spring gives way to early summer, the mesembs, or vygies, start flowering. These cheerful, sun- loving plants come in a wide array of colours, except black, blue or brown. The iridescence of their metallic colours is almost blinding. In the Garden, huge, sweeping beds of shimmering flowers beckon the visitor forth.
The weather is still cool at this time of the year. Maximum temperatures are 28C and early morning temperatures are 6C. Snowfall on the surrounding mountains is possible as late as October.

Roux Road, Van Riebeeck Park, Worcester, Western Cape, South Africa, 6850

All year. Daily. Open 7am to 6pm.

Free (except flowering months Aug to Oct)

Visit the Karoo Desert National Botanic Garden website

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