I visited this amazing garden on a scorchingly hot day in February – it was at least 35C. The Karoo Desert National Botanic Garden lies just outside the town of Worcester, in the Cape Province, under the Hex River Mountains. The garden is quiet and has a conveniently placed restaurant near the entrance which serves food and ice-cold drinks.The garden was originally established near Matjiesfontein in 1921 as the Logan Memorial Garden, moving to Worcester in 1945. The garden covers 144 hectares of natural vegetation, and 11 hectares are cultivated. It is promoted as the only succulent garden in the southern hemisphere
The Quiver Tree, Aloe Dichotoma, is so-called because the Bushmen used the branches to make quivers for their arrows. There is a Quiver Tree Forest in Namibia – I would love to see it. Apparently even these trees, adapted to extremely harsh conditions, are threatened by extinction as a result of climate change.
Euphorbia Ingens is fascinating and gives height in the garden, but the sap is extremely poisonous.
Aloe Vanbalenii was a mat of wonderfully spiky red contrast, and the hotter and drier the weather the more the leaves turn red. So these plants show just how extreme the weather has been in South Africa.
I think this strange tree is another variety of Euphorbia.
I think this is a variety of Cyphostemma Juttae, a succulent which stores vast amounts of water in its trunk.
Many of the plants have fleshy leaves as well as fleshy, thick stems. Could this be a form of Euphorbia? Or a type of Aloe?
This plants with hairy leaves is really pretty, but what is it?
The aloes were statuesque, but sadly beyond their flowering time.
Lots of plants had thorns: big thorns, small thorns, bunches of thorns…
There were a few flowers.
These strange plants are very different from those grown in English or French gardens, or even the plants in the Durban Botanic Gardens, but I could easily use them to plant a wonderfully varied and textured garden.
Do visit the Karoo Desert Botanic Garden if you are in Worcester!