Karoo Desert Botanic Garden, Worcester

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 restaurant in the Karoo Desert Botanic Gardens

The restaurant in the Karoo Desert Botanic Gardens

The Gardens overlook the town of Worcester

The Gardens overlook the town of Worcester

The Karoo Desert Botanic Gardens, overlooked by the Hex River Mountains

The Hex River Mountains behind the Karoo Desert Botanic Gardens

The Quiver TreeAloe 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.

Quiver Trees in the Karoo Desert Botanic Gardens

Quiver Trees in the Karoo Desert Botanic Gardens

Quiver Trees in the Karoo Desert Botanic Gardens

Euphorbia Ingens is fascinating and gives height in the garden, but the sap is extremely poisonous.

Euphorbia Ingens, Karoo Desert Botanic Gardens

Euphorbia Ingens, Karoo Desert Botanic Gardens

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.

Aloe Vanbalenii in the Karoo Desert Botanic Gardens

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?

Could this be a form of Euphorbia?

Could this be a form of Euphorbia?

This might be Crassula Tecta

This might be Crassula Tecta

This plants with hairy leaves is really pretty, but what is it?

Unkown plant Karoo Desert Botanic Gardens

Unknown plant Karoo Desert Botanic Gardens

The aloes were statuesque, but sadly beyond their flowering time.

Aloe

Lots of plants had thorns: big thorns, small thorns, bunches of thorns…

Acacia tree with pairs of large, white thorns

Small green thorns hidden in the leaves

There were a few flowers.

A variety of Euphorbia?

A variety of Euphorbia?

Helichrysum Petiolare

Helichrysum Petiolare – leaves & flowers used as bedding & to ease backache

Pretty, but not sure what it is

Pretty, but not sure what it is

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.

Karoo Desert Botanic Gardens

Karoo Desert Botanic Gardens

Karoo Desert Botanic Gardens

Do visit the Karoo Desert Botanic Garden if you are in Worcester!

You may be interested in
The Karoo National Botanic Garden
Dave’s Garden – a post with a lot of information about succulents and the plants in this post
Walks in the Garden
The Succulent Karoo Ecosystem Programme
The Garden in flower in Spring – knowledgeable blogsite

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