The Karoo National Botanical Gardens in Worcester

The Karoo National Botanical Gardens in Worcester was originally created near Matjiesfontein in 1921 and moved to Worcester in 1945. We parked under a tree and set off, smothered in sun blocker, to enjoy the delights of the garden. I had visited the previous year and loved the strange forms and curious habits of the plants.

Karoo National Botanic Gardens, Worcester

Parking in Karoo National Botanic Gardens, Worcester

Karoo National Botanic Gardens, Worcester

17-1-30-karoo-garden-in-worcester-lr-3802

The Karoo National Botanical Garden, Worcester

The Karoo National Botanical Gardens, Worcester

Karoo National Botanic Gardens, Worcester

The Quiver Trees are … extraordinary! The branches of the tree were hollowed out and used by the Bushmen as quivers for their arrows.


I have no idea what this is – but look at it!

Unknown plant, The Karoo National Botanical Gardens, Worcester

The spekboom is found as a pot plant in the UK, but I believe they absorb carbon from the atmosphere and can also be eaten in a salad as a source of Vitamin C – and the elephants in the Addo Elephant Park enjoy the spekboom as a staple food in their diet!

Thorn trees are of course a common sight in South Africa and in these gardens the Acacia Karroo, or Sweet Thorn, were flowering abundantly. Their thorns are impressive!

Sweet Thorn Tree, Karoo National Botanic Gardens, Worcester Sweet Thorn Tree, Karoo National Botanic Gardens, Worcester

I love the aloes and in the springtime they must be spectacular with their red-orange pokers of flowers.

Aloes in the Karoo National Botanical Gardens, Worcester Aloes in the Karoo National Botanical Gardens, Worcester Aloes in the Karoo National Botanical Gardens, Worcester

Aloes in the Karoo National Botanical Gardens, Worcester

Ground-covering succulents are everywhere, although this year even the fat fingers of the succulents were wrinkled – the drought has been long-lasting and punishing.

Succulents in the Karoo National Botanic Gardens, Worcester

And look at this odd plant – I think it is called the ‘Cat’s Tail Euphorbia’. 

Cats Tail Euphorbia, Karoo National Botanic Garden, Worcester

Cats Tail Euphorbia

The Wild Grape is apparently not really edible, I don’t know what the round fruits are, the colourful flowers are in the Cape Coral Tree, and finally there are the wonderfully named ‘Chinese Lanterns’.

Wild grape, Karoo National Botanic Gardens, Worcester

Euphorbias are everywhere!

Euphorbia in the Karoo National Botanical Gardens, Worcester

Euphorbias in the Karoo National Botanical Gardens, Worcester

Euphorbia in the Karoo National Botanic Gardens, Worcester

Euphorbias and spekboom

And just as I was leaving… the Karoo Boer Bean tree

The Karoo Boer Bean Tree

The Karoo Boer Bean Tree

This interesting garden is a ‘must-visit’ in Worcester and I think it would be particularly beautiful in the spring when all the vygies are flowering. But it was sad to see the effect of the drought on the plants, even though they are adapted to these arid conditions.

Further information
The Karoo National Botanical Gardens – a walk
Succulents – an interesting blogsite

4 thoughts on “The Karoo National Botanical Gardens in Worcester

  1. Lovely post. Many of these plants remind me of our trip to Madagascar a few years ago. There were lots of euphorbias there, brilliantly adapted for drought and to protect themselves from grazing animals. I believe I have some vygies growing out of crevices in our garden wall. They have grown strongly over winter so should flower well this summer. Looking forward to reading the next instalment.

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    • Thank you! The plants are just extraordinary, but it was sad to see how badly they have been affected by the drought – wrinkled succulents as a result of no water is quite startling. The garden was not as lush as I remember from last year, and I think the best time is when the vygies and aloes are flowering, which is probably September/October. Even so the plants offer a very different palette for creating a garden.

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