Chelsea Flower Show on for SA

2011-04-14 14:55

Cape Town - South Africa will send an entry to the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show, after initially announcing that there were no sponsors, and the county's entry to the prestigious event was cancelled.

"It's a very special occasion for us. It's even more special because we announced to you we weren't going to Chelsea," Chelsea Flower Show co-ordinator and South African National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi) events manager Sarah Struys told News24 in Kirstenbosch.

The South African entry attracted sponsors at the last moment.

"Without the swift intervention of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape (PGWC) and the SA Gold Coin Exchange it was doubtful that South Africa would exhibit this year due to a lack of funding," Sanbi said in a statement.

Over the last 35 years the South African exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show won 30 gold medals and this year, designers David Davidson and Raymond Hudson have focussed on the biodiversity hotspots of Cape Floral Kingdom of the Western Cape and the Northern Cape's Richtersveld.

Table Mountain

"I'm confident that the real exhibition at the Chelsea Flower Show will blow people away and we'll see another gold medal," said Western Cape MEC for agriculture Gerrit van Rensburg.

"We will be using the Chelsea exhibit to promote Table Mountain as one of the new seven wonders of nature. Having Table Mountain as one of the new seven wonders will be a boost to tourism," he added, before instructing those present at the launch to vote for the geographic icon on their cellphones.

Some of the flowers for the exhibit this year will be sourced from black empowerment farms, and bags that have been specially produced by a Khayelitsha-based 'Township' project will be given to visitors at the South African exhibit.

The designers have additional motivation to do well through sponsor the SA Gold Coin Exchange.

"If you do win gold, we will sponsor the designers with real gold. You've got the green fingers; we have gold fingers," said SA Gold Coin Exchange chair Alan Demby.

The Chelsea Flower Show runs from May 24 to 28.

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