January 1, 2020: Arderne Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa

 

The Arderne Gardens are situated in the suburb of Claremont, a short drive from the centre of Cape Town. They are named after Ralph Arderne, an English timber merchant, and his son Henry. The father established the gardens in 1845 as an arboretum and started to stock it with exotic trees from all over the world. His son continued the work well into the twentieth century after Ralph died in 1885. In 1979 the gardens were declared a National Historical Monument.

The Arderne Gardens are home to six of South Africa's 'Champion Trees' – an official label given to outstanding specimens. The Moreton Bay Fig depicted at the top is one of these. Its crown diameter is listed as 45.1m, making it one of the largest trees in the country. The next shot shows its impressive network of buttress roots.

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The tree is known locally as the 'Wedding Tree' – because it is a popular backdrop for wedding photos.

One of the gardens' other champion trees is the Norfolk Island Pine shown below. It is thought to be one of the tallest in the world.

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Whilst the gardens are not huge, there is enough here to keep you busy for a couple of hours at least. Even if you are not particularly interested in trees as such, you can have a very enjoyable time just wandering around and marvelling at the views. In the photo below you can see the back of Table Mountain. 

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There are also plenty of benches and we saw a number of people who had brought along blankets and food for a picnic.

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There is no entrance fee, but you can support the gardens by leaving a small (or large) donation in a box near the gate.

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If you want a map of the gardens, you can get one from the pharmacy opposite the entrance. There is also a lot of useful and interesting information on the gardens' website:

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