Nature’s Golden Ratio was the inspiration behind South Africa’s medal winning exhibit at the
Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show which took place in London from May 22 to May 26 2007.
The Kirstenbosch-South Africa exhibit, co-ordinated by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and sponsored by First National Bank (FNB), was designed by David Davidson and Raymond Hudson in collaboration with Obbligato, manufacturers of contemporary plant pots and garden furniture.
“The Fibonacci series, familiar to architects and artists as the Golden Ratio, can be found everywhere in nature, from the empty
flower head of a Protea, to the seed arrangement of a Sunflower,” said Davidson. “The spiral pattern forms ocean currents; orders
the pattern of stampeding deer and guides the upward path of a flying-ant towards the light. It gives a mollusc shell its
structure, a peacock's tail its enticing allure and a spider's web its fatal snare.”
The exhibit, entitled Abstracts from Nature, also featured various components symbolising the four natural elements, for which Craig
and Angela Bax of Obbligato had handcrafted four mosaic pots to represent earth, wind, fire and water.
Umcebo Trust, a non-profit organisation which assists people with special needs to develop their artistic talents and to generate an income and the
Woza Moya income generation project for people affected and infected by HIV, both based in KwaZulu-Natal, also collaborated on the project to create four specimen plants made entirely from beads, to compliment the mosaic pots.
“When you think about these four elements and the fluctuations in these elements your mind quickly turns to some of the environmental issues facing us today,” said Davidson. “One of the
most topical is climate change and its affect on the earth’s habitats and resources. We hope the garden is a visual stimulus to people to think about the fragile balance of nature which is threatened by seasonal fluctuations.”
Plants used in the exhibit for Chelsea are all indigenous to South Africa, but because some are annuals, usually flowering in Spring
in South Africa, these plants will be sourced from Keintzler, plant growers in Germany. South African plants have long been cultivated abroad and have become a common sight in Europe.
Brett Erasmus, Head of Segment Marketing at sponsor First National Bank, said “This exhibit has done the country proud over many years and has also done a significant amount to promote
tourism – the lifeblood to many in our special corner of the planet.”