Useful Plants Garden at Kirstenbosch

The Hut

Why a hut in the Useful Plants Garden?

Interpretation of plant uses
Material made from plants will exhibited inside the hut display cabinets i.e. mats, drinking utensils, food products, crafts. Interpretative information on all material displayed will be available.

Preservation of traditional culture
The hut will reflect a modern trend in rural African architecture where durable materials are combined with traditional shapes. The Xhosa theme was chosen because of the durability and longevity of the hut design.

A focal point
The hut is the focal point of the garden holding the entire design together in a Xhosa cultural theme.

Alien vegetation eradication and water conservation
The materials chosen to build the hut demonstrate a sustainable, economical way of eradicating invasive and water-use-unfriendly vegetation. Eucalyptus sp.(gum tree) was used for the supporting structural poles and roof trusses, and Acacia longifolia (Port Jackson tree) was used to weave the walls. The hut is constructed in a traditional Xhosa/Mpondo style of "wattle & daub". The "wattle" substructure uses alien vegetation mentioned above. The "daub" or stucco-like cover is a mixture of soil and fresh cow dung called Udaka. The roof is thatched with Chondropetalum tectorum, one of the indigenous Western Cape restio species. This plant will be featured in the Construction Plant section of the garden.

Weaving the frame

Framework for the roof

Thatching the roof

Plastering with Udaka

The organic shape of the hut links to the shape of the beds and paths. It provides a sense of continuity throughout the garden design. The natural color of the "daub"/Udaka and the roof thatch reflect other structures in Kirstenbosch, and ensure that the hut blends in well with its surroundings.

Useful Plants Garden
at Kirstenbosch

Rowland & Leta Hill Trust

Botanical Society


© National Botanical Institute SA NBI Home Gardens' Home
This Garden's Home