History of the Pretoria NBG

The Pretoria National Botanical Garden was started in 1946. The University of Pretoria made the establishment of the Garden possible by providing some land on a 99-year lease and other portions as a donation. The Garden was initially known as the Transvaal National Botanic Gardens and could only be visited by special arrangement, because it was primarily a research facility under the management of the Botanical Research Institute. It was amalgamated with the former National Botanic Gardens to become part of the National Botanical Institute in 1989. The Garden was opened to the public on a daily basis in 1984.

The avenue of Bolusanthus trees planted by Mr Jan Erens in 1946 was one of the first plantings in the garden.

A small, thatched stone building adjacent to the waterfall and currently used as the Botanical Tea Garden, was built in the late 1950s and initially served as the first office of the botanical garden.

Velcich House, situated on the northern side of the ridge running through the Pretoria National Botanical Garden, was built in 1941 and was owned by Mr Antonio Velcich.

The glasshouse was built around 1958, a display centre for a wondrous plant collection.

Major infrastructure development has taken place since the 1990s and includes the construction of the Entrance Building, the Environmental Education Centre, Medicinal Garden, display glasshouse, concert stage, artificial waterfall and lapa, as well as the paving of the main walkways. The artificial waterfall was sponsored by PPC (Pretoria Portland Cement) in 1993.

The old entrance gate is now permanently closed. This beautiful wrought-iron artefact was designed and made by Hans Brugger and named the Reynolds Gate in honour of Dr Gilbert Reynolds, who was an amateur botanist.

The large tree with its spreading crown, Acacia sieberiana var. woodii, near the Reynolds Gate was planted by the first curator of the Garden, Mr A. van der Ende, in 1949.

The other gate, also made by Brugger and leading up to the Herbarium Building, depicts various genera of the monocotyledons.

Curators of the Garden
Mr A. van der Ende 1947-1952
Mr Jan Erens 1952-1967
Mr Jan Admiraal 1965-1977
There was no Curator from 1978-1982
Mr Danie Dry 1983-1991
Mr Hans Heilgendorff 1992-2001
Ms Karin Behr 2002-present

© South African National Biodiversity Institute SANBI Home Gardens' Home
This Garden's Home