Aquatic, Cycad and Shade Gardens
Within a short walk from the Botanical Tea Garden, the Aquatic, Cycad and Shade theme gardens can be viewed.
In the Aquatic Garden, several connecting ponds create an aquatic habitat for indigenous wetland plants. Around the edges of these ponds a variety of emergent aquatic plants occur, the tallest of which is papyrus (Cyperus papyrus). This reed can be found throughout subtropical Africa, especially in the Okavanago swamps. Papyrus, one of the first forms of paper, was made from the pith of the plant, hence the name. In biblical times Moses was found among the reeds. The reeds are also home to several different birds. In spring, the Aquatic Garden ponds are a hive of activity. While weavers fly around busily creating their nests, large "clouds" of tadpoles and different species of Tilapia swim together among the submerged plants such as pond weed (Potamogeton pectinatus). The Tilapia, herbivorus, indigenous fish, have been introduced to maintain a balanced aquatic habitat.
The cycads represented in the Cycad Garden are part of a primitive group of seed-bearing plants. One of the oldest plant groups in the world, today’s cycads are remnants from prehistoric times when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Male and female cones are borne on separate plants. When this process is complete the plants usually go into a rest period that lasts for approximately two years, during which time they drop all their leaves.
Walking further westwards will bring you to the Shady Lane, a theme garden created specifically for shade-loving plants: plectranthus, clivias, scadoxus and other colourful stunners!