Use of indigenous plants a key criterion

Closing date: 30 Sept 2004

Such was the success of last year's inaugural Pam Golding Properties Gardens of Pride Competition, which was launched in the Western Cape metropolitan region, that this year the competition has been extended to include Gauteng's Johannesburg and Pretoria metropolitan areas and KwaZulu-Natal's Durban and Pietermaritzburg metropolitan areas, as well as the Natal Midlands.

This year (2004) the Pam Golding Properties Gardens of Pride Competition is held in association with Mortgage SA, under the auspices of the National Botanical Institute (NBI). This initiative aims to stimulate pride among SA homeowners in their gardens and to encourage the use of South African indigenous plants in private homes - and schools - whatever the prevailing conditions. Not only will this contribute to increasing the value of their properties, it will also help the environment. This project also forms part of the PGP group's commitment to fostering home ownership in South Africa and promoting environmental sustainability.

With a closing date of 30 September 2004, entrants are invited to submit their gardens for judging during the month of October. There are two categories for private homeowners based on the size of the property ie less than 500sqm and larger than 500sqm. As the competition has been considerably expanded this year, in addition to two regional winners ie one in each category, there will also be two national winners who will each receive a trip to the 2005 Chelsea Flower Show.

In the Western Cape and Gauteng regions, the competition includes a category for schools who are already participants in the NBI's Outreach Greening Programme, which seeks to encourage gardening with indigenous plants as well as practical environmental awareness.

Dr Andrew Golding, CE of the Pam Golding Property group, says as a founder member of Proudly South African, Pam Golding Properties endorses the importance of water-wise gardening and helping conserve South Africa's precious water resources by using indigenous plants.

"Having had such a positive response to last year's competition which was launched in the Western Cape, we are delighted to be able to now include other major metropolitan areas in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, as this not only adds diversity and a new dimension to the competition, it will also help create greater awareness of the importance of gardens in enhancing and adding value to properties.

"We find an increasing interest among consumers not only in attractive gardens as a tranquil haven or as a leisure interest, but also as a means of improving the value of their homes. There's also growing use of indigenous plants, particularly in the light of the need to conserve water," he says.

Comments Saul Geffen, MD of MortgageSA, official co-sponsor of this year's competition: "Tending a garden goes far beyond watering a collection of plants. Gardens allow for innovation and creativity, they add the personal touch that transforms a house in to a home, and you can tell a lot about a home by its garden. We're in the business of empowering homebuyers to take the first step in owning property - it creates a sense of self worth, and gardens do the same. These are values that MortgageSA as an organisation subscribes to and so the 'Gardens of Pride' initiative is a natural fit for us."

Professor Brian Huntley, CE of the NBI, which has eight botanical gardens around South Africa, says while the diversity of climates and indigenous plants in the different regions does pose a challenge for the judges in arriving at two national overall winners, each region brings its own unique appeal to the competition, and seasonal and regional differences will be taken into account.

"We also notice growing interest in and use of indigenous plants in the various regions, as well as a positive trend among property developers towards using indigenous plants in new projects. While some homeowners may be unaware of the tremendous diversity and colourful variety of indigenous plants available, information is easily available through NBI's Kirstenbosch (Cape Town), Walter Sisulu (Roodepoort), Pretoria and Natal (Pietermaritzburg) National Botanical Gardens. During August entrants may use the entry form provided as a free ticket to visit any one of these national botanical gardens. There is also information on our website: and on, and several books on indigenous plants, such as 'Creative Gardening with Indigenous Plants' and 'Waterwise Gardening' are available through the national retailers," adds Professor Huntley. ( These arnd other books on Gardening and Greening can be bought from the bookshop on this site)

In addition to the use and display of indigenous plants (70 percent content required), the judging criteria for private homeowners include design and layout, compatibility of the garden with the home, varied use of plants and sustainability of the garden, the integration of boundaries or neighbouring areas into the garden, as well as maintenance of the garden, pest control and the application of water-wise principles.

In the schools section of the competition, the focus is also on the use of indigenous plants as well as the involvement of the school community including learners, teachers and parents, and the upkeep of the garden from watering and weeding to overcoming vandalism.

The total value of prizes amounts to around R120 000. In the home gardens section there are three prizes comprising plants and gardening equipment to the value of: R5 000 for the first prize, second prize R3 000, and third prize R1 000. In addition, all prizewinners receive one year's free membership to the Botanical Society of South Africa. The first prizewinners in each category in each region will compete for the two national prizes of a trip to the 2005 Chelsea Flower Show - including flights, accommodation and entrance to the show.

The judges will include a panel of experts including horticulturists from the NBI and representatives of the sponsors, Pam Golding Properties and MortgageSA. Winners will be notified telephonically by 31 October 2004 and the regional and national prizegiving events will be held in early November 2004.

Entry form for Cape Metropolitan Area

Entry form for Johannesburg & Pretoria

Entry form for Pietermaritzburg & Natal Midlands

Entry forms are also available through all Pam Golding Properties offices in the Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Pietermaritzburg metropolitan areas and at the National Botanical Gardens in these areas or contact Collette van Aswegen on 021 7998756.

Visit the NBI plant information website for more information about SA plants and waterwise gardening.



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