Bot Gardens Sign


In my ‘Sign’ post about the ship, bell and avenue I mentioned a visit to this garden on Sunday:Aloes at roadside 

We had views of the seasonal aloes at the roadside on the way. Comrades

Also, we had glimpses of the runners of the Comrades Marathon, still one of the top world events of its kind.  It was great to hear that a South African led the men home, and that South African women were well represented in the top ten.  It was not great to be caught in traffic jams, although we managed to miss one which stretched some 15 Kilometers.

020513 Garden fairy.Here young R becomes a fairy in the garden.  No, she has not shrunk  That tree is HUGE!

020513 Lake, heron 020513 Pmburg, Hilton 009The garden has some lovely features, but is developing a rather sad air of neglect.  Perhaps, having been established in 1874, it has become outdated for Africa.  Certainly I would have expected far more people to have been enjoying the tranquillity and open spaces, and the amenities for picnics or barbeques.  An ominous indication was that, although ‘Restaurant’ signs still abound, the excellent venue was closed and deserted.  There is now nowhere to buy even light refreshments.  Upkeep and maintenance also seem to have gone downhill.

020513 The Quarry and Aloe By way of contrast, up Town Hill in Hilton, The Quarry is a thriving little shopping centre with what should be an ugly feature transformed into most pleasant outlooks.  Of course, another aloe does add glamour!

 Garden, bench

Back to another view of the Gardens.  

Changing times, but I mourn the wonderfully preserved Victorian splendour which characterized Pietermaritzburg buildings and gardens alike until comparatively recently.  What there was is being steadily taken away.  What is appearing in its place, if anything at all, is brash, unimaginative, unappealing, and often squalid.  Such is South Africa today. 

© Colonialist June 2013 (WordPress)



About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies.
This entry was posted in Current Affairs, Gardens, Personal Journal, Photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. momohyeah says:

    Sad that as an ex natal gal I didn’t even know of the garden. And now that I do it may to late to discover its beauty. Now sadly a gauteng lady running the rat race


  2. Sonel says:

    Loved the photo’s Col and R truly looks like a little garden fairy. She is such a cutie! 🙂
    And you’ve said it : Such is SA today. No pride anymore and no upkeep. If it should happen, they’re not going to get those huge salaries that they’re currently getting for doing nothing. Such a pity. But thanks for a lovely post my friend. 🙂 *hugs*


    • colonialist says:

      You should hear her chattering!
      It really is infuriating how things are sliding backwards.


      • Sonel says:

        Oh, I bet she is a great chatterer..hehehe. I can just hear her and with a grandpa like you, I am sure she has an excellent vocabulary too. 🙂
        It sure is Col… a real sad case but no use for us wasting our energy on getting angry at them. We must just keep on hoping for the best. 🙂 *big hugs*


  3. Sun, colors, green, and a beautiful princess called R. Lovely!


  4. adeeyoyo says:

    Durban Botanical Gardens used to be much frequented by my extended family. Hot crumpets with cream and syrup/honey were wonderful on a Sunday afternoon… I think the restaurant was run, maybe in part, by Women’s Church Associations at that time.


  5. “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…” Joni Mitchell had it right! It seems a shame.


  6. The neglect is so sad 😦


  7. Would be interesting to know if the decline is due to a lack of visitors or the lack of visitors has caused the decline. You were brave to go driving around whilst the comrades was on


    • colonialist says:

      I think a lot of it is due to lack of funding which used to be provided by the Government, as well as the factor that people now look for more superficial ways of entertaining themselves than to visit such places.


  8. adinparadise says:

    Yes it ‘s so disheartening when one sees the inevitable signs of neglect in places which were once really spectacular. That’s a really lovely pic of Little R. 🙂


  9. nrhatch says:

    Lovely captures of the garden, Col. It does seem to be fading away. Maybe to be reclaimed by the birds and animals?


  10. 68ghia says:

    One big reason I avoid public places. It just makes me sad to realise that in Africa, if it’s not broken down, it gets there very soon.
    Break everything – the motto…


  11. Eha says:

    Have enough years to notch on my belt to remember the better times . . . have met enough people from SA to hear the stories . . . perchance, whatever our woes and complaints, ’tis still easier Down Under . . .


  12. bulldog says:

    The demise of our botanical gardens throughout SA is a well known fact… no money is made at these places and in the past they were financed (at a loss) by the government departments. Their upkeep was for education and spreading of knowledge.. today that seems not a concern… yet, on the other hand, the present disposition is far more strict on environmental issues than the earlier.. go figure..


    • colonialist says:

      I think they pay lip service only to the environmental issues. When it comes to practical application, conservation gets sidelined as we see time and again. They make the right noises but take the wrong action.


  13. disperser says:

    Not just South Africa . . . pretty much anyplace other than those catering to superficiality and entertainment.


  14. newsferret says:

    It is a pity that glorious things are slowly being whittled away.


  15. Pussycat44 says:

    Our little ‘Toti Bird sanctuary is equally in a state of decline. What used to be a place of pleasure for families with small children has become a haven for litterers and party-goers. No more tea and scones served by members of the local women’s groups. No more families sitting together on blankets, being harassed by the ducks and geese for a morsel to eat. No more the sight of a peacock showing of his colourful tail feathers. The place is just no more.


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