On the slopes of the Klein-Swartberg in the shadow of an imposing Venster rock lays Caledon's most significant claim to fame, the wild flower garden. A Garden dedicated to the collection, cultivation, preservation and display of a wide range of fauna and flora.
Following the first wild flower show in 1892, the community of Caledon was given a piece of ground by Queen Victoria in 1899 for the purpose of a park and in 1927 following the recommendations of Mr. J.W.Matthews. Mr. Cecil Young started on the first layout and design of the gardens. From 1933 - 1971 Mr. C. de Wet Meiring took over as Superintendent of the gardens and from a small planted section he made it his life’s work to extend and improve the gardens to the extent that he was honored by the Queen of England in 1964 with the Royal Horticultural Society’s Veitch Gold Medal for Horticulture and Hybridization of Protea Species and other wild flowers.
As the garden changes throughout my walk from beautiful green lawns to beds of flowers to a mystical wonder as the chirping of birds echo’s a melody of peace and relaxation. I had never seen so many different species of fauna and flora growing in such natural profusion.
The Caledon Wild Flower Garden is a must visit for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. If you love doing yoga why not do it to the relaxing sound of nature. If you like hiking there’s kilometers of mountain trails with breath taking scenery. The gardens is a bird watchers paradise the deeper you go into the garden the more abundant they get as the towns noise simply dissipates behind the Fynbos covered slopes.
It is through a rock arch shaped like a window that our forebears saw the infinite possibilities the soul of our town can grow. It is up to us to preserve and protect our horticultural heritage, but most of all to enjoy it.
By: M.R.Sauls - Caledon Museum