Johannesburg Botanical Gardens

We met our tour guide, Russell, today and he didn’t plan any tours for us so we could get organized and cleaned up after 24 hours in planes and 2 days of traveling.

I decided to go to Johannesburg Botanical Gardens. The gardens are huge – hundreds of acres but very disorganized.

They had this one big map at the entrance but no maps that you can take with you. They had a lot of lawn with many beautiful trees in them but few were labeled. In fact I have more labels in my garden than they do.

They have a very large formal rose garden with very few flowers because the deer ate them.

However they do have 2 very special and valuable collections. The Lithops collection is a greenhouse filled with “stone plants” or “living stones”. They are planted in pots in a large greenhouse.

Lithops are plants with 2 fleshy leaves exposed at soil level so they look like stones. They have translucent tips so the sunlight can enter and enable the plant to photosynthesize. Lithops are native to South Africa near Johannesburg and in Namibia.

The 2nd valuable collection is mature Cycads which look like palms but are more closely related to conifers.

As you know, South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere and I was hoping to find an example of fall foliage color in April. The two photos above show the start of fall color on an Oak tree at Johannesburg Botanical Gardens and on a Sycamore tree at our hotel on April 9.

Next: Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg

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