The Johannesburg Botanical Garden is located in the suburb of Emmarentia in Johannesburg. The gardens were established in 1964 as a large rose garden and subsequently expanded to cover an area of around 125 hectares. The Botanical Garden form one of Johannesburg’s vital green lungs. The land for the gardens was set aside in 1969 – at the time it was a sports field and golf driving range consisting of bare veld and no trees. Now it consists of large, grassy, open spaces scattered with trees and used by runners, picnickers and dog walkers. It hosts the occasional concert season and kite-flying competitions. Visitors enjoy its special gardens – the Shakespeare Garden, the Rose Garden, the Herb Garden, a Hedge Demonstration Garden and the main Arboretum, which houses family groupings of plants and trees of South Africa and the rest of the world.
The gardens contain an attractive mix of bunched indigenous and exotic plants surrounded by lawns, overlooking the 7,5-hectare Emmarentia Dam, which dates back to the turn of the Century, popular with canoeists and boaters. There is also a tea pergola and a floreum for meetings, shows and exhibitions. The Dam is fed by two smaller Dams above it, which are home to many aquatic birds.
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The park is fenced and gates at all the entrances are staffed by security guards.
Despite intermittent pleas dating from the 1920's, for about 50 years Johannesburg remained one of the few important cities in the World without a botanical garden.
Then, on 19 November 1968, a report by the director of the parks and recreation department was submitted to the management committee of the Johannesburg city council on the feasibility of establishing of a botanical garden. In response, the management committee resolved that "a botanic garden be established at Jan van Riebeeck Park and that the parks and recreation department continue with the development of a botanic garden as indicated in the report".
The total Area of land for development was 81 hectares; "Johannesburg' got its garden!"
The garden's master plan gives a broad outline of the botanical layout. In all, 42 families of plants are incorporated into the design based on suitable sites for the majority of species within the families. The families, comprising South African and exotic species of trees, are the framework around which shrubs and perennials are added to complete both the aesthetic and botanical picture. The Garden is a particularly renowned for its infamous Succulent Garden. (more can be read in FURTHER READING-link)
-26° 9' 25.2", 28° 3.6"