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WATCH: South African Landscape Designer Leon Kluge Claims Top Prizes RHS Chelsea Flower Show

From South Africa to the world, the Cape Flora South Africa display awarded for its stunning use of 22 000 Fynbos stalks and more

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By Kimberley Schoeman  | May 21, 2024 | Gardens

Flowers are in order for South African Landscape Designer Leon Kluge who together with Grootbos Private Nature Reserve have received three major awards at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower show. ‘The Cape Flora of South Africa’ display has been awarded not only Gold, but Best Exhibit in the Great Pavilion and New Design Award for the fynbos extravaganza, a first for South Africa.

South Africa has returned to showcasing at the Chelsea Flower Show after a four year hiatus, with this contemporary exhibition that is absolutely bejewelled in Cape botanical and materials. The award-winning display is an explosion of twenty two thousand stalks of 40 different varieties of proteas like vibrant King Proteas, Pin Cushion Proteas, and Restios to name a few.

For Leon Kluge, he always knew plants were in his future, becoming a multiple award winner with a long list of celebrity clients. Since little, Kluge has been collecting plants seeds, building a bank that he can tap to this day for projects. Kluge’s grandfather was also the curator of the Betty’s Bay Botanical Garden and his father, the curator of the Lowveld National Botanical Gardens in Nelspruit where Leon spent his childhood.

The beauty of South African landscaping is not unfamiliar to the prestigious RHS after the gardens of Brahman Hills, — nestled in the Midlands of KwaZulu Natal — was awarded Overseas Regional Winner 2023 by the RHS in the category 'Partner Garden of the Year’. If you recall, House & Garden SA featured Brahman Hills in our July 2022 edition where our gardens editor Heidi Bertish walked us through the folly of Brahman Hills where masquerades, performances, and celebrations come together within the gardens.

Previous awards presented to Kluge include Best Designer at the world’s largest garden design event, the Philadelphia Flower Show, and is a recipient of the South African Landscape Institute’s National Chairperson’s Discretionary Award for his outstanding contributions to landscape design.