09 June 2013


The June photo in Alice Notten's Kirstenbosch Calendar is of the Mathews Rockery which looks at its best in winter when the aloes are flowering. Photo: Alice Notten.
The Mathews Rockery is located on the warm, north-facing slope of Table Mountain, which allows arid-adapted succulent plants to survive the cool wet winter conditions of Kirstenbosch. It was built in the 1920s before the era of heavy machinery, and many tons of rocks and gravel were brought in and placed by the workers of Kirstenbosch. The distinctive cobbled pathways, stone walls and other rock features were the work of Robbie Smith, Master Stonemason at Kirstenbosch for 40 years, and his team. The above photo shows construction underway in 1928. Photo: Kirstenbosch Archives. 
The Mathews Rockery is named after Jimmy Mathews, the first Curator of Kirstenbosch who worked at Kirstenbosch from 1913 until 1936. He is responsible for the elaborate and imaginative design and construction of the rockery and the careful choice of many of the succulent plants growing in it. Photo: Kirstenbosch Archives.
The Mathews Rockery in 1942.
In 1962. The large Candelabra Tree (Euphorbia ingens) was planted in 1922. Photo: B. Rycroft, Kirstenbosch Archives. 

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