Jan FE Celliers Park, Pretoria

Jan FE Celliers Park, or Proteapark

Mr Bruins-Lich and his men had a knack for rockwork and water. The stream flows quickly downhill, led under a darling stonework bridge tightly covered with tickey creeper (one of few non-indigenous elements).

Unusual shrubs is a feature of the park. This is where you will see the luscious beauty of mature Natalkatjiepiering (Natal gardenia, Gardenia cornuta) and Rothmannia globosa, September Bells.

Here one sees all those shrubs that one reads about, grown to mature specimens because of the ample space considerately provided by landscapers, like the pistol bush and the Mickey Mouse tree. The first is Duvernoia adhatoides, whose ‘club-shaped seeds’ apparently shoot open like pistol shots (I've never heard it; perhaps it happens at dawn) and the second, Ochna pulchra, whose red & green & black seeds remind of Mickey's head and has, I've read, been planted at Disney World. It, or one of its many Ochna cousins.

Oh yes, and there are proteas. They won't knock you down with their presence; there aren't that many and they can look puny trying to command a large circular bed (and one that has been hoed - absolutely verboten with proteas). On a list of plants growing in the park compiled by HM Holloway in 1982, a member of Mr Bruins-Lich's team and probably involved with the original design (and perhaps also related to Jack Holloway although Jack doesn't know of him), 12 Protea species are mentioned.

At that time, listed among the 12 Erica species in Proteapark, is a heath thought extinct in the wild (its infelicitous choice of habitat was what is today Wynberg and Kenilworth, Cape Town), called Erica verticillata Bergius. Not only extinct in the wild - extinct at Kirstenbosch, which is pretty bad news for an Erica. I assume that Holloway didn't realise the enormity of the presence of this heath, for two years later, in 1984, it caused a big stir when a botanist called David von Well realised that what Kirstenbosch had been searching for high & low, was happily growing in Pretoria. For that is its irony: it is officially extinct, but easy to grow. In June 2008 Erica verticillata Bergius was again replanted in the park that proved its bulwark against extinction; here's a Beeld article about it. >>