The gardens were created by Basil Christian, a British settler who came to Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) in 1911 and bought the farm Mount Shannon, which he renamed Ewanrigg. The name is derived from a village in Northumberland, England, where his ancestors lived. Christian was initially interested in growing European alpine plants, but soon realised that they were not suited for the local climate and soil.
The Attractions of the Ewanrigg Botanical Gardens
The gardens cover an area of about 265 hectares, and are divided into several sections, each with its own theme and character.
- The Aloe Ridge: This is the most prominent feature of the gardens, where hundreds of aloes are planted on a rocky ridge overlooking the lawns and the house.
- The Cycad Collection: This is another impressive collection of plants, featuring over 50 species of cycads, which are ancient plants that resemble palms or ferns.
- The Succulent Garden: This is a newer addition to the gardens, where various types of succulent plants are grown in a naturalistic style.
- The Water Features: The gardens have several ponds and streams that add to the beauty and tranquility of the place.
- The Kopjes and Woodlands: The gardens are surrounded by natural landscapes of granite kopjes and miombo woodlands, which offer scenic views and hiking opportunities.
The Practical Information
The gardens are open daily from 8 am to 5 pm, and the entrance fee is US$5 for adults and US$2 for children. There are picnic and braai facilities available, as well as a small shop and a cafeteria. The gardens also offer guided tours, educational programs, and special events.