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Company's Garden

Coordinates: 33°55′40″S 18°25′01″E / 33.92778°S 18.41694°E / -33.92778; 18.41694
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Company's Garden
LocationCape Town, South Africa
Coordinates33°55′40″S 18°25′01″E / 33.92778°S 18.41694°E / -33.92778; 18.41694
Area3.2 ha (7.9 acres)
Created29 April 1652; 372 years ago (1652-04-29)
Operated byCity of Cape Town
Walking in the Company's Garden
Squirrel in the Company's Garden

The Company's Garden is the oldest garden in South Africa, a park and heritage site located in central Cape Town.[1] The garden was originally created in the 1650s by the region's first European settlers and provided fertile ground to grow fresh produce to replenish ships rounding the Cape. It is watered from the Molteno Dam, which uses water from the springs on the lower slopes of Table Mountain.[2]


The Dutch East India Company established the garden in Cape Town for the purpose of providing fresh vegetables to the settlement as well as passing ships. Master gardener and free burgher Hendrik Boom prepared the first ground for sowing of seed on 29 April 1652. The settlers sowed different kinds of seeds and kept record thereof each day. Through trial and error they managed to compile a calendar which they used for the sowing and harvesting throughout the year. At first they grew salad herbs, peas, large beans, radish, beet, spinach, wheat, cabbage, asparagus and turnips among others. They caught fish, trapped wild animals and traded with the Khoisan for cattle and sheep with copper and tobacco. By 1653 the garden allowed the settlers to become self sustainable throughout the year. As the settlement grew, additional farming land was prepared at Rondebosch in 1656. By 1658 nearly every garden plant of Europe and India was already cultivated in the garden, though potatoes and maize were not yet introduced.[3]

Before 1680 the Company's Garden was mainly used to produce vegetables, until Simon van der Stel laid out the ground afresh for the purpose of beautifying the garden. During the 17th century the garden was made famous by writers of various nationalities, claiming that visitors who had seen the most celebrated gardens of Europe and India were agreed that nowhere else in the world was so great a variety of trees and shrubs of vegetables and flowers to be met with together. The garden superintendent and Botanist Hendrik Bernard Oldenland compiled a herbarium which was sent to the Netherlands after his sudden death. In 1770 the 'Catalogue of Plants' was found in possession of Professor Burmann of Amsterdam.[4]

Features in the park[edit]


Image Subject Location Designer/Sculptor Date of unveiling Notes Listing
Cecil John Rhodes

Your hinterland is there

33°55′35.8″S 18°25′02.8″E / 33.926611°S 18.417444°E / -33.926611; 18.417444 (Cecil John Rhones)

Herbert Baker 28 June 1910 –University of Cape Town Newspaper Archives Cape Argus
Japanese Lantern Monument

33°55′33″S 018°25′6″E / 33.92583°S 18.41833°E / -33.92583; 18.41833

Artillery Memorial

33°55′41.8″S 18°24′58.4″E / 33.928278°S 18.416222°E / -33.928278; 18.416222

Delville Wood Memorial

This memorial commemorates the South Africans who died in the Great Wars 1914–1918, 1939–1944.

33°55′41″S 18°24′57.3″E / 33.92806°S 18.415917°E / -33.92806; 18.415917 (Delville Wood Memorial) Herbert Baker 3 November 1930
Major General Sir Henry Timson Lukin

Legion Nile
Born 24 May 1860
Died 16 December 1925
He served his King and beloved by his fellow men

33°55′40.2″S 18°24′56.2″E / 33.927833°S 18.415611°E / -33.927833; 18.415611 (Major General Sir Henry Timson Lukin)

Anton van Wouw March 3, 1932 (University of Cape Town Newspaper Archives Cape Argus).
Sir George Grey K.C.B


33°55′32.3″S 18°25′06.6″E / 33.925639°S 18.418500°E / -33.925639; 18.418500 (Sir George Grey)

William Calder Marshall 1863
AIDS Memorial

33°55′40.1″S 18°24′59.5″E / 33.927806°S 18.416528°E / -33.927806; 18.416528 (AIDS Memorial) 2002
Temperance Memorial

Jesus said whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst But the water that I shall give him shall be in him as a well of that I shall give him shall never thirst water springing up into everlasting life

33°55′35″S 18°25′01″E / 33.92639°S 18.41694°E / -33.92639; 18.41694 (Temperance Memorial) 1861
Field Marshal General Jan Christian Smuts

1870 – 1950

33°55′42.4″S 18°24′59.2″E / 33.928444°S 18.416444°E / -33.928444; 18.416444 (Field Marshal General Jan Christian Smuts)

Sydney Harpley 29 May 1964
Lioness Gateway 33°55′49″S 18°24′52″E / 33.93028°S 18.41444°E / -33.93028; 18.41444 (Lioness Gateway) Anton Anreith 1805

Nearby places of interest[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Company Gardens Cape Town". South African Heritage Resource Agency. Archived from the original on 23 August 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  2. ^ "City's Green Heart Saves Water". Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  3. ^ Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope, January 1656 – December 1658, Riebeeck's Journal &c, H.C.V Leibrandt, Part II, Cape Town 1897.
  4. ^ History of South Africa (1486–1691), G.M. Theal, London 1888

External links[edit]