The Tswana “Tshimo” Educational Garden
Designed by: Chris van Niekerk
Installation by: NWU (North West University) Botanical Garden
The Tswana garden is a combination of different “tshingwana” (micro-gardens) that form the main elements in the layout. The “tshingwana” that comprise the garden layout can be divided into six micro-gardens types, namely: Food garden, Medicinal garden, Ornamental garden, Structural species (windbreaks and hedges), Open area (lebala) and Natural area (naga). Other functional elements within the garden layout include: A lawn area, Shade trees (and Ubuntu tree), Orchard, Container plantings, Fire screen, Entrance gate and livestock holding area.
1. Aloe greatheadii
Traditional uses: The leaf sap can be used to treat burns, sores or wounds.
2. Ziziphus mucronata
Traditional uses: Many medical remedies are made from various parts of the plant due to their antifungal properties. The edible, ground berries can be used as a coffee substitute.
Inspiration for the Garden
From a western (urban) perspective, a domestic garden is considered as a luxury space around the house used for “relaxation”. These gardens are used for the cultivation of ornamental plants, entertainment, play areas for kids and the enjoyment of family pets. In contrast to western gardens, rural gardens serve a different purpose. The main function of urban gardens is “to support” the livelihood of the family. The garden is primarily used for food production, growth/collection of medicinal species and spiritual rituals. Gardens of indigenous cultures are often considered to be spontaneous and disorganized, but there are definite structural elements within each garden. The Tswana “tshimo” (home garden) is a potential model of sustainable resource management.
Thanks to the following sponsors for making this garden possible:
Fertilizer: Talborne Organics
Bark Mulch: Bark Unlimited