Leon Kluge à Chaumont-sur-Loire, 2015
Considered to be one of the most talented landscape designers in South Africa, poet Leon Kluge worked in Kruger Park and is now based in New Zealand.
Ever since he was a boy, Leon Kluge has nurtured a great affinity for plants; his grandfather was the curator of the Betty’s Bay Botanical Garden and his father was the curator of the Lowveld National Botanical Garden. His mother owns and runs a renowned wholesale nursery in Nelspruit.
On completing his degree in landscape technology, in 2002 he worked on the main display garden at Marvadesh Givatt Brenner Nursery in Israel. From there he progressed to become the head landscape designer for Societe Nel Import and Export Company in Mayotte, Comores Islands. After his return from the Comores, Leon started the award-winning Fever Tree Nursery in Nelspruit. Leon has designed and installed gardens of all sizes from immense commercial landscaping to small residential gardens. His speciality though is the vertical garden - on any scale. The first vertical garden design he spearheaded was for a multi-storey office building in Maputo, Mozambique. His designs (some of which are found in the South African homes of Hollywood celebrities) have been showcased in a range of publications.
Leon shines in the competitive arena. His love of utilising unusual plants in his designs led to his inclusion in the South African team that worked their magic at the 2010, 2012 and 2013 Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea flower show in London. He also worked as the main designer for the COP 17 Legacy Garden on the main display in the Durban Botanical Gardens in 2011. This vertical garden is a 20m dia x 10m high "Living beehive". Highpoints of Leon's career came when he exhibited his design at the Gardening World Cup in Nagasaki, Japan 2011 and 2012, and received a silver medal for South Africa on both occasions.
He is currently designing a range of public gardens which will encompass sustainability and give back to the community. Another impressive feat is a landscaping project in Johannesburg which forms part of a sustainable, green residential project. In this design the garden forms an integral part of the micro climate around the house, which protects the house from heat and preconditions the air around it. This important integration between buildings and nature to reduce electricity and water consumption is the key to successful green living.
Leon Kluge has made a name for himself in South Africa and further afield as a specialist in landscape planning and the design of modern gardens. His passion for horticulture and design takes him all over the world, and judging by his reputation in places like Japan, Great Britain, The Comores Islands, Israel, Namibia and Mozambique, the sky truly is the limit.