The land on which the garden is situated was once part of the farm Braamfontein, which dated back to 1853.In 1886, a farmer called Louw Geldenhuys bought a portion of Braamfontein Farm and named it after Emmarentia, the woman he married in 1887.

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Now it consists of large, grassy, open spaces scattered with trees and used by runners, picnickers and dog walkers.

It hosts the occasional concert season and kite-flying competitions.

In all, 42 families of plants are incorporated into the design based on suitable sites for the majority of species within the families.

The families, comprising South African and exotic species of trees, are the framework around which shrubs and perennials are added to complete both the aesthetic and botanical picture.

A Podocarpus forest – of evergreen trees and shrubs – with representatives from around the world is growing apace.

It is sheltered by pine nurse trees at present, but these will eventually be removed.

By 2009, apart from the area east of the southern lakes which has been left under natural veld grass and bog, and the Rose Garden, the whole area was contoured to existing levels, grassed with kikuyu and half of the pathways paved.

The pathways are so designed that all parts of the garden can be visited without the need to backtrack.

Ten-year planting plans have been drawn up for two large sections of the garden and work on the development of these areas continues on a yearly basis.