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Then, on 19 November 1968, a report by the director of the parks and recreation department was submitted to the management committee of the Johannesburg city council on the feasibility of establishing of a botanical garden.In response, the management committee resolved that "a botanic garden be established at Jan van Riebeeck Park and that the parks and recreation department continue with the development of a botanic garden as indicated in the report".A Podocarpus forest – of evergreen trees and shrubs – with representatives from around the world is growing apace.

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The gardens contain an attractive mix of bunched indigenous and exotics surrounded by lawns, overlooking the 7,5-hectare Emmarentia Dam, which dates back to the turn of the century, popular with canoeists and boaters.

The total area of land for development was 81 hectares; Joburg got its garden, even though the 19th century enthusiasm for botanical gardens had waned.

The garden's master plan gives a broad outline of the botanical layout.

The 81-hectare Botanical Garden form one of Johannesburg’s vital green lungs.

The land for the gardens was set aside in 1969 – at the time it was a sports field and golf driving range consisting of bare veld and no trees.