On the 6th July the Kirstenbosch Branch held its Annual General Meeting in the Old Mutual Conference Hall at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (NBG). The meeting achieved quorum with 123 members present. This meeting marks some changes to the Kirstenbosch Branch Committee with Margaret Kahle, Natie Finkelstein, Bob Von Witt and Philip Howes standing down. All the outgoing committee members are thanked for their excellent service. Three new members joined the committee, namely Mo Dalwai, Carol Cornell and Dayne De Wet. The committee now stands as: Keith Kirsten (Chair), Cathy Jenkins (Vice-Chair), Mo Dalwai (Treasurer), Tom Robbins, Jeremy Wiley, Carol Cornell and Dayne De Wet.
The meeting was opened by new Kirstenbosch NBG Curator Werner Voigt, who started work at Kirstenbosch on the 1st June after moving from the Curator position at Karoo Desert NBG. Werner extended his thanks to the BotSoc volunteer team for their hard work and described his return to Kirstenbosch as ‘a homecoming’. Now that he has had time to settle in Werner looks forward to working with everyone going forward.
Top: Werner Voigt (Curator, Kirstenbosch NBG). Above: Keith Kirsten (Chairman, Kirstenbosch Branch).
The Chairman’s report was delivered by Keith Kirsten. Over the last year there have been some staff changes at the branch office. Catherine Gribble was re-appointed as Branch Manager from 1st November 2018, and Gianpaolo Gilardi, who was initially appointed to coordinate the 2019 Kirstenbosch Plant Fair, has now joined the management team on a permanent basis. Advertising is also currently underway to appoint a bookkeeper to assist with administration, the bookshop and membership.
Above: The Chairman’s Report was delivered by Keith Kirsten.
On the 4th October the branch received a visit from Paul Zammit, Director of Horticulture from Toronto Botanical Gardens. Paul gave us an enlightening presentation on biodiversity and a New Garden Ethic. It is the committee’s intention to invite Paul Zammit for an additional visit for the good of all the BotSoc branches. Over the last year the branch has also hosted several book launches, including ‘Strelitzias of the World’ by Himansu Baijnath and Patricia McCracken and ‘Sand Forest of Maputaland’ by Francois Du Randt.
Top: Margaret Kahle (Outgoing Branch Treasurer). Above: Bob Von Witt (Outgoing Branch Committee member).
On the 4-5th May the Kirstenbosch Plant Fair was relaunched. This was a tremendous success with the community of Cape Town and beyond turning out to enjoy the event. The branch committee, staff and volunteers are thanked for their hard work, without which it wouldn’t have been possible. Next year’s Kirstenbosch Plant Fair will take place on the 4-5thApril 2020.
Above: Tony Rebelo and Adam Harrower advise customers on their plant purchases at the 2019 Kirstenbosch Plant Fair.
On the 10th November 2018, Margaret Kahle and Keith Kirsten attended the national branch convention at Walter Sisulu NBG and on 18th May 2019 current Vice Chair Cathy Jenkins attended a Western Cape regional branch convention. These meetings are an important opportunity to network with members of other branches and receive updates on council and head officer matters.
The Kirstenbosch Branch has recently sponsored a six month internship for plant recording and labelling at Kirstenbosch NBG. The branch is also currently in discussion with Karoo Desert NBG to fund a similar internship there. Although still in progress, SANBI have agreed for the branch to proceed with preliminary research and terms and conditions for solar energy at Kirstenbosch NBG and the SANBI Head Office at Pretoria NBG. This will be a joint project with BotSoc national and spearheaded by the Kirstenbosch Branch under the new collaboration agreement with SANBI.
Above: Kirstenbosch branch committee 2018-19 with branch staff.
The branch is currently liaising with BotSoc national to implement a smooth transition for the Kirstenbosch bookshops back to the branch. Greg Donnelly has been appointed as the new bookshop manager and will start on the job on the 1stAugust. There are a number of new publications that will be brought to you. This will include the revised and updated ‘Wild Flowers of the Cape Peninsula’, ‘Cultures, Cures and Curiosities: Plant lore and legends of the Eastern Cape’ by Tony Dold and Susan Abrahams, SANBI’s Vol 1-3 ‘Flora of the Eastern Cape’ and ‘Flowering Plants of Southern Africa’ Vol 66.
Dee Rees, Marylin Wilford, Dayne De Wet and Mo Dalwai will be working hard alongside other volunteers to make a difference in areas of need in the Western Cape such as Edith Stephens Wetland Park in collaboration with Cape Town Environmental Education Trust, the University of the Western Cape and others. The branch calls upon members who enjoy working with children to help develop the branch’s youth project. For those who are interested in participating please contact the branch office for more information.
Above: Kirstenbosch branch committee and branch staff with newly elected 2019 committee members.
There will be several key member events coming up over the next 12 months so please keep an eye out for upcoming announcements. These include a lecture and book launch of the upcoming publication ‘Cradle of Life’ by Vincent Carruthers to be held in the Old Mutual Conference Hall at Kirstenbosch NBG on the 9th October at 4pm. Over Jan-Mar 2020 the branch will be hosting a botanical art exhibition of the work of Lady Cynthia Tait in the Richard Crowie Hall.
Above: Incoming Kirstenbosch branch committee with branch and national staff.
The Treasurer’s Report was presented by outgoing Treasurer Margaret Kahle who is thanked for her hard work over the last few years. Annual Financial Statements from 2018 and 2019 were presented and accepted. Copies of these documents are available on the branch website. The BotSoc Auditor Annelie Lucas and Finance Manager Crystal Beukes were thanked for their friendly cooperation.
The meeting ended with refreshments and teas, concluding a fabulous event that truly did justice to the hard work and exciting initiatives undertaken over the last year as well as what is to come.