Here he was referring to a new, more public support group for the Garden – one that took no time for the great and the good of Cape Town to establish. Within days, on 10 June 1913, a large public meeting chaired by the mayor of Cape Town resolved to establish a National Botanical Society. The government, too, was quick to respond – Kirstenbosch Estate was transferred to the Board of Trustees on 1 July 1913. The National Botanic Gardens of South Africa had been established.
Among the objects of the Botanical Society, one is of particular relevance to the Garden’s success: To augment the government grants towards developing, improving and maintaining fully equipped botanical gardens, laboratories, experimental gardens, etc. at Kirstenbosch’.
Round Trip Flights To Kirstenbosch Photo Gallery
We have already seen how the BotSoc’, as it is affectionately known, played a critical role in raising funds for both general operational costs and several major projects during the Garden’s formative years. Faced with a challenging shopping list’ of projects to champion, the Kirstenbosch branch of the Society led the Kirstenbosch Development Campaign fund-raising drive from 1990 to 2000, mobilised by its dynamic chairperson, Kay Bergh. The full story of the Campaign has been described in chapter 5 (see page 102). but it is worth recounting a few anecdotes of how good timing and good luck’ contributed to its success.
Early on in the planning of the Campaign, it was noted that one benefactor to the Garden had left a cheque for R50 000 at the Garden office, as an unspecified donation. When approached over a cup of tea as to how she would like to see the money allocated, Mary Mullins replied Anything that is good for the Garden. And I like round numbers, let me give you another R50 000’. By the end of her 90-plus years’ association with the Garden she had donated over R1 750 000 to the Campaign!
In early 1992, another friend of the Garden, Alec MacGregor, called in one morning in response to an article in the Society’s magazine Veld & Flora, in which a request for funding for the Garden’s blog collection had been made. In discussion, Alec agreed to sponsor a computer, but asked if there might be something else needed. When it was mentioned that Kirstenbosch really needed a library, he replied We do libraries’. Within a month, the Harry Molteno Trust, of which MacGregor was Chair, committed nearly R1 million towards a library in the new Kirstenbosch Research Centre.
Such has been the pattern of support that the Garden has enjoyed from those who know it and love it. But the web of friends needed to be expanded.