Ten ways to support Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens

One of the core purposes of the Botanical Society of South Africa is to support the work of the National Botanical Gardens. A recent meeting between Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens Curator Berenice Carolus and Tim Attwell, Chairman of the Kogelberg Branch, came up with ten ways for the Kogelberg branch of the Botanical Society to partner with the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens.


  1. Promoting the Garden

Botsoc Kogelberg can help HPNBG by promoting the Garden and encouraging visits among the local public and keeping Botsoc members informed of developments in HPNBG. A ‘critical mass’ of well informed members will help to interpret and explain developments in the Garden.

  1. Monthly HPNBG column in the Newsletter

This will help to develop a critical mass of informed members.

  1. Hospitality and interpretive service

Botsoc members could provide a needed ‘hospitality and interpretive service’ for visitors to the garden on ‘Pensioners Days’ – i.e. the one Tuesday per month when pensioners are admitted to the garden for free and receive discounts in the restaurant and at the plant sales.

  1. Herbarium assistance

Once the herbarium is re-established in the new premises under the leadership of Rose and with her guidance, interested, informed and skilled members may help with preparation of herbarium specimens.

  1. Propagation and potting

Once the builders are off site possibilities will be open for members to help in the propagation and nursery sections under the guidance of HPNBG horticulturist Karen.

  1. Education centre and programme

Possibilities will open up for members to assist Eunice, the HPNBG Education officer, as ‘teaching assistants’ for school groups and other educational programmes. The education programme is coordinated with the CAPS curriculum requirements of the Department of Basic Education. Teacher assistants will receive guidance from Eunice.

  1. Garden guides

To answer the vexed question of what happened to the volunteer garden guide programme, SANBI, under instruction from the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT), is obligated to ensure that guides are formally trained, duly accredited and registered with DEDAT as guides. SANBI employees who guide in the Garden are themselves required to undergo training, which includes First Aid, and be registered as guides with DEDAT – and to wear their DEDAT guide badges when they guide! However, providing ‘hospitality and interpretation’ on pensioner days would not fall under the rubric of ‘guiding’ in the strict sense. Members may, therefore, take groups around the Garden and offer commentary on specific areas, developments and plants in the Garden to enhance the experience of visitors on those days.

  1. Venue for committee meetings and public talks

Curator Bernie Carolus is enthusiastic about Botsoc Kogelberg Committee meetings regularly taking place in the Microfrog Room and Botsoc talks being held in the Nivenia Hall.

  1. Botsoc will provide a new sound system and display stands for Nivenia Hall

Approval for the purchase of these has successfully passed through the SANBI supply chain management processes and is now with the Botsoc Head Office. Payment will be from the Botanical Society of SA Partnership Fund.

  1. Eco centre

The Rooi Els Conservancy Committee is steering the process of setting up displays for the public in the new Eco centre. Botsoc Kogelberg will liaise with Janette Yates of the Rooi Els Conservancy Committee regarding Botsoc Kogelberg’s participation in maintaining the displays.