Audrey Moriarty generously bought the property at 49 Caledon Street next to the Botanical Garden to house the Herbarium. This is now called the Moriarty Environmental Centre and houses the Southern Cape Herbarium with its Quick Guide section, lecture room and Botanical Library, as well as the offices of the Garden Route Botanical Garden and the WESSA (www.wessa.org.za) Educational Office. After her death a further R2 million was allocated to the Garden Route Botanical Garden Trust by her executors.
Her original illustrations have all been scanned by volunteers and visitors will be able to access them in future on the library computer. Representative examples of her work will be framed and displayed in the lecture room at the Centre.
Gerhard Kirsten - PASSIONATE ABOUT ERICAS
The Herbarium houses Gerhard Kirsten's collection of Erica specimens, his collection of reference books and Erica keys. After his death, his collection and notes were donated to the herbarium of the Botanical Society in George in the Southern Cape.
G P K Kirsten (24 April 1931 - 21 March 2000) was a passionate amateur botanist who concentrated on the Erica species. As soon as possible after his collection trips, he pressed the specimens, mounted them on light cardboard, and then documented them. In this way, he built up a considerable collection of Erica specimens, taken from their natural habitat.
He teamed up with Mr Dolf Schumann who also had an interest in the Erica species and wanted to create a photographic record of all the South African species to co-author book on Ericas in collaboration with Ted Oliver. They eventually collected enough material to be able to publish “Ericas of South Africa” - the most comprehensive illustrated work on the genus.
Gerhard was very pleased with his discoveries of long lost species - Erica ixanthera and E. botryoides, both last seen in the early 1800s. Erica kirstenii and E. gerhardii from near Hermanus were named after him. Erica amicorum, a new species discovered by Gerhard and Dolf, was named after their friendship.