News from the Foundation of the international gardener exchange

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Peak of Activities marks Anniversary Year

Chile, China, England, Georgia, Germany, Namibia, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the United States. Ten countries will participate in the International Gardeners Exchange programme in 2017, more than ever before. It is proof that our mission has been successfully implemented and that our foundation indeed is a very active one.

But 2017 is a special year for still another reason. It is a year not of just one but of two anniversaries. Thirty years ago, in 1987, Loki Schmidt started the first project of what was to become the gardeners exchange programme; and fifteen years ago, in 2002, our present foundation was established. The first exchange project was not an easy one. Michael Avishai, director of the Jerusalem garden, was looking for an expert to advise them on their new display greenhouse, and Loki Schmidt knew just the right person for this task at the Hamburg Botanical Garden. From the correspondence and newspaper clips kept in the archives of the Helmut und Loki Schmidt Foundation I got a vivid picture of what happened in those days in 1986 and 1987. Using her great natural charm, Loki enthralled celebrities, administrators, politicians and newspaper people in order to get the exchange between the two gardens off the ground. Publisher Friede Springer provided finance and publicity, Hamburg’s university president Fischer-Appelt helped to overcome administrative obstacles, and the mayor of Kassel Hans Eichel agreed to donate tropical plants from their municipal greenhouses. Hamburg gardener Peter Eggers arrived at Tel Aviv airport with numerous boxes of plants destined for the Jerusalem greenhouse. Even though equipped with proper phytosanitary documents, to his horror all plants were confiscated at once by the authorities. It took a personal telegram of the former chancellor Helmut Schmidt to foreign minister Shimon Perez to save at least some of the valuable material from being destroyed. As a side effect of this action, later on they installed a quarantine station for plants at the Tel Aviv airport in order to avoid similar problems in the future. Peter Eggers stayed for two months, and the warm friendship between the Hamburg and Jerusalem gardens is still alive. The first exchange project was a big success.

Soon other travel projects followed. Organized by Loki, a network began to form, with the gardens at Hamburg, Jerusalem, St. Petersburg and Mérida (Venezuela) being its first members. Later others gardens joined. At this stage, all travel projects were financed by private means of Loki Schmidt, for instance from the royalties of the books she had written.

Finally 15 years ago in 2002 our present foundation was established in order to continue the work of Loki Schmidt on a new financial basis. So far as for the history. But what will future bring? Which will be the future role of botanical gardens in a globalized world? Certainly, their core mission will remain unchanged, that is to cultivate plants from different climates and different parts of the world for various needs – for science, education, amenity and conservation. But since the extent and the accessibility of natural plant resources are still dramatically decreasing, botanical gardens must assume an increasing responsibility for the sustainable conservation of their collections, more than ever before. They will not be able to master this task without a highly expert horticultural staff, the promotion of which is the mission of our foundation.

At present most charitable foundations are facing severe problems due to the low interest rates. It is because of the financial commitment of friends and sponsors that our foundation still is able to support the projects of so many dedicated gardens. The donations are made for very different reasons. Some

donors may want to foster further professional horticultural education or international understanding, others do it for the memory of the still much beloved, fabulous late Loki Schmidt. All are helping to promote the vital mission of botanical gardens. What about you? Why not join the friends and patrons of our foundation? It would be a great way to celebrate our double anniversary with us.

Hans-Helmut Poppendieck

Newsletter about our activities in 2015 and 2016

Newsletter 2016_englisch_web.pdf (1.0 MiB)
pour Tillandsias

We are pleased that in 2013, in addition to other projects, we can support a long-standing partnership of Botanical Gardens between Hamburg and Shanghai. In August and September 2013, two gardeners from Shanghai visited the Hamburg Botanical Garden.

A total of 10,000 € for seven projects in the year 2013  were approved at the board meeting of the Foundation in the end of November:


Dresden - Talca (Chile ):

The Botanical Garden of the University of Dresden continues the existing gardeners exchange between Dresden and Talca . A gardener will travel from Dresden to Talca . The cost of room and board in Talca are taken by the University of Talca .

News : The ZEIT-Foundation supports, asked by the international gardener exchange, take over the costs for this exchange !

Potsdam - Medellin (Colombia ) :

The Botanical Garden Potsdam is planning a gardener exchange with the Botanical Garden in Medellin . There is already contact with the garden in Medellin . A gardener from Potsdam will travel to Colombia .

Hamburg - Bucharest :

Traveling from the Botanical Garden Hamburg, two gardeners follow the invitation from the Botanical Garden Bucharest. The Department of crops is the focus . The accommodation provides the Botanical Garden Bucharest.

Hamburg - Appalachian Mountains (USA ):

Two gardeners will go on a two-to three-week collecting trip in the Appalachian Region .

Bonn - England :

For a short  but intense journey, a gardener from the Botanical Garden Bonn will vistit various English gardens for snowdrops bloom .

Bonn - Switzerland :

For a botanical trip to Switzerland, the Foundation supports the travel of two gardeners from the Botanical Garden Bonn.



Travel scholarship for Young Gardeners

For young gardeners are also funds available in 2013 - an application of this is possible at any time. (here the October 15 deadline does not apply!)

The Foundation offers travel grants to students Botanical Gardens or for freshly learned gardener Botanical Gardens. These scholarships can be applied outside of our otherwise applicable time limit, since we assume that arise spontaneously some plans in teaching or shortly thereafter.

Scholarship for Young Gardeners
A new project of our foundation: In the future we will be selected each year for young gardeners who have completed their education at a botanical garden, a scholarship offer as a prize in the amount of 500 euros. The date of application for this scholarship does NOT apply. Applications are accepted at any time for this, because we want to respond flexibly to the young gardeners here.