I have become increasingly concerned about the poor relations that exist between collectors and the authority of Nature Conservation. The argument that collectors threaten and despoil natural populations is very real and I do not dispute at all that Conservation authorities have a very valid complaint. They have a function to perform. On the other hand there is an interaction between human beings and nature in all its forms that should be fostered to the benefit of both sides.
Nurseries, traders and collectors are as much of the picture as are conservationists, institutions, researchers and landowners. It is unfortunate that there is no non-government party that lobbies for the rights and activities of the former group, but it is not my intention nor within my competence to argue all the aspects of the case.
I strongly believe that people have the right of access to nature in all its forms and the issue is one of individual responsibility and proper consideration of consequences. An appreciation of and sensitivity to nature should be reflected in whatever we do in our lives. My own collecting impulses led me to institutional employment where I could exercise my interest to what I thought were efforts more worthy than my personal interests. From that position I also did try to share and extend privileges to a wider circle. It is in this way that I became involved with Sheilam Nursery. It was not my wish or intention that my collection should have come to be housed there. However, Sheilam has succeeded over a period of nearly 40 years to maintain a fairly true record of my collections obtained as propagated material from the Karoo Garden at Worcester. My offer of permitted collections dating from my revision of Haworthia in 1966 to the Karoo Garden was rejected and for a while resided with Etwin Aslander at Brackenfell. It has since passed to Garth Schwegman at Sheilam who has taken a particular interest in the maintenance and propagation of that collection.