(1) Welcome and apologies
Matthew Jebb, Chairman of the Board, welcomed all those present.
Apologies for absence had been received from Hugh Angus, Lawrence Banks, Wolfgang Bopp, Nigel Brown, Alasdair Hood, Ros Johnson, Tom Keay, Leigh Morris, Mark Sparrow, Harvey Stepehens, Steve Waldren, John Watkins and Nicholas Wray.
(2) Minutes of the Tenth Annual General Meeting
Minutes of the meeting held on 19 April 2006 at the Swallow St George Hotel, Harrogate, had been sent out with PlantNetwork Newsletter 31, in August 2006, and were approved.
(3) Report for the year to 31 March 2007, by Matthew Jebb, Chairman of the Board
Meetings: A full programme of meetings had been held, including conferences, forum groups and other training days. All had been well attended, and talks and reports had been posted on the website. The meetings in 2007 were supported by funding awarded by the Garfield Weston Foundation in February 2007.
Sustainability of Horticultural Practices
Harrogate and RHS Garden Harlow Carr, 19– 21 April 2006
Reconciling Old Collections with New Ideas
Quinta Arboretum, near Congleton, Cheshire, 9 May 2006
Garden Maintenance on a Low Budget
Technical Training Day
University of Dundee Botanic Garden, 31 May 2006
Focusing your Glasshouse Collections
National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, 8 June 2006
Landscaping Design Issues within a Plant Collection
Hergest Croft Garden, Kington, Herefordshire, 18 October 2006
Electronic Data Capture and Dissemination
University of Hertfordshire, Bayfordbury, 7–9 November 2006
Technical Training Day
Cambridge University Botanic Garden, 22 February 2007
How Low Can You Go?
National Botanic Garden of Wales, 21 March 2007
Projects: Work had continued on the Target 8 Project, with 16 gardens growing, or planning to grow, more than 50 threatened native species. More gardens would be encouraged to take part in the coming year.
The website http://plantnetwork.org had developed further during the year, and included reports from meetings as well as information on forthcoming meetings. The chairman would welcome members’ suggestions for the site.
Publications: A booklet on Guidelines on Legislation, Import Practices and Plant Quarantine for Botanic Gardens and Kindred Institutions, compiled by Helen Long, Fiona Inches and Katie Treseder, was published in December 2006. It was based on discussions and information presented at a meeting of the PlantNetwork Glasshouse Forum held at the Eden Project in July 2004 and a training day run for PlantNetwork by the Central Science Laboratory in 2005. Funded by the John Spedan Lewis Foundation, it had been made available as a downloadable file on the PlantNetwork website and as a hard-copy printed version. Judy Cheney had continued to compile and edit an excellent newsletter for members, three times a year.
Membership: In the year 2006/07, there were 177 members (94 gardens and organisations, and 83 personal members).
(4) Accounts for the year to 31 March 2006
The accounts for the year to 31 March 2007 had not yet been audited. Copies of the audited accounts would be available on request from the PlantNetwork office later in the year. A positive balance of approximately £5500 was expected, mostly as a result of conference donations and a total of £6500 awarded by the John Spedan Lewis Foundation and the Garfield Weston Foundation. Subscription income remained at just over £16 000. The underlying gap between basic income and expenditure remained at £10 000 to £11 000 per year, and so fundraising remained a priority. A reserves policy had been drawn up (as required by the Charity Commission), enabling PlantNetwork to function for at least 12 months if funds became limiting.
Subscription rates had remained unchanged since April 2005; they would rise by 8–10% on 1 April 2008, endeavouring to retain rates for individual membership as low as possible.
Critchleys, of Greyfriars Court, Paradise Square, Oxford, was appointed as auditor for a further year.
(5) Election of officers to the Board of Trustees
The Articles of Association of the Company require one-third of Board members to retire at each AGM; they may stand for re-election. Pamela Smith, Steve Waldren, John Watkins and Nicholas Wray retired from the Board. Rosamund Johnson, Thomas Keay and Harvey Stephens were elected and Pamela Smith and Nicholas Wray were re-elected to the Board.
(6) Matthew Jebb thanked Steve Waldren and John Watkins for all the help and advice they had given while on the Board, it had been much appreciated.
David Rae thanked Matthew Jebb and the Board of Trustees for all they had done during the year. It was all too easy to take this for granted, but the combination of a good chairman, executive and Board resulted in a professionally run organisation.
The meeting closed at about 6.00pm.