Jeany Poulsen Tribute Fund

12.11.1952 – 15.02.2016

Jeany Poulsen

Jeany was a much loved member of the close knit local community and known for her warmth, kindness and lovely sense of humour.

Jeany was wife of journalist and landscape photographer Ian and mother of Zoë, who is currently undertaking her PhD in botany and ecology at the University of Cape Town in close collaboration with the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust (ORCT). Zoë was the first student to build collaboration with the OLCT soon after it was founded by conservationist Dr. Odette Curtis. She is also one of the authors of the Trust’s blog.

Over the last few years Jeany and Ian, with help of regular updates from Zoë, have been close followers and supporters of the Trust’s work, including in particular the development of the new research and visitor’s centre at Haarwegskloof Renosterveld Reserve in the eastern Overberg. Thanks to all those who supported the development of the Centre the place is now thriving and humming with activity with visitors both local and global for research to relaxation. After several wonderful visits to South Africa and its beautiful Overberg region, Jeany became acquainted with the extraordinary and highly conservation-worthy natural history of the area and was looking forward one day to returning once more to visit the Centre and Haarwegskloof Renosterveld Reserve. Sadly, it was not to be and she never was able to make that journey.

Jeany was described by friends as the “Beatrix Potter” of west Dorset (part of England’s Westcountry region), spending 30 years living with husband Ian and daughter Zoë in the small village of Portesham at the heart of Thomas Hardy country. She was a trained archaeologist and incredibly skilled writer and artist, who spent much of her life documenting the natural beauty and history of the world around her through her work. Jeany was a much loved member of the close knit local community and known for her warmth, kindness and lovely sense of humour. She always was very much involved in local affairs, from making sure the Chesil magazine winged its way safely from a huge box in our front porch to all those who received it to reviewing and publicising local live arts events who came to us from as far afield as Prince Edward Island and Mongolia.

Jeany also had a great interest in wild flowers and often on family walks in Dorset with Finn the West Highland Terrier would find and share gems from Bee Orchids to fields of wild Cowslips. When Zoë developed a similar interest in plants at an early age Jeany worked hard to nurture that knowledge. She encouraged Zoë in her endeavours and work in various prominent botanic gardens which brought her into contact with plant collections from all over the world and in particular from South Africa’s Cape Floristic Region (CFR), known for its unparalleled botanical diversity. This sparked a life changing interest which later led Zoë to make the move from northern to southern hemisphere, now having lived in Cape Town at the heart of the CFR for more than five years.

After Zoe’s move to Cape Town to further her studies, Jeany and Ian visited regularly, and it was a long held dream of Jeany’s to visit South Africa’s Namaqualand in spring to see the spectacular and vast displays of wild flowers there. This dream came to fruition with several days spent near Nieuwoudtville visiting the extraordinary Hantam National Botanic Garden and its beautiful Renosterveld. On an earlier trip she had also been introduced to the beauty and diversity of the Renosterveld of the Overberg region through walking in the springtime veld near the village of Napier.

It made sense therefore that when several years later Zoë started to collaborate with the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust that Jeany closely followed and supported both this partnership and the vital work that the Trust undertakes in conserving this beautiful, highly endangered habitat, known for its plethora of beautiful wild flowers that bloom in profusion during spring. It seems fitting to have this tribute fund, named after Jeany, to help support the Trust in continuing their vital conservation work to ensure that what remains of the Overberg’s Renosterveld survives in perpetuity for future generations to come.

“So many very fond memories of Jeany over the years.” Piers and Rosalind

“A very special, much loved lady, who will be very much missed by many in Portesham and much further afield. We will remember you with love.” Liz Draper

“Very sorry to hear of Jeany’s passing, and deepest condolences to Ian, Zoe and family.” Michael Duggan

“I have been truly blessed by being allowed into your life at this most precious of times. Your honesty and courage when times got tough was breathtaking. Your joy in life continued almost up to the end with your walks in your beloved landscape. Your sensitivity and love for animals, birds, plants, flowers and for your fellow men, was inspiring. I was always greeted by your lovely smile that lit up your face, despite your challenges.  As your body deteriorated, your spirit shone. With love.” Sue Caddy

“Jeany, such a bright creative friend. Such humour in her writing and conversation, a wonderful painter (who outshone us all at the Cerne Valley drawing and painting sessions!). Such delight in the countryside and all its ingredients, flowers, landscape and sky, with an eye for the everyday but a special knowledge and appreciation of the specific detail – a person who ‘noticed such things’. I shall miss her warmth hugely but shall treasure many memories of happy times together….” Katharine Hayens

“Go back to the Spring of 1984 when  I had just returned from a purportedly ‘academic’ trip to the West of Ireland which I had to write up. I had found a suitably pretentious title and knew pretty much what needed saying, but really how to present it – no idea….. I had heard of Jeany’s meticulous archaeological reports and knew she would be the perfect editor, and she very kindly agreed to take me on. Several very rigorous sessions later the job was done and I can testify to her fantastic eye for detail, rigorous sense of structure and overall encouragement. So a brilliant editor, as well as writer and commentator on the everyday.” Ian Scott

“Although we didn’t see Jeany often we always thought of her with great affection. We always smile when we think about her. Lots of love always XXX” Rachel, Alex, Hannah and Pat

“For Jeany – Thank-you for your friendship…for your open door and open ears, your patient listening and support in troubled times. Thank-you for your sense of humour, your beautiful paintings and photographs and your wonderful book. For your knowledge and interest in all things natural around us so willingly shared. And lastly for your bravery and cheerfulness through all the last years and months which has made visiting you such a pleasure as well as the sadness”. Barbara


Donate any amount via PayPal:

Or contact Odette at or call + 27 (0) 83 551 3341 to request the Trust’s bank details. 

POULSEN, Jeany Caroline

Passed away at Dorset County Hospital on 15/02/2016 aged 63. She was dearly loved by her family and many friends.

Donations in lieu of flowers to Weldmar Hospicecare Trust, Fortuneswell Cancer Trust and the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust.

She will be much missed.

 “Jeany was so positive in her love of the countryside and sharing the beauty of your walks”. Shirley and Raymond

“Sending our sincere condolences on the loss of Jeany. We will always remember her and her love of nature and wildlife and will miss our chats over the fence about those things”. Sue and Tony

“Jeany was a good friend to me since we were at Reading 35 years ago. Her warmth, humour and perception made her special. Rob and I will always be grateful that she introduced us to her beloved south Dorset and then enabled us to explore virtually every footpath during our cat sitting holidays. We will miss her”. Sue and Rob

“I have just heard today of your sad, very sad news about Jeany. She was one of the favourite people around my family, especially years ago when she lived with us on Colliton Street. Jeany was special, so gentle and kind, with such a lovely sense of humour. She has always been in my thoughts and heart”. Daphne

“I am so sorry to hear about Jeany…. Even though we didn’t see each other often I have fond memories of her. One day there she was stopping the traffic so that the ducklings could cross the road. We held up the traffic for a bit longer so that we could catch up! Jeany was such a gentle person and kindly to everyone. I shall never forget the walk at Abbotsbury and identifying all the flowers”. Jane (Yeomans)

“She was such a lovely gentle woman and I remember her with great affection. Her smile was one that lingered in my memory long after seeing her”.

“As I was reflecting over recent days, and I’m sure not the only one, I was reminded of Jeany’s very particular ability to notice and describe moments in time. It always seemed that for her the detail of the everyday was not ordinary or mundane but an opportunity to catch the world unawares and unprepared. She delighted in the detail. She had the gift, in her letters, her writings, her pictures and of course her conversation, to hold in time an otherwise unobserved moment, and to affectionately observe it with all its wonder, humour and absurdity. I often remember such moments and find myself smiling”. Roger Stanbridge

“For Jeany – you will be missed.” Dave & Cathy

“We first met cousin Jeany while on an exchange in Kent, in 1979. She was completing an Archaeological project, the result of a Summer dig in some warmer climes, but was condemned to sort the results in the freezing dungeons at Dover Castle. She stayed with us for a few weeks, travelling back and forth doggedly in the snow, facing frequent train disruptions, but never groused or stopped smiling. Over the years we have met up with each other perhaps 4/5 times, but always looked forward to receiving her delightful letters and cartoons (often of Finn, the Terrier). We shall miss her humorous observations  immensely. Ka kite ano.” Vaughan and Gillian Preece

“The words of BB best convey our sense of Jeany and our shared childhood which created such a special bond that lasted all our lives:

The wonder of the world

The beauty and the power

The shape of things,

Their colours, light and shades

These I saw,

Look ye also while life lasts.” 

John & Fran, Ann, Lindy & Rodney, Chris & June, Wendy & Brian

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