Friends' News January 2012
News and feature articles from the Botanic Garden
Clematis seedheads by Juliet Day Friends’ News A new milestone In the last decade, annual visitor numbers to the Botanic Garden have more than doubled, and in 2011 passed 200,000 for the first time in the Garden’s 165 year history. The extraordinarily dry spring and Indian summer of early autumn will undoubtedly have contributed to the record visitor numbers, but the completion of the awardwinning Sainsbury Laboratory earlier this year also allowed the Garden to make some significant improvements for visitors, including opening the beautiful new Garden Café and staffing the ticket offices year round. Garden management and hortictultural staff have also been working hard to ensure an inspirational year-round offering. The Winter Garden is key to this, but the new spring bulb belt which should have thickened up well in this, its second year, is another example of enriching the attraction at times other than the peak summer visiting months. Howard Rice In total, over 205,000 people visited last year. Not only does the Garden today attract record visitor numbers, but the audience profile has diversified significantly since the days, longgone, when only University-nominated keyholders were allowed in on Sundays and perambulators were not permitted in the Garden! Today, the Garden welcomes over 9000 school children every year, and runs family festivals and events through the holidays. With partners across the City, the Garden is involved in new projects like Bioblitz, which invited the public to help survey the wildlife at the Garden, while the brief of the Sainsbury Community Arts project is to deliver inspirational learning and recreational opportunities for a wide range of groups. Recent projects reported in Friends’ News have included a sculpture workshop inspired by foliage and textures of the tropical collections for visually-impaired Cambridge residents; The Magic Brick Tree, a captivating children’s book inspired by the tree collection, was written and illustrated by young carers from Centre 33, (see page 7); and, a pop music video, was devised and filmed by children from the Red Balloon Centre, an alternative school for bullied children. Dr Upson, Curator and Acting Director, summed it up: We have a twin mission at the Botanic Garden: to look after the plant collections of the University of Cambridge, and to make them available for everyone to enjoy in this green oasis for the City, and we look forward to welcoming visitors through the winter and into 2012, whether it’s just for a bit of fresh air and exercise, for a moment of calm or solace, for homegardening ideas or to develop expert plant knowledge. 30th anniversary celebration drinks Please join us on the Main Lawn and in the Glasshouse Range on Thursday 24 May 2012 for drinks, canapés and music in a joyful celebration of the invaluable support the Friends have given to the Garden over the last three decades. You will find the ticket application on the enclosed booking form. The Garden is very popular with families Visually-impaired Cambridge residents enjoyed a sculpture workshop inspired by the tropical collections Friends’ News – Issue 88 – January 2012 Welcome Last year proved record breaking in many ways. We had welcomed over 200,000 visitors for the first time and we are thrilled that so many have been able to enjoy the Garden and its plants. Less welcome records relate to the unusual weather this year: an incredibly dry spring and one of the warmest autumns on record led to one of the driest ever years, and brought many plants forward in their owering. Walking through the Winter Garden in November I was shocked to see Winter Sweet, Chimonanthus praecox, fully in flower, a plant I have seen just beginning to bloom at Christmas and more traditionally associated with the Chinese New Year in February. A full account of this strange weather year can be found as the centre spread feature. It also proved an extremely busy year, one of the highlights being the opening of the Sainsbury Laboratory by Her Majesty the Queen. As with any new building there have been ongoing snags and we should have finally closed these works by Christmas. So many have enjoyed the Café this year we will have extra furniture coming in the New Year to increase seating, plus more storage capacity located nearby. The spring planting season should see the final landscaping works completed around the Station Road Gate and across the Research Plots on the Experimental section. As we look forward to this coming year we will celebrate several anniversaries, including the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Friends of CUBG. The Friends remain key to the success of the Garden, helping us not only to maintain the collections and open them to the public, but also helping to underpin our outreach programme. A particularly important aspect is enabling the many school visits and also reaching out to groups in the community who may not have felt welcome or may be unable to visit. It is also 60 years since the founding of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden Association, an alumni organisation for those employed by the Garden. The meetings are always a great chance to meet old friends and I always take the opportunity to ask about past works in the Garden and discover the stories behind many of the features we enjoy today. I am still intrigued by the defunct lawnmowers apparently buried somewhere in the new area of the Garden. We hope to capture some of these memories for prosperity this year through an oral history project. It will also be the 250th Anniversary of the founding of the original Botanic Garden in 1762 located on what is now the New Museum site. The land was given ‘for the purpose of a public Botanic Garden’ so it seems appropriate that the current Garden continues to be such a popular place for the people of Cambridge. The recruitment of a new Director has proved unsuccessful this year. As I write, the University remains committed to filling this post and are currently reviewing options. In the meantime I will continue to oversee the running of the Garden as Acting Director. Dr Tim Upson, Curator and Acting Director 40 years of service On Tuesday 13 December, Alan Langley, who currently heads the Glasshouse Section and is the chief pruner of the iconic Jade Vine, celebrated forty years of working at the Botanic Garden. Al came to the Garden on a one-year contract to grow Stephania japonica for research into its potential use as a cancer drug. An opportunity arose to join the permanent staff and stay on - and on, and on! Over the years, Al has worked on nearly all the horticultural teams from Systematics to Woodland, but his heart lies with plants under glass and in particular the carnivorous collections. Alan has also contributed much to Emma Daintrey Voicing the Garden Inspired by 60 years of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden Association for current and former staff, and by 30 years of the Friends of Cambridge University Botanic Garden, both of whose anniversaries fall in 2012, we are currently planning an oral history project called Voicing the Garden. Its purpose is to understand the landscape heritage of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden through the words of those who conceived and made it, and those who visit and enjoy it, and to share these insights via a new archive that will be published on the Garden’s website. While we are just at the development and fundraising stage, I would be particularly grateful to hear from any Friends who might like to take part and be interviewed for the archive. I am particularly keen to hear from any Friends who have been visiting down the generations, perhaps with their children or grandchildren, so that we can understand more fully how the admission system has changed from that of an exclusive system of Sunday key holders to the wide and widening audience base of today. I would also be grateful to hear from any new Friends who have just discovered the Garden to record their first impressions. If you could help with Voicing the Garden, please do get in touch with me at 1 Brookside, Cambridge, CB2 1JE or firstname.lastname@example.org the life of the Garden. He has organised barbeques and parties for staff – many have proved legendary – and has made great contributions to our education programme. You will no doubt have seen him manning the stand on Science Day or organising sales at our Apple Days, and he has even got into the spirit of events by dressing as a gardener from 100 years ago. The achievement was marked by a gathering of staff and the cutting of an enormous cake beautifully decorated with garden tools, fruit, flowers and vegetables. Emma Daintrey Al Langley, centre, celebrates 40 years at the Garden, as conﬁrmed by his personalised plant label! (inset) Friends’ News – Issue 88 – January 2012 Juliet Day, Development Officer Twilight & Fairtrade highlights Sir Cam Flower tours Tim Upson The High Atlas, Morocco. The Glasshouse Range will be specially illuminated for Twilight 2012 Our outreach calendar has many highlights, but over the next few months two have special stories. Held on the evening of Wednesday 15 February, during the school half-term holiday, Twilight 2012 is a major collaboration between the Cambridge collections that presents a special evening of fun, family activities. So dress in your brightest clothing and bring along a torch to find your way across the city. This year, you can explore a storytelling tent at The Polar Museum, spot dinosaurs at the Sedgwick, animal skeletons at Zoology and iconic statues at Classical Archaeology. Find your way through the foliage in the Glasshouse Range, unlock secret codes at the Whipple Museum and experiment with after dark photography at the Museum of Technology. Or enjoy seaside themed storytelling and treasure hunting at Kettle’s Yard and shadow puppet and magic lantern making at the Folk Museum! For detailed event information, booking details and updates please visit www.cam.ac.uk/twilight This year as one of our Saturday family activities we have chosen to highlight Fairtrade Fortnight. We already teach a workshop for school visitors called ‘Go Bananas’, which allows pupils to find out about Britain’s favourite fruit. Most importantly the children learn about the banana’s journey from the field to our tables, including how we can help farmers receive a fair price for their bananas by buying Fairtrade products. On 3 March we are inviting families to come and plant a cotton seed to take home and grow on. Cotton is the world’s most widely grown and used fibre, accounting for approximately 2.5% of the world’s arable land. Small farmers find it difficult to compete with growers in the developed world, so the Fairtrade system was established in 2005 for farmers initially in Senegal, Mali and Cameroon. Cotton has played an important part in the history of weaving in this country. In the late middle-ages, cotton was a luxury fabric and more expensive than silk. A wonderful and ridiculous tale exists from the writing of John Mandeville in 1350: ‘There grew there [India] a wonderful tree which bore tiny lambs on the endes of its branches. These branches were so pliable that they bent down to allow the lambs to feed when they are hungrie’. We hope you will bring the family and enjoy planting a seed and finding out more about cotton on 3 March 2012 In association with wildlife Travel, Dr Tim Upson will again be leading wildflower tours to Morocco (10–17th March) and Ecuador (October) in 2012. Morocco stretches from the Mediterranean in the north to the Sahara in the south, a fascinating melting pot of wildlife with Mediterranean, Canary Island and African influences. We visit the succulent Euphorbia scrub and wetlands along the Atlantic coast including the Oued Massa national park and the chance to see the extremely rare Bald Ibis, through to the semi-desert vegetation of the Anti-Atlas and its palmeries. Local walks and visits to an Argan oil co-operative and the attractive town of Taroudant provide a glimpse into local Berber culture. Lying on the Equator, the small country of Ecuador is bisected by the Andes providing a mosaic of habitats from cloud forests to arid valleys and montane slopes, biodiversityrich. Amongst the plants to discover are heliconias, bromeliads, passion flowers, fuchsias and, of course, many orchids. Accommodation throughout is at attractive lodges surrounded by rich birdlife including jewel-coloured hummingbirds and the itinerary takes in several national parks ranging from the alpine habitats of the Paramo to the western edges of the Amazon. Wildlife Travel helps funds conservation work in local rainforest reserves with carbon compensation benefit. For more details please contact Wildlife Travel on 01954 713575 or visit www.wildlife-travel.co.uk for details. Fascination of Plants Day On 18 May 2012, the Botanic Garden will be joining in the first international Fascination of Plants Day. The ability to synthesise their own food directly from sunlight has enabled plants to successfully colonise, evolve and diversify within almost every niche on the planet and biologists estimate the total number of plant species to be about 250,000. Launched under the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO – www.epsoweb.org), Brussels, the Fascination of Plants Day aims to remind us all that plant science is of critical significance to the social, environmental and economic landscape now and into the future. Working with colleagues from the Department of Plant Sciences and from Science and Plants for Schools, we will be putting on a huge variety of plant-based activities so come along on 18 May and join in. Friends’ News – Issue 88 – January 2012 Weather 2011 2011 proved to be the second driest year since 1900. In this annual weather review, John Kapor, Systematics Supervisor and ‘The Weatherman’, summarises the conditions each month, gives some historical context to the exceptional drought, and indicates what it meant for the horticultural activity at the Garden. Last winter was a winter of two halves, with the very cold snowy December 2010 being followed by a much milder January and February 2011. Overall, January was wetter than average, but most of the rain fell in the first 17 days, with only 2.4mm falling in the remainder of the month, heralding the onset of an exceptional and sustained dry period. Frosts were more limited over the month and a few snow flurries fell on one day. February was on the drier side in Cambridge, and the precipitation was all rain or drizzle, with no snow down to sea level. It was a dull month and on the mild side. There were 14 days with a maximum day temperature in double figures, with limited air frost on two days only. The month ended on a cool note. March was a very dry month, there was only 0.8mm up to the 30th, then a couple of weak fronts crossed us and gave some light rain allowing the month’s total to struggle to 3.0mm. The conditions meant that for the first time, we think, the three acres of Systematic Beds were all hoed over by the end of March! The temperature reached 18°C on a couple of occasions. April was also exceptionally dry with only 1.7mm of rainfall, lower even than the 1.9mm that fell in April 2007. The March and April combined rainfall was 4.7mm. A look back through the records shows that the next lowest totals for these two months are 14.0mm in 1938 and 19.1mm in 1997. In some parts of Cambridgeshire the combined March/April rainfall was the lowest for at least 163 years. May continued the dry theme. Spring is usually an intense period of plant growth and horticultural activity, but with a total of only 21.1mm rain for March, April and May combined, the spring bulbs and blossom were over in an instant. The drying winds of May exacerbated the situation, and the month saw several ground frosts. June turned out a bit wetter than average (the first month to be wetter than average since January). Although wetter, evaporation is high at this time of year so overall conditions remained on the dry side, but it was nice to see the grass green up again. The maximum temperature this year of 31.9°C was reached on the 27th June, the hottest day since July 2006, and the 27th also saw the warmest night this year with 17.6°C. Friends’ News – Issue 88 – January 2012 Monthly rainfall in mm 2007-2011 Annual rainfall totals in mm Max and min temperatures °C 2011 Juliet Day July was another dry month, with a maximum temperature of 26.4 °C on the 5th. August was one of the few months with around average rainfall. The month got off to a warm start and got close to 30°C on a couple of days, but in contrast the grass minimum dropped to 3.9°C on the 19th. A large part of the month was on the cool side with quite a lot of cloud at times. September brought an Indian summer!! During the week beginning 26th September, warm air and unbroken sunshine meant that temperatures continued to rise. Unfortunately, during this period, the Garden’s maximum thermometer was not functioning correctly, so the data used is from the roof of the main AT&T Laboratory building in Cambridge, which records: • • • • • • 25.7°C on 28/9/1 28.3°C on 29/9/11 28.7°C on 30/9/11 29.1°C on 1/10/11 28.3°C on 2/10/11 27.8°C on 3/10/11 heavy with leaf, and the Garden was closed due to high winds on the afternoon of 14th September. Much of October felt more like summer than autumn – even the last day of the month reached 17.8°C. The ground was dessicated to quite a significant depth – not great for the autumn planting programme, but very good for hoeing late into the season! November was another dry month despite the 21.9mm that fell on the 3rd, indicating that we were likely to record an annual total of well under 400mm for this year, significantly below the 30-year average annual rainfall of 557 mm (calculated with figures from 1970-2000). It was a mild month with a maximum of 17.6°C, and on only one day did the temperature fail to reach double figures. The mean maximum was 13.5°C. There were also some mild nights, with the highest minimum being 11.8°C. There was only one air frost and five ground frosts, which meant a slow but steady fall of the autumn leaves. December saw about average rainfall which added somewhat to the low annual rainfall. It was a very mild month with 13.0°C reached on three days. There was one day when some wet snow fell but it readily thawed on reaching the warmer ground. So the rainfall total for the year was 380.4mm, making 2011 the second driest year since 1900. The unsually dry and warm autumn meant that hoeing was possible very late in the season Howard Rice 2011 was the second driest year since 1900 These are exceptional temperatures for this time of year and long-standing records for individual days were broken on numerous occasions in a number of places. Rainfall was about half the average, so with the combination of warm weather and low rainfall, there were a lot of very dry, early autumn leaves on the ground. There was also quite a windy spell during the month when several trees lost some branches, since they were still John Kapor, Systematics Supervisor Wild about nature, whatever the weather? When the call came from the Woodland Trust for enthusiastic people interested in nature to continue a critical 300 year biological record, we naturally thought of the Friends! Nature’s Calendar is a UK on-line record that maps how our wildlife and habitats are responding to seasonal and climate changes. It is the longest written biological record of its kind. Records regularly uncover patterns of change. For example, compared to just 30 years ago insects are seen on average three weeks earlier, plant growth is up to two weeks earlier and bird activity is a week earlier. To continue this vital work, a core group of 500 volunteer recorders is being recruited. You could form part of this network and oﬃcially note your observations for the bene t of UK wildlife and habitats. In spring this could mean noting insect or bird activity, the lea ng of trees, or owering. In autumn it could be departing migratory birds, autumn fruits and leaf colours. This is the science of phenology. Indeed, such is the importance of Nature’s Calendar, it is also known as the UK Phenology Network.And of course, all of this recording work could be undertaken in the Botanic Garden! The 24 hour Bioblitz last July revealed some of the diversity of wildlife that the Garden supports, and the diverse habitats from dense tree cover to nectar-rich herbaceous plantings do make a great base for participating in one of the many national wildlife surveys that go on through the year. For example, the RSPB is urging people to join in the Big Garden Birdwatch over the weekend of 28-29 January 2012. The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) network, whose aim is to inspire a new generation of nature-lovers by getting people to explore, study, enjoy and protect their local environment, are asking for help in logging the biodiversity of hedges. Later in the year, the Big Butter y Count takes place. All of these initiatives need your help in recording sightings, and many oﬀer identi cation advice and downloadable spotter sheets. To become a Nature’s Calendar recorder, and receive a free starter pack: www.naturescalendar.org.uk/expertrecorders To join in the Big Garden Birdwatch http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/ To help with hedges: http://www.opalexplorenature.org/BiodiversitySurvey To join in the Big Butter y Count www.bigbutter ycount.org The Bioblitz 2011 Species list is available to download from the Garden’s website at www.botanic.cam.ac.uk Friends’ News – Issue 88 – January 2012 Who’s Who in the Garden: Pete Michna, Acting Supervisor, Experimental Area Perhaps of all the Sections in the Botanic Garden, Experimental has most to do with the Department of Plant Sciences (of which the Garden is a part). I’m here with a Trainee to support research work carried out by undergraduates, PhD students and visiting academics. I’ve some nice shiny new glass houses and the Experimental Plots. I also look after the Ecological Mound, the Fen, the Cambridgeshire Hedgerow, the Genetics Garden and Healthy Herby. I was born in North Hertfordshire and spent a fair bit of my youth cycling around the countryside looking at flowers. I remember being pleased that my Oxford Pocket book of Wild Flowers gave a family for each plant, showing that there was some sort of order there. That and a school visit to the local sewage works and a look down the microscope at the wigglies living on the filter beds probably led me to spend four years studying Applied Biology. My studies mainly taught me that I’m not a bench scientist. I switched career to practical nature conservation until, after 16 years, the paperwork became onerous and I switched again to gardening. I’m grateful to John Moore, Head Gardener at Churchill College who gave me a job when I had no track record in gardening and who encouraged me to apply to be a Trainee here in 1998. I was lucky again when, after six months, the post of Experimental Assistant came up and I got the job, working under the former Experimental supervisor, Alex Goodall. Alex taught me a great deal of good sense and how to make student projects work, often despite the student. One of the things I like about my job is the variety. For example, recently I’ve been digging Jerusalem Artichokes for class work, helping a third year undergraduate identify seedlings of Pete Michna works chalk grassland plants, on laying the rewriting the Cambridgeshire interpretation for the Hedgerow history of wheat in the Genetics Garden, laying the Cambridgeshire hedge, growing fern prothalli, the list could go on. The Fen, a little piece of Wicken, is probably my most longlasting contribution to the Garden, partly because it’s made from reinforced concrete! Mistletoe – not just for Christmas! Mistletoe (Viscum album) is a traditional Christmas plant, but this spring take a closer look at these fascinating plants. The globes of these semi-parasites are very obvious high up in many of the trees surrounding the Systematic Beds, sometimes topped with a Mistlethrush ardently protecting their crop of white berries. So often out of reach, the plant has spread locally in recent decades to colonise the smaller hawthorn and crab apple trees, even the hedges, giving a rare opportunity to see this plant at close quarters. You may be familiar with the white berries, but have you ever stopped to seek the flowers? From February to April, look closely at the end of the wishbone-like branches to spot the minute green flowers, each with four triangular petal-like structures. Unusually, Mistletoe plants are either male or female. The male flowers have four pollen-producing anthers borne singly on the petal-like structures; the flowers of female plants have a single rounded stigma (pollen receiving structure) at the centre. Of course, it is the female plants that will eventually bear the white berries in time for the following Christmas. It is thought these diminutive flowers are pollinated by flies. Squeeze the berries and you will find them incredibly sticky. This makes the seeds difficult for birds to swallow, inciting them to wipe their beaks clean on branches, thus spreading the seeds and you can sometimes spot the sticky strings of seeds dangling from the branch. As a semi-parasite, Mistletoes plumb into the host plant taking nutrients and water, but the green leaves mean they are still able to photosynthesise and produce sugars. The point of infection is marked by an egg -shaped swelling, a structure known as the haustorium. Mistletoe won’t kill a tree but can reduce its vigour and the branch beyond the haustorium is notably less vigorous. Mistletoe is now placed in the Sandalwood family, the Santalaceae, which also includes Phoradendron henslowii from the Galapagos Islands. This genus was collected by Charles Darwin and named on his return to the UK in honour of his mentor and the founder of our Botanic Garden, John Stevens Henslow. The type specimen resides in the University Herbarium, recently moved to its new facilities in the Sainsbury Laboratory. It has been digitised as part of the Beagle Plants project, available to view at www.darwinsbeagleplants.org Juliet Day Dr Tim Upson, Curator & Acting Director Bryophytes and lichens Cambridgeshire is not a rich county for bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) or for lichens. We don’t have the mild, damp climate and clean air which allows them to luxuriate as they do in parts of Wales and Scotland. In addition, these groups are easily overlooked and difficult to identify, often requiring microscopic examination, and the associated specialist jargon can be off-putting to the beginner. However, the Garden has a valuable historical list of 116 bryophyte species (roughly 10% of the UK list) from a tradition of recording that goes back to the 1940s, hence our designation a County Wildlife Site for bryophytes. In 2010 and 2011, Fenland Botanical Surveys undertook recordings here for both lichens and bryophytes. The Garden has a variety of habitats from the obvious such as trees (for epiphytes) and the rocks of the Limestone Rock Garden and the lawns, and some less so, such as the wooden benches and gravel paths. Looking for species in these places requires a sharp eye and a good knowledge of what to look for. Of our 116 ‘historical’ bryophytes, 32 were not re-found. Half were probably just missed (it would be a tall order to match 70 years of recording in a couple of visits), but others have almost certainly died out. However, nine previously unrecorded species were found; some may always have been here but overlooked, others are probably new arrivals following improvements in air quality. Our lichens are less well known, but 41 were found during the survey (about 2.5% of the UK list), and the number may increase following recent visits from the Cambridge Lichen Group. None are nationally rare, but some are certainly rare in Cambridgeshire. Some were imported from Cumbria in the 1950s with the carboniferous limestone used in the Limestone Rock Garden and Ecological Mound, and have managed to survive and, in some cases, increase. Although they are not part of our official collections, these groups present a fascinating facet of the biodiversity of the Garden. Pete Michna, Acting Supervisor, Experimental Section Friends’ News – Issue 88 – January 2012 Education Overview The Botanic Garden presents The Magic Brick Tree! Juliet Day First Saturday Family Fun No need to book, just drop-in anytime between 11am – 3pm on the first Saturday of every month for plant-inspired fun. £2 per child, plus normal Garden admission for accompanying adults. Locations change, so do check details at the ticket office on arrival. Saturday 4 February 2012 Woodland Weaving Come along to our woodland weaving session where you can try out branch weaving or make your own pine cone pet to take away with you. Wednesday 15 February 2012 Twilight Bring a torch and explore the Glasshouse Range after dark from 4.30pm Saturday 3 March 2012 Plant a seed for a better tomorrow Join in our celebration of Faitrade Fortnight and come and plant a cotton seed to remind you that the world needs to work together to make a fair place for us all to live. Saturday 17 March Science Festival, 2nd Saturday Join us at the Downing Site for lots of plant science activities between 10am-4pm Saturday 7 April 2012 Easter Extravaganza See below. Saturday 5 May 2012 Make a welcome sign Use twigs and other things collected in the Garden to make a bold sign to put up at home. Your cardboard crafty sign could be a welcome message or a name plate for your bedroom door. Storyteller Marion Leeper narrates the Magic Brick Tree at the Heﬀers Launch Party The sharp-eyed will have noticed a brick wall inside the trunk of a tree along the South Walk. This is a Wild Pear tree, Pyrus communis – after a branch fell off in the 1960s, the wound was bricked up following the horticultural practice of the time. Last summer, these mysterious-looking bricks became the starting point for a story, when 15 local children visited the Garden and worked alongside storyteller, Marion Leeper, and artist, Alex Hirtzel, to create a new children’s story book. The children were all young carers, meaning they help to care for another person, usually a family member, and have levels of responsibilities normally only taken by an adult. The workshops were arranged in collaboration with Centre 33, a charity that provides support for young people. Over four fun and extremely busy days of dreaming up characters, print-making, drawing, writing and photography the story started to come together. Amongst the Garden staff, it is still a matter of great debate as to who inspired the villain of the story, MC Stinger, who likes nothing better than driving around on his lawnmower destroying all the plants! The workshops also gave the young carers the chance to take a break from their caring role, make and maintain friendships and most importantly have time to be a young person. ‘It was fun because I loved making the models out of plasticine. I helped to make the fairy’ said Jake. Damion added, ‘My favourite part was taking photos for the pictures in the book, but all of it was fun’. CantellDay, a local graphic design agency, kindly offered their time and skills to the project and converted the raw material into a book-ready format, which Cambridge University Press then printed pro-bono. Billed as a thrilling tale of intrigue, lawnmowers and the strange kingdom behind The Magic Brick Tree, the book was launched at a fantastic party at Heffers in October. It was the first time the children had seen their finished book and everyone was thrilled with the result. With 15 authors, it was the longest signing table ever seen in the bookstore! The book is now available to buy for £4.99 from the Botanic Garden shop, Heffers bookstore and online at http://bit.ly/nDD0Mn All profits from the book sales will go towards funding future projects for young carers at the Botanic Garden. For the half-term and Easter holidays.… Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 February 2012, 10.30am – 12.30pm Family birdwatching workshops Discover how to identify birds with wildlife expert David Chandler and try out your newly acquired bird spotting skills in the Botanic Garden. Places are limited so please book in advance on 01223 331875, £5 per child, parents/carers to stay. Tuesday 3, Thursday 5 and Saturday 7 April 2012 Easter Extravaganza Pick up your passport at the gate and navigate our Easter Trail, collecting stamps as you go. Celebrate springtime by making a bunny or a lamb using natural materials. No need to book, just drop-in anytime between 11am – 3pm. £2 per child, plus normal Garden admission for accompanying adults. Friends’ News – Issue 88 – January 2012 Dr Sally Marsh, Education Officer Garden History Talks Series Our Adult Education Programme sees the return of a ‘Garden History Talks’ series for 2012. This year the focus is on the Edwardian era – specifically the ‘long Edwardian’ period, spanning from the 1890s through to 1914. Garden historian, Twigs Way, starts the series off with a talk on the influence of designers on both Edwardian gardens and garden writing, and the often stormy relationships that these strong characters had with each other. Twigs then turns her attention to the most popular features and styles of the Edwardian garden, before exploring art and the Edwardian garden for her last contribution. In the last talk of the series, freelance broadcaster, author and teacher, Patrick Harding, exposes the Edwardians’ love affair with plants from the Sino-Himalayan region. He examines the lives, expeditions and plant finds of the great plant hunters Ernest Wilson, George Forrest and Frank Kingdon Ward, and reveals how history and politics played their role in Edwardian horticulture. If you would like to book a place on any of these courses please call 01223 331875, email email@example.com or download the booking from from the website, www.botanic.cam.ac.uk, where you will also find dates and full details. Dr Karen van Oostrum, Head of Education Dear Friend Happy New Year! In this edition you will find booking forms which detail the exciting tours, events and outings organised for Friends and Guests during the spring and early summer 2012, with the first event on Tuesday 7 February. Places for all activities are limited so early booking is recommended. Please remember to enclose a stamped addressed envelope with your form and payment. We are delighted to announce that the Garden Café is once again able to provide refreshments for those taking part in Friends’ garden tours. Whether you fancy a warm drink and delicious cake or a light lunch, these can be pre-booked by using the enclosed application form. Your confirmation will include a voucher to be presented at the café after your tour. Please indicate on the booking form if you have particular dietary requirements. Should you need to cancel a booking please note the refund policy (details on the booking form). I am delighted to report that the Friends Annual lecture held in November 2011 and given by Dr Beverley Glover from the Department of Plant Sciences was an outstanding success. A whirlwind visit to the world of petal diversity, bee behaviour and an intriguing insight into research at the University was followed by animated conversation over drinks and nibbles in the Old Library at Emmanuel College. The 2012 Annual lecture will be given by Professor Ottoline Leyser, Associate Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory. Elsewhere in the newsletter you will see details about celebration drinks planned for the 30th anniversary of the Friends of the Botanic Garden in May – I do hope many of you will be able to come and help mark this wonderful achievement. More events will follow during the year. Finally, a reminder that the subscription rate for Friends’ membership will increase from 1 March 2012. Annual Joint membership will be £55 and annual single membership £32. Details can be found in the Friends September 2011 News and on the website, www.botanic.cam.ac.uk Thank you very much for your continued support. Wishing you a peaceful 2012. Friends’ Events A booking form with full descriptions, details, times and prices is enclosed. All places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Please take care to note the new cancellation and refund policy outlined on the booking form. Winter Trees Tour Explore the special delights of the Garden’s trees in winter: deciduous trees reveal their delicate tracery whilst the Main Walk of majestic evergreens has heightened stature. Tuesday 7 February & Saturday 11 February, 10.30am. The Glasshouse Tour Guides will take small groups through the Glasshouse Range, full of year-round interest from the daintiest alpine to exotic tropical climbers, including, we hope, the Jade Vine. Tuesday 13 March & Saturday 17 March, from 10.30am. ‘The Gardenesque – 19th century garden design to pleasingly educate’ Classroom lecture with Caroline Holmes John Claudius Loudon (1783-1843) coined the term ‘gardenesque’, and urged that grand ideas be decanted into public parks, cemeteries and domestic gardens. Caroline Holmes is a garden historian, lecturer, author and consultant designer her own Suffolk garden featured in the December issue of The English Garden. Thursday 8 March 2012, 7pm for 7.30pm. Fascination of Plants Day Drop in to explore the rich variety of displays and demos put on in collaboration with SAPS and the Department of Plant Sciences. Saturday 18 May, 10am – 4pm Friends 30th Anniversary Party We invite you to join us for 30th anniversary celebration drinks, canapes and music on an early summer evening. Thursday 24 May 2012, 6.30 pm. Day trip to NT Hidcote Manor Garden and Kiftsgate Court Gardens, Glos Created by Lawrence Johnson, Hidcote is full of inspirational herbaceous borders, delightful gazebos and packed with interesting plants – during the 1920s Johnson travelled widely collecting plants for his garden (and exchanging seeds with us, amongst other botanic gardens). Closeby Kiftsgate was created in the 1920s by Heather Muir, on a steep site affording lovely views with wonderful plants, including the famous Kiftsgate rose. Wednesday 13 June 2012 Day trip to the Plant Finders Fair & Cottesbrooke Hall Gardens, Northants This leading Plant Finders Fair of specialist nurseries, and featuring talks and workshops with noted gardeners, is hosted by Cottesbrooke Hall. Its garden was originally laid out by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe in an Italian renaissance style, softened in later years with herbaceous planting. Distinguished landscape designers have been involved since, most recently Arne Maynard, who created the new herbaceous plantings for the statue walk. Friday 22 June 2012 Emma Daintrey Outreach Administrator 01223 336271 firstname.lastname@example.org Meet the Volunteer Committee L-R Elisabeth Rushden, Richard Price, Pam Newman, Emma Daintrey (Outreach Administrator) and Jenny Leggatt Jenny Leggatt is a journalist and author of four books including a cook book about edible flowers. When not planning and researching the tours and outings for the Friends, she is a passionate gardener, running a large allotment and garden. Pam Newman has had a life-long passion for plants. After a degree in Microbiology and a PhD in plant pathology, she worked at the Plant Breeding Institute before becoming Plant Health and Seeds Inspector at MAFF/DEFRA. Now retired, Pam is a Garden Guide, volunteers with the Education Department and teaches yoga. Richard Price studied Botany at Oxford University and taught for 21 years at secondary schools in Tanzania, London and Cambridge – he used to bring his Biology A level students to visit the Garden in the 1970s. After managing science syllabuses at the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, Richard was recruited to establish and direct Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS), now based at the Garden. Richard is a Garden Guide and works closely with the Education Department on guide training. Elizabeth Rushden has been organising trips and outings for the Friends for the last five years. She is also a trained Garden Guide and has a particular interest in trees. Her background is in language teaching and Elizabeth worked for many years at the Cambridge University Institute for Manufacturing. Nigel Luckhurst Switch to DD If you still pay for your Friends subscription by Banker’s Order (also known as Standing Order), please make it a New Year’s resolution to switch to Direct Debit on the next renewal date, as we are phasing out Banker’s Order payments. Friends’ News – Issue 88 – January 2012 Only the account holder can cancel Banker’s Order payments so please remember to do this when you switch to Direct Debit, or you will be paying twice over for your membership! Thank you for your continuing support.