Kibes speciosum by Howard Rice
Friends’ News Festival of Plants A day dedicated to bring plants into focus on Saturday 16 May 2015, 10am-5pm Could polar algae help clean our laundry at lower temperatures? Why and how do some flowers produce iridescence? How does a plant know to grow when it’s been pruned? You can pop in to the Pop-Up Plant Science marquee at our third annual Festival of Plants and meet the experts with (some of ) the answers to these and many other plant science questions. Teams from the Sainsbury Laboratory, the Department of Plant Science, NIAB, the John Innes Institute and many more will pack out the Main Lawn marquee, bringing a wide range of displays and have-a-go activities all designed to illuminate how fundamental research into how plants work could help address some of our most challenging concerns. Throughout the day, you can have a go at modelling and predicting the spread of global plant diseases, visit game stations exploring how to extract cancer treatments from the rosy periwinkle and develop new technologies for making vaccines in plants, explore the structural qualities of different plants with the University’s Natural Materials Innovation group and plot the map of life by extracting DNA from fruit, plus lots, lots more pop-up plant science. We’ll also be talking plants all over the Garden and in the Sainsbury Laboratory. Bite-size dropin talks in the Talking Plants tent will cover a huge diversity of topics: Gwenda Kydd will be looking at scopolamine, derived from henbane and dubbed ‘the scariest plant ever’ while other talks include plant genetics and the National Collections. In the Sainsbury Laboratory at 2pm (places must be pre-booked), Professor Andrew Balmford will be asking how we can feed the world without costing the earth followed by the Garden’s new Curator, Dr Sam Brockington, debating which plants would be most useful to take on the Ark. Performance artist, John Hinton, will be reprising his madcap poem Six Trees and a Waterlily inspired by the Garden and sung in a multitude of musical genres as diverse as the plants that caught his fancy. Writer-in-residence, Kate Swindlehurst, will be
So whether it’s discovering how plants grow, develop and function, debating what plant science can contribute to solving today’s most pressing issues, getting advice on which plant goes where, picking up some unusual plants for the garden or simply having a fun day out with the family, there’ll be something for everyone at the Festival of Plants.
Exploring parts of a plant sharing the stage with him in the Continents Apart house, reading from her latest Gardeninfused work. Festival of Plants will be making the most of the Garden at its mid-May best, with staff leading tours of the Garden’s highlights, including rainforest canopy tours (morning only, before it gets too hot) and opportunities to nose behind-the-scenes to the reserve collections and scientific areas. The Schools Garden, newly planted up with fruit, vegetables and annual mini meadows will become a popup ‘mocktail’ bar where families can concoct and brew herbal teas and invent new drinks from aromatic herbs. Recipes and discoveries can be recorded by making a mini herbal. For gaps in the borders, a visit to the Plant Promenade on the Main Walk of independent nurseries to restock with some unusual plants is essential, while our horticultural staff will be ready for all your gardening dilemmas and concerns, pest and disease problems and knotty plant idents on the Ask the Gardener stand.
Alex Summers with the Santa Cruz waterlily, Victoria cruziana The Festival of Plants is generously supported by the Sainsbury Laboratory and CambPlants Hub. To find out more about the extraordinarily rich and innovative plant science scene in the region visit www.cambplants.group.cam.ac.uk
Friends’ News – Issue 98 – May 2015
Bioblitz is back The Museum of Zoology’s annual Bioblitz returns to the Garden this year beginning Friday 12 June and finishing a marathon 24 hours later on Saturday 13 June 2015. We need you to become citizen scientists for the day and join forces with the experts to locate, identify and log the wildlife of the Botanic Garden.
The first few months of 2015 have caused us a range of weather-related problems at the Garden. The frosts in January and February, combined with the number of visitors, damaged some of the display lawns and we took the unusual step of roping off Cory Lawn to allow it to recover. At the same time, in the period spanning December to March we have experienced more incidents of closure due to high winds than ever before in a similar period. Friends and regular visitors might be interested to know how we make these decisions. We receive reports of the maximum windspeed and average windspeed, along with direction, every 30 minutes from a monitor on the roof of the Department of Chemistry on Lensfield Road. If the maximum gust exceeds 40mph in two consecutive 30 minute intervals then we close the Garden, re-opening only when the maximum windspeed is below 40mph for two consecutive intervals. This system was developed to ensure safety of visitors and staff in the Garden, and our recent tree survey assumed closure at these windspeeds when recommending tree work. Obviously we are very disappointed to have to close so often, and are taking the opportunity to review our policies and compare them with those of similar gardens, while of course keeping safety at the forefront of our thinking. I’ll let you know what we conclude. I hope that many of you were able to join us to enjoy the Orchid Festival this spring. The graphic pollinator illustrations made a particularly wonderful addition to our Twilight event on 18 February when over 1200 visitors, mainly children, joined us between 4.30-8pm to explore the glasshouses by torchlight. This was one of an increasing number of activities that we run jointly with the University of Cambridge Museums (UCM) group, and we are enjoying the opportunity to share ideas about ways to enhance the visitor experience. Our next big event is unique to the Garden – our annual Festival of Plants on 16 May. As I write, we are in the thick of planning activities, talks, tours and plant sales – I do hope you will be able to join us on the day. Professor Beverley Glover, Director Friends’ News – Issue 98 – May 2015
Wildlife lovers young and old can book to join one of the many free, expert-led surveys and forays including twilight bat walks using ultrasound detectors, midnight moth-trapping in pursuit of these mysterious night-time beauties from the tiny and exquisite to the enormous privet hawk moth, bee Identification workshops and early bird walks. Booking for Bioblitz walks and workshops, many of which offer the opportunity to explore the Botanic Garden out of hours, goes live at Festival of Plants on Saturday 16 May – look for the Eventbright links on both the Botanic Garden and Museum of Zoology websites.
Drop-in activities are available throughout the Bioblitz Saturday: meet the experts from conservation partners across the region, help identify moths, butterflies, dragonflies, aquatic animals, small mammals, grass snakes and amphibia, birds, plants and slugs and snails (hopefully not on the plants!). Have a go at owl pellet dissection and try putting the skeleton prey back together, discover the best habitats for mini-beasts, go spider spotting, pond-dipping, and join one of the wildflower walks. The Botanic Garden is a habitat that has been actively managed for wildlife for over a century, and Bioblitz 2015 will help us create a definitive count of the species present in the Garden at mid-summer. You don’t need to be an expert to take part, and the more eyes and ears we have surveying the better, so just come along and join in to discover the wildlife on your doorstep.
Consulting the expert Midnight moth trapping Bumble bee
Sweeping for insects
Join the debate The Sainsbury Laboratory will be pre-launching the Festival of Plants on Friday 15 May with a panel discussion around The Future of Sustainable Agriculture: Land Sharing or Land Sparing? Given powerful arguments to conserve biodiversity but also increase food production, should we farm intensively on some land sparing the rest for wildlife, or should we farm less intensively and encourage agriculture and wildlife to co-exist on a larger land area? Chaired by the Laboratory’s Director, Professor Ottoline Leyser, the panel comprises Caroline Drummond, Chief Executive of Leaf, UK, Professor Jane Hill from the Department of Biology, University of York and Professor
Charles Godfray from the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. The debate starts at 4.30pm in the Auditorium at the Sainsbury Laboratory, and will be followed by a drinks reception. Places are free but must be pre-booked at http://sharing-sparing.eventbrite.co.uk On Festival of Plants Saturday (16 May), the Laboratory is hosting a public lecture given by Professor Andrew Balmford of the University’s Department of Zoology. Feeding the world without costing the earth: how can agriculture and biodiversity coexist? takes place at 2pm and places, which are free, must be booked in advance at http://feed-world.eventbrite.co.uk
Science on Sundays
Alison Murray I am excited to be appointed as the new Interpretation Associate in the Botanic Garden for the next year. My role is to produce two living displays in the Garden that will showcase the research that goes on in the Department of Plant Sciences and the Sainsbury Laboratory. The ambition is that the two displays will be not only visually captivating, but also clearly interpret the complex plant science involved in the research. I will also be considering interpretation in the Garden as a whole, both how we can improve current interpretation panels and how we can present the science on future panels in a fascinating and easily comprehensible manner.
7 months – an adventure I would recommend to anyone wanting to explore off the beaten path! Now back in Cambridge, I am busy gaining useful work experience at CUBG and the RSPB before starting a Masters in Environmental Change and International Development at the University of Sheffield in September.
This is a great opportunity for me to share my passion for plant science and horticulture with visitors to the Botanic Garden. It is easy to forget that these two fields are intrinsically linked. I hope these projects will highlight the science behind the plants.
Megan Wilson I have just begun a 12-week placement here at Cambridge University Botanic Garden. Originally from Northern Ireland I came to Cambridge to study Natural Sciences at the University. After graduating in June I set off to travel Central and South America by bicycle for
My role at the Garden is to devise and test a new framework for evaluating our education programmes, particularly the schools visits, adult courses and family events. We hope the feedback obtained will allow us to improve our delivery of these programmes as well as guiding how to widen participation. As a biologist I have become increasingly concerned by our disconnection with nature. I hope this internship will give me an understanding of how we can better enthuse and engage people with the natural world, ultimately allowing us to lead a more sustainable future.
DIY handy? Perhaps you could help... bulbs, putting up shelves, noticeboards, stacking archived material, moving furniture, cleaning, tidying, window repair etc.). The role will vary in response to the Garden’s needs and will involve work both in and outdoors. It is ideal for the active “hands dirty” type of person who enjoys fixing and mending. If you have some experience relating to the above and can make a regular time commitment, please get in touch. For a volunteer application form, please drop an email to email@example.com
Nature’s geometry: the fascinating world of plant patterns 24 May 2015 Dr Siobhan Braybrook of the Plant Growth Mechanics Group at the Sainsbury Laboratory examines the fascinating world of plant patterns. A birds-eye view of the natural world: monitoring forests from aircraft 28 June 2015 Dr David Coomes, Head of Group, Forest Ecology and Conservation in the Department of Plant Sciences introduces techniques for monitoring the health and diversity of forests from aircraft. Blooming algae – a nuisance, or something useful? 26 July 2015 Alison Smith, Head of the Plant Metabolism Group at the Department of Plant Sciences explores the potential of algae for sustainable biofuels. Extreme green: plant adaptations to the world’s harshest environments 23 August 2015 Dr Sam Brockington, Curator of the Garden and Head of the Molecular Systematics & Evolution Group at the Department of Plant Sciences explores plant adaptations to the world’s most inhospitable environments.
We’re looking for competent, hands-on people with DIY enthusiasm and experience to assist in the maintenance of the Botanic Garden’s buildings, glasshouses and public areas. This volunteer role includes general handyman tasks which would assist the Estate departmental staff in keeping the Garden operational and safe. Useful skills would include basic carpentry (mending fencing, noticeboards, signs for example), painting (from touch up paintwork as required to room decoration), basic plumbing (mending dripping taps, exchanging tap washers) and general DIY and maintenance (changing light
The Garden has launched a new series of drop-in plant science talks on the fourth Sunday of the month given by colleagues in the Department of Plant Sciences and the Sainsbury Laboratory. Aimed at 12+ years, the talks last 30 minutes; there is no need to book, just drop in to the Classroom at the Brookside Gate at 11am (session repeated at 2pm).
Progress has been swift since the contractors started building the Geoffrey and Eileen Adams Garden Room in the Schools’ Garden in April. Completion is due at the end of May.
Look out for the Education team at the Big Weekend on Parker’s Piece on Saturday 11 July. They’ll be there with their new cargo bike joining in with activities in the University’s Fun Lab tent.
Friends’ News – Issue 98 – May 2015
Ordering the plant world: the Systematic Beds With support from the Friends of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden and a wonderful private donation, we have been developing some new interpretation panels for our unique Systematic Beds to introduce their richness as a scientific teaching resource, and to encourage and foster plant identification skills. These new resources will be out in situ this month. To celebrate we have summarised the highlights here to help you identify your inner Darwin and practise your observation skills! The Garden’s unique Systematic Beds were designed in 1845 by Andrew Murray, the first Curator of the Botanic Garden, as one of its earliest and key features. Murray set out to translate the most comprehensive botany book of the time, written in 1819 by Augustin de Candolle, into a display that could be used for teaching plant taxonomy—the science of identifying and classifying plants. There is only ever one plant family grown in any one bed, but large families require many beds to demonstrate their diversity. You can read the Systematic Beds as a living interpretation of De Candolle’s text book starting with the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family on page one through to the last entry on the Phytolaccaceae (American pokeweed) family.
Our Systematic Beds are laid out as curving island beds, a radical departure from the standard rectangular, ‘order beds’ found in most botanic gardens. They contain1600 plant species belonging to about 98 families dispersed across 157 beds. For the horticultural staff, this means 3.7km of beds to edge twice a month on average! Every year, the team propagate from seed, grow on and plant out 6000 plants on the Systematic Beds to ensure the floral diversity of a family is well represented. No images of the Garden’s first Curator, Andrew Murray, survive. This image shows the horticultural staff in 1876 with the then Curator, William Mudd, in the top hat in the centre.
Monocotyledons like grasses, irises and orchids make up only around 20% of flowering plants. Murray accordingly dedicates an area of the Systematic Beds – the central oval – proportionate to monocot diversity. It was the great Cambridge natural scientist, John Ray (right), who first distinguished between monocots and dicots in his Methodus Plantarum Nova of 1682. Ray had earlier produced the first county flora, the Cambridge Catalogue in 1660, in which he describes the plants found around Cambridgeshire.
Seeing the family likeness Plants are placed into families based on shared features. For example, if you roll the stem of a plant in the Labiatae/Lamiaceae (mint) family between your fingers, you will find it is square. To help you refine your botanising skills, we have selected eight key plant families on the Systematic Beds and picked out the defining characteristics with the help of illustrations by local botanical artist, Georita Harriott, who also tutors for our What’s On programme and whose work is often available in the Botanic Garden Shop. Enjoy discovering diversity!
Labiatae (Lamiaceae) Beds – the mint family beds Key characteristics: • the stems of the plant are square • leaves are opposite, held at right angles to the stem and are often covered with gland-headed hairs containing volatile oils which, when brushed, give oﬀ pungent aromas • flowers have five united petals and are often two-lipped • there are usually four stamens, two long and two short, sometimes hidden in the upper lip • the fruit consists of four tightlypacked seeds known as ‘nutlets’
Friends’ News – Issue 98 – May 2015
upper lip petal square stems
Leguminosae (Fabaceae) Beds – the pea family beds Key characteristics: • the flowers are an irregular shape but most often consist of a fan-like banner, two wings and a keel • there are actually five petals but two are fused to form the boat-like keel, so it looks like there are only four • there are ten or more stamens, some of which may be fused into a tube • the fruit consists of pods fan-like banner
the four stamens are often hidden under the upper lip two wing petals
keel petal lower lip petal
Salvia sclarea, clary sage.
Lathyrus odoratus ‘Cupani’, sweet pea.
Compositae (Asteraceae) Beds – the daisy family beds Key characteristics: ray ﬂoret with • each flower is in fact hundreds of small flowers strap-like ligule tightly packed into a ‘capitulum’ or flowerhead • the flowerhead is made up of two different sorts of flowers, known as ‘ray’ and ‘disc’ flowers • the ray flowers are arranged around the disc flowers and often exhibit a ‘ligule’, a long, strap-like petal feature • many daisy family flowers have a ‘pappus’ of disc bristles, hairs or scales, which is often ﬂower important in the dispersal of seeds; for pappus example, the pappus of a dandelion flower pappus becomes the lightweight parasol which helps the seed fly away Helianthus pauciflorus, prairie or stiﬀ sunflower.
Solanaceae Beds – the nightshade family beds Key characteristics: • the five petals are typically fused to form a tube, the petal lobes often flaring in a wheel shape • the anthers are often compacted to form a cone or ‘nose’ • the fruit is most often a berry, usually very shiny • the leaves are always alternately arranged along the stem Solanum sisymbriifolium, sticky nightshade.
Iridaceae Beds – the iris family beds Key characteristics: • there are three sepals, which often look just like petals and in bearded iris, for example, form the beautiful, drooping ‘falls’ of the flower • there are three true petals and three stamens • the two whorls of sepals and petals fuse to form a tube • the leaves are often grass- or bladelike and have a distinct lengthwise crease down the centre • members of the iris family all grow from specialised underground storage organs – bulbs, corms or rhizomes
Ranunculaceae Beds – the buttercup family beds Key characteristics: • the sepals commonly take on an attractive role in the flower and consequently the petals have frequently been lost, as in clematis; however, sometimes both showy sepals and petals can be found, as in the striking flowers of columbine (Aquilegia) • the flowers are usually regular (having radial symmetry); exceptions include delphinium, larkspur and monkshood • the seedheads, often decorative, consist of many simple fruits called achenes, which each contain a single seed
ﬁve ﬂared petal lobes
anthers compacted to form a ‘nose’
Helleborus orientalis, Christmas rose.
Cruciferae (Brassicaceae) Beds – the mustard family beds Key characteristics: • flowers have four petals arranged in a cross, referenced by the traditional family name • there are six stamens, usually four tall and two short, this is the only plant family that has the combination of four petals and six stamens six stamens, often four long • plants have a cabbage-like smell due to the and two short presence of glucosinolates • the seed pods dry out and split open (dehisce) along both sides to expose a clear membrane in the middle
four petals arranged in a cross
Crambe cordifolia, flowering sea kale
Umbelliferae (Apiaceae) Beds – the carrot family beds Key characteristics: • the small flowers are usually pale and are packed together into ‘umbels’ – like an umbrella • the flowers have five petals, sometimes with a little hook at the tip • the stems are hollow • members of the Umbelliferae often have a cone-shaped tap root, as in the carrot or parsnip • the leaves are fern-like and are very aromatic • the seedpod splits into two, each part containing a single seed, also often aromatic
ﬁve pale petals
Foeniculum vulgare, common fennel
Flowering Plant Families
Iris unguicularis, winter-flowering iris.
Led by Professor Beverley Glover, Director, and Dr Sam Brockington, Curator Monday 22 June - Friday 26 June 2015 There are just a few places left on this five day intensive course introducing flowering plant families to undergraduates, graduates, professionals and committed amateur botanists. The aim is to develop an understanding of the major plant families and the practical skills needed when approaching the identification of plant material. Teaching is through a combination of practical sessions and lectures covering the major temperate flowering plant families. The course makes extensive use of plant material and the Systematic Beds at the Botanic Garden and includes a visit to the University’s Herbarium, housed in the Sainsbury Laboratory. To book please visit the website at www.botanic.cam.ac.uk or telephone 01223 331875. Friends’ News – Issue 98 – May 2015
Horticulture Howard Rice
A Tulip perhaps? At the mere mention of tulips thoughts immediately turn to those spring heralds, the bulbs whose brilliance and diversity announce the arrival of warmer days. However, a totally unrelated, less showy and often overlooked tulip exists. The tulip tree (or tulip poplar), Liriodendron tulipifera, is native to North America, where its range extends from Nova Scotia to Florida, and here trees can reach a height 58 metres (190 ft), while the trunk can be up to 3 metres (9 ft) in diameter. While not reaching these standards, trees in the British Isles can grow in excess of 30 metres (100 ft) in height. In North America the tulip tree is highly valued as a source of timber, particularly for interior use, being yellowish in colour, fine grained and smooth. The wood was also used by the Cherokee Indians, who called it rakiock, to make canoes. Uncertainty exists regarding the introduction of Liriodendron tulipifera into Europe, although it is believed that it was introduced to our gardens by the esteemed horticulturist and plant hunter John Tradescant the Younger in the mid-seventeenth century, following one of his visits to the Americas between 1610 and 1615. Certainly a tree was recorded growing at Fulham Palace, the home of Bishop Compton, in 1688. The genus was believed to be
monotypical until the discovery of Liriodendron chinense in Jiangxi province in China in 1875. This species was later introduced into western cultivation in 1901 by Ernest Wilson. Records indicate that the genus once had a far greater distribution preglaciation, with fossil remains occurring in Alaska, Greenland and Europe. Although belonging to the magnolia family, Liriodendron is distinguished by truncate leaves and closed seed vessels. Our finest specimen can be found towering over the magnolia collection north of the Lynch Walk. Standing at a height of 26 metres (85 ft) this is a Champion Tree for Cambridgeshire, and ranks as one of the largest in our collection. Sitting at its base are a number of young specimens planted as a small glade in 2010, which we anticipate will provide a succession of tulip trees in the future. A third accession can be found in the Autumn Garden.
Liriodendron tulipifera that the name relates to the flower shape, which is similar to that of an open tulip flower. These large flowers are borne in June and July formed of six greenish-white overlapping petals, each with an orange basal blotch. While produced freely on mature trees, trees of less than fifteen years produce no flower.
Speculation exists as to the adoption of its common name. Some believe that this is in reference to the silhouette of the leaf, which bears no apex, and is saddle-shaped in outline. Growing to 22 cm (9”), these provide an obvious distinguishing feature, and colour to a rich buttery yellow in autumn. Others argue
Whatever the origin of the common name, Liriodendron tulipifera is a valued and worthy addition to our collection, and it is well worth keeping your eyes peeled to try to spot these alluring flowers decorating the tree canopy.
green and looking rather like long French beans and then took 10 months to mature to the characteristic blackened and fragrant pod. If we are successful in getting pod set once again, please do take care not to damage them.
in a nursery tank so that this May, we will be putting out a plant ready to roll with its enormous, prickly, thickly veined lily-pads and phantasmagorical flowers. Expanding the tropical wetlands theme, the Glasshouse team have also established a mini paddy field in the house this year, complete with guppy fish and Azolla, an aquatic fern which fixes nitrogen in the soil, thereby providing nutrient to the rice plants.
Sally Petitt, Head of Horticulture
Clippings & Cuttings
I An external contractor came in April to remove the mature horse chestnut close to the Garden Café which had become structurally unsound due to bleeding canker, and suffered from chestnut leaf miner. We will be planting a Cambridge oak, Quercus x warburgii, in its place to augment the Fagaceae collection in this area. I The hard landscaping work is complete in the sub-tropical courtyard of the Glasshouse Range. We will be planting it up over the next few weeks with borderline tender plants to provide a long-lasting colourful show that could give some ideas for those wishing to experiment with subtropical planting at home. I The new grassed area at the heart of the tulip tree and magnolia collection north of the Lynch Walk has established well and we will be putting the new picnic benches out here just before Festival of Plants I The Vanilla orchid in the west tropic corridor is in flower once again. Last year we successfully pollinated the flowers and the plant produced clusters of the long pods essential to flavouring all sorts of sweet and savoury dishes. The pods began bright Friends’ News – Issue 98 – May 2015
I The Tropical Wetlands house will re-open in time for Festival of Plants. We germinated the Santa Cruz waterlily, Victoria cruziana, during the last growing season and overwintered the plant behind the scenes
I In addition to our annual meadow under the limes on the Hills Road boundary, this year on the Research Plots we will be growing a meadow mix designed by the Garden’s Director, Beverley Glover, together with Moles Seeds. It has been specially developed to supply all the food bees need throughout the growing season and to suit the preferences of both honey bees and bumble bees. This throw-to-grow mix contains both flowers that provide nectar and flowers that provide pollen, and provides food from early spring through to autumn. Flowers have been included in a range of bee-friendly colours and scents, and with different depths to provide rewards for long tongued bumble bees and short tongued honey bees.
First Saturday Family Fun
New! Community Gardening Club This year our Education Team is helping to set up a Community Gardening club at nearby Hanover and Princess Court. We’re going along every week to help residents green-up their outside space. You can follow our progress on our blog at www.projectdirt.com
No need to book, just drop-in anytime between 11am – 3pm on the first Saturday of every month for plant-inspired fun. £3 per child, plus normal Garden admission for accompanying adults. Botanical Animals Saturday 6 June The Botanic Garden is home to lots of animals from tiny wood mice to the funny squirrels that can be spotted running about. Make picture collages of the different animals using leaves from the Garden and find out more about our upcoming Bioblitz event. Venus Fly Traps Saturday 4 July Venus fly traps are some of the most incredible plants in the world. They trap animals and actually eat them for food. At this workshop we’ll be using magnifiers to get a close up view of these plants and making model venus fly traps to take home.
Week 1: Planting snowdrops ‘ in the green
Week 2: Planting herbs outside the community room
Sun Prints Saturday 1 August Come along and make a picture using sunlight. After collecting fallen leaves and petals in the Garden we’ll use the sun’s rays to capture their shadows and make beautiful pictures to amaze your friends and family. Leaf Window Art Saturday 5 September Want to brighten up your bedroom? Then come along to this drop-in session where we’ll be trapping real plants inside sticky back plastic to make colourful decorations to hang in your window
Week 3: Taking cuttings from Verbena bonariensis and brightening up hanging baskets
Week 4: Making paper pots and sowing basil seeds
Keep an eye out for new family trails and more summer and half term holiday activities coming up soon on the website at www.botanic.cam.ac.uk and follow the education team on twitter @CUBGEducation Juliet Day
Courses coming up at the Garden If you are looking out at your own garden and thinking that this year you’d like to learn more about how to grow, identify and choose plants successfully - then have a look at some of the gardening and botany courses coming up here at the Garden. Although we’re all currently enjoying the wonderful displays of spring flowers, our horticulturalists are already thinking about and preparing for late summer and autumn to keep up the exciting displays of flowering plants in the Garden. With this in mind we have two courses running later in the year, which look at ways to maintain colour and interest in your garden well into the autumn. Creating late season colour in your garden led by Ian Barker and Paul Aston of our horticuluture team, will teach you how to use perennial plants and successional planting to extend seasonal
interest in your flower borders. Trees and shrubs for autumn colour led by Mark Crouch who runs our tree and shrub section here at the Garden, will help you design planting schemes with autumn in mind, explaining what causes the stunning colours we see in autumn and how to make the most of them in your garden. Finally if you’d like to learn more about native plants and those you see out in the fields while walking in the countryside, we have a diverse range of suitable courses on offer this year. These include a series of four sessions, led by plant ecologist Owen Mountford, looking at plant habitats ranging from mountains to meadows - on which you can discover the beautiful native plants found in these environments. There is also a fascinating course looking at the diversity of British field crops, led by agricultural botanist and local saffron
Late season interest and colour in the Autumn Garden grower Sally Francis, which will examine traditional and novel crops, and look at how trends in agriculture are affecting what we see in our fields. Full details of all our courses are available on the website. If you would like to see a particular course topic on our programme do let us have your requests – we’ll be starting planning for 2016 over the next couple of months.
Flis Plent, Head of Education Friends’ News – Issue 98 – May 2015
Dear Friend First to introduce myself, I am Sacha Watson, also a Friend of the Garden, and I became the new Friends’ Administrator in April. For five years you have been looked after by the brilliant Emma Daintrey with whom I have gratefully spent the past nine months temping whilst learning some of the ropes. Emma has been a fabulous Administrator and I sincerely hope I can support you all in the same way. Thankfully, Emma has not gone far – she has become the full-time support to the Education team. We have some beautiful tours and events planned for the coming months, including a second opportunity to visit the stunning Ightham Mote and Sissinghurst Castle. We begin however with an evening planned exclusively for Friends and their guests on 18 June. This is a wonderful opportunity to see the garden ‘out of hours’ accompanied by our expert guides. The evening will be rounded off with a drink on the Main Lawn and hopefully some summer evening sun. Moving into July we have planned a visit to the Wisbech Rose Fair combined with
Peckover House and Elgood’s Brewery and, a few weeks later, a trip to the glorious Somerleyton Hall and Bressingham Gardens. To take part in the ballot for any of these trips, please complete the application form enclosed. I am very honoured to be taking on the role of Friends’ Administrator for the Botanic Garden and look forward to helping you continue to enjoy this wonderful garden into the future. With all good wishes
Sacha Watson Friends’ Administrator firstname.lastname@example.org 01223 336275
Sounds Green at the Garden The Cambridge Summer Music Festival is bringing five new acts to our lovely July Wednesday late night openings. The Sounds Green series of very relaxed and sociable picnic proms start at 6.15pm and last for one hour, with the Garden closing promptly at 8pm. Sounds Green I: Morph Trio Wednesday 1 July, 6.15pm Morph Trio are an acoustic piano trio deriving from a jazz background, performing a variety of musical styles from around the world. A highly energetic ensemble, Morph Trio like to excite and involve audiences with their own melting pot of influences.
Sounds Green IV: Soloists of the Deutsche Philharmonie Merck Wednesday 22 July, 6.15pm Ahead of their concert in King’s College Chapel the next day, members of the wind section of this esteemed German orchestra perform pieces by Ibert, Gershwin, Mozart and more.
Sounds Green II: Leading Ladies Wednesday 8 July, 6.15pm The Leading Ladies have an enthusiasm to entertain as they perform high-calibre cross-style vocal and piano arrangements suitable for every possible performance occasion.
Sounds Green V: Ferio Saxophone Quartet Wednesday 29 July, 6.15pm Ferio Saxophone Quartet is an exciting young chamber ensemble of former Royal College of Music students who seek to widen the saxophone quartet repertoire. They perform established contemporary and classical works by living composers.
Sounds Green III: Project Jam Sandwich Wednesday 15 July, 6.15pm Project Jam Sandwich is a dynamic collaboration of instruments and genres, adding their stamp to folk music from all over the globe. They concoct their own charismatic arrangements with exhilarating improvisation, scorching rhythms and beautiful melody. Friends’ News – Issue 98 – May 2015
Visitors are encouraged to bring along a small folding chair or cushion to sit on – and check the weather forecast to see if a brolly and raincoat may be required for the English summer.
A booking form with full descriptions, details, times and prices is enclosed. All places will be allocated by ballot. To register for the ballot please complete and return the enclosed booking form by the given closing date. Please take care to note the cancellation and refund policy outlined on the booking form. Friends’ Evening Highlights Tour 18 June 2015, 6.45pm start at the Brookside Gate After the gates have closed to the public, savour a drink on the Main Lawn in the company of other Botanic Garden Friends and enjoy an exclusive one-hour tour with one of our expert guides. Wisbech and Peckover House and Elgood’s Brewery Garden Wednesday 1 July 2015 Wisbech takes on a festive atmosphere during the annual Rose Fair. The centrepiece is the Church of St Peter and St Paul, set within an acre of stunning gardens and hosting a wide variety of stalls selling local produce and plants. Peckover House is an oasis, hidden away within an urban environment. The gardens are outstanding. Two acres of sensory delight, complete with orangery, summer-houses, croquet lawn and rose garden. The rose garden alone boasts more than 60 species of rose. Elgood’s Brewery Garden is a four acre garden with specimen trees some of which date back to the original plantings. The garden has a great deal to offer with herbaceous borders, a lake, a rockery, a herb garden and an exotic house. Somerleyton Hall and Bressingham Gardens Wednesday 22 July 2015 Somerleyton Hall boasts more than twelve acres of gardens, including one of England’s finest yew hedge mazes planted in 1846. The walled garden is home to Joseph Paxton’s beautiful and ornate iron and glass greenhouses. Bressingham Gardens offer the Dell Garden and wonderfully named Foggy Bottom. These are linked by a Winter Garden, Summer Garden, Adrian’s Wood and finally a Fragrant Garden, and set amongst 17 acres of world-class gardens featuring more than 8000 species and cultivars, many collected or bred by the appropriately named Bloom family. Ightham Mote and Sissinghurst Castle Wednesday 5 August 2015 This beautiful manor house is uniquely and romantically approached via a bridge across a moat. The house, dating back to the 1320s, has an enclosed garden with lily pool and rock roses further surrounded by a tranquil woodland. The garden at Sissinghurst was created by Vita Sackville-West and Sir Harold Nicolson in the 1930s. Harold’s architectural framework of firm classical lines uses the existing walls and buildings to provide the perfect backdrop for Vita’s billowing, informal planting schemes.