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2010 Visit to Cambridge University Botanic Garden

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After a blowy and showery day, members of Ashdon Gardening Club met on the evening of 15th July at the entrance to the Botanic Garden in Cambridge. The fine evening looked as though it would hold and we were looking forward to our conducted tour. Our two volunteer guides split us into two parties and we then went our separate ways.

Our guide explained that the Botanic Garden had been set up as a teaching and research resource for the University of Cambridge by Professor John Stevens Henslow in 1831 but it was not opened to the public until 1846. The Garden occupies about 38 acres and within it are 10,000 labeled plant species.

We were led first through the bog garden which was sufferering a little from the recent lack of rain, then onto the rock garden. Whilst there we were introduced to the labeling system and found it less complicated than we had imagined it to be. We then passed under the beautiful smelling Indian Bean tree (from Indiana), through the lavender beds and the delightfully named "woolly lavender" to the exterior of the Glasshouses and the Mediterranean area which was graced by a huge Chinese Redwood tree.

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Later we passed by the new Sainsbury centre which is currently under construction and will be opened in 2011. We just had time to look at the dry garden and learn about the mutual benefit scheme conducted by a moth and the Yucca plant whereby the moth polinates the Yucca flower and is able to lay her young safely at the same time and incubate them. After passing through this area we were tantalised by seeing areas which there was no time to visit such as the Genetics Garden, the Scented and Rose Gardens, and Herbaceous Beds. The walk back took us near to the Systematic Beds which display 1600 hardy specimens of more than 80 families of flowering plants, but there was no time to stop.

We all enjoyed the tour but an hour and a half is nowhere long enough for seeing all that this delightful resource has to offer. Its charm lay in its seemingly informal layout and beautiful trees that surround many of the areas. It left us with the feeling that we would be back soon to discover the areas that we had missed and to enjoy some of those that we had seen at a more leisurely pace.

To find out more information visit Cambridge University Botanic Garden site.

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Last updated 16/07/2010.