Oxford Botanic Garden

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Rose Lane, Oxford,
Oxford, OX1 4AZ


01865 286693


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Opening Days and Hours
Dates/days/times open:

Jan, Feb, Nov and Dec - 9.00am until 4.00pm, last admission 3.15pm.
March, April, Sept, and October - 9.00am until 5.00pm, last admission 4.15pm.
May, June, July, Aug - 9.00am until 6.00pm, last admission 5.15pm.

Parties/Coaches: Yes
Group Appointment: Yes
House Open for Viewing: No
National Garden Scheme days: Yes

One evening in July

Best Times of Year to Visit:
To see:
Admission Prices

2013: Day Ticket - £4.50
Cons Day Ticket - £3.00
Annual Pass - £15.50
Cons Annual Pass - £13.00
Children in full-time school, accompanied by an adult family member- Free
Disabled and Carer - Free
Member of the University of Oxford, and Brookes University (conditions apply) - Free.

Onsite Facilities
Parking: Yes
Shop: No
Teas: No
Dogs Allowed: No
Lavatories: Yes
Plants for Sale: No
Refreshment: No
On Lead only: No
Disabled Access: Yes
Lunches: No
Picnics: No
Special Events: No
Other Facilities & Comments:

Parking nearby. Plant and seed sales Apr - Oct.

Garden Features & Events
English Heritage/Visit Scotland Garden Grade:
National Collection:


Nearby Cambridgeshire Hotels, Facilities & Amenities

Hotels & Accommodation:
Inns & Pubs:
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Description of Garden

The Oxford Botanic Garden is one of the foremost botanical gardens in the country and has been much enhanced in recent years by new planting schemes of a horticultural nature designed to capitalise on a wonderful site.

In eight different glasshouses plants from dry deserts to tropical rainforests can be seen. Alongside 100 year old cacti and extravagant water lilies grow the plants that give us chocolate, sugar, coconuts, bananas, oranges, medicines and much more.

The Lily House is home to a number of crop plants such as rice, bananas and sugar cane. Also growing within the house is the papyrus reed, Cyperus papyrus, a native of river banks in the Middle East.

The Palm House is the largest of all the glasshouses and it was totally remodelled in 1999. Barely a dozen plants were left in it, while the old benches and paths were replaced by a more natural planting scheme. The house enables us to grow some tropical trees and vigorous climbers such as Bougainvillea. Among the crop plants in this house are pineapples, oranges, coffee and chocolate.
The rosy periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) that produces two chemicals that save the lives of thousands of children born with leukaemia is also grown here.

Plants from arid areas on all five continents are grown in the Cactus House. In the centre bed the larger cacti and succulents can be seen which include the American cactus Cereus peruvianus and the African Euphorbia abyssinica showing convergent or parallel evolution. This house is also home to a carnivorous plant collection.

The wall surrounding the Walled Garden is the original seventeenth century stonework, the building of which was supervised by Neklaus Stone using local Headington stone. Much of the Walled Garden is taken up by the long narrow oblong family borders. But other plants are arranged according to how plants are used in the Economic Quarters and others according to where they come from in the Geographical Borders. The Walled Garden is also home to the oldest tree in the Garden, an English yew, Taxus baccata.

The River Walk was created in the winter of 2000-1. The plants were chosen for their colour in late winter and early spring. The River Walk leads to the Water Garden.

The Rock Garden's plants on the east side are all European and those on the west side are from the rest of the World.

The planting scheme in the Autumn Borders was created to have its peak in September and October. The design makes use of shrubs, herbaceous perennials and annuals and many dahlias that are now left in the soil through the winter and protected with mounds of bracken from the Arboretum and willow hats.

History Of Garden

The original benefaction of £5,000 from Sir Henry Danvers was enough to build the Walls and Archways but not to employ anyone to cultivate the Garden and Jacob Bobart, the first Horti Praefectus, had to fund the plantings out of his personal earnings from several taverns in Oxford, and the first coffee shop to open in England. Bobart's son, also Jacob, started the annual botanic garden seed exchange by which many gardens, including this one, acquire seeds of new species that they want to grow.

In 1734 William Sherard left the University a large endowment to support the teaching of botany and plant science, and the Keeper of the Garden is the Sherardian Professor of Botany. The Austrian black pine in the south east corner of the Walled Garden was brought here as a seed in 1795 by Professor John Sibthorp and planted in its present position in 1800. Since then it has survived hurricane force winds and temperatures ranging from -30C to +30C - far more than most animals would tolerate.

In 1851 Professor Daubeny built the Tropical Water Lily House after he had seen the giant Victoria waterlily at Chatsworth House. The present layout of the glasshouses dates from 1893 though the aluminium superstructures date from 1971.

In 1951 the Garden became a free standing department within the University when the Department of Botany moved out of the buildings on either side of the Danby Arch and relocated in the Science Area in the Parks. These buildings are now student accommodation for Magdalen College.

There has been a greenhouse at the Garden for over 300 years. The first appears on the 1675 Loggan print. It was, however, not a success because the windows were too small to let enough light into the house. The Conservatory was rebuilt to the original Victorian design in 1973 but using aluminium rather than wood & iron. The section of the Garden below the seventeenth century walls was annexed in 1947 when the Fellows of Christ Church decided that they did not want their allotments any longer.

The first catalogue of the collection was published in 1648. In 1992 Henry Scholick bequeathed his copy of the catalogue to the Garden. To mark this generous gift we created a small selection of the plants in the Herbaceous bordersgrown when the Garden was founded.

In 1998 Sandra & Nori Pope of Hadspen Garden in Somerset designed the planting scheme for the Autumn Borders retaining the beautiful backdrop across the Meadow to the Colleges.

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