Oxford's Botanic Gardens

Good Morning!

Following on from the images from Singapore Botanic Gardens a couple of weeks ago, image of the week this time is a picture of Magdalen College Oxford reflected in the windows of Oxford University's Botanic Gardens. The greenery visible in the foreground is what you might call the "front garden" of the botanic gardens themselves (most of the gardens are located behind a stone archway and historic administrative building and are not visible here).

     The Gardens, which were founded in 1621, are the oldest botanic garden in Great Britain and one of the oldest scientific gardens in the world.Despite this, their small size and inconspicuous location (they are nestled alonside the River Cherwell at one end of Oxford High Street- a.k.a. "The High"), combined with the stiff competition of attractions in the city, means that the botanic gardens are not that high on a lot of people's lists of things to visit. That is a bit of a shame, since they are rather nice to see. There is a walled garden and an orangery, plus some well laid out greenhouses with a sizeable indoor fish pond and cacti and tropical plants, amongst other things. Parts of the far end of the grounds frequently flood in winter, when the river bursts its banks, but, even then, there is still plenty to see for an hour or two's diversion.

      A fond memory from my time living on Oxford's Cowley Road is going past the greenhouses of the botanic gardens each evening on the bus home from work and seeing the greenery all lit up with artificial day light (to compensate for the short day length in the British winter). I've long thought a cafe/bar/theatre set inside a giant lush greenhouse with artificial daylight until late evening would be a huge money spinner in the winter months, giving people a chance to escape the cold and oppressive winter gloom for a few hours. So when that becomes "a thing", remember, you heard it here first. ;-)

Lush tropical plants in one of the hot houses of Oxford's Botanic Gardens

Verdant leaves and exotic flowers compete for visitors' attention in Oxford's Botanic Gardens

Beaucarnea gracilis- a tree native to semi-desert areas of Mexico- growing in the cactus house of Oxford's Botanic Gardens

Next post will be some quotes from the great and the good on Monday.
I hope to see you then.


  1. Oxford is indeed an excellent city for tourism visits. The Botanic Gardens are enjoyable as you say, although small. In Japan we also have many excellent and ancient gardens with strong traditions of horticulture. The architecture is very different but some of the most treasured plants can be seen in gardens in different countries now thanks to clever horticulture and climate control facilities now available.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Kenji. Japan has some truly beautiful gardens open to the public. Probably the most amazing high tech botanic gardens I have ever seen were the Gardens By the Bay in Singapore. On the other hand, Harlow Carr Gardens in North Yorkshire and the grounds of Castle Ward in Northern Ireland are lower tech but still lovely... as are some of Japan's famous temple gardens. So, perhaps the gardens are lovely in as many ways as the different flowers within them? Rather poetic, when you come to think of it...


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