Cambridge University Botanic Garden

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Cambridge University Botanic Garden

The Cambridge University Botanic Garden, in Cambridge dates back to 1762, and can be enjoyed by the public to this day.

The original garden was founded on land purchased for the purpose in the centre of the city. The garden aimed to support the study of plant diversity and contribute to scientific research.

By 1825 the study of botany was at a very low ebb in the University. No lectures had been given for 30 years and the Botanic Garden in the centre of the city was struggling. 

John Henslow was 29 years old when he accepted the Chair of Botany in that year and he determined to improve the Botanic Garden by moving it to a much larger site.

The extra acres would allow the cultivation for study of exciting new tree species then being described as a result of the exploration of western North America. No longer would a botanic garden be regarded as little more than a drug plant nursery for teaching medical students – Henslow’s view was that this Garden should be for the study of the plants themselves.

Spanning 40 acres, the garden is a living museum with an extensive collection of over 8,000 plant species. Its layout is organised into various themed sections, including a Rock Garden, Winter Gardens, and the Systematic Beds, offering visitors a diverse botanical experience. The glasshouses, like the iconic Palm House, showcase a range of climates and plant life from around the globe.

Throughout its history, Cambridge Botanic Garden has been a hub for botanical research and education, playing a pivotal role in advancing the understanding of plant biology.

Notable botanists, including Charles Darwin, have been associated with the garden, further solidifying its significance in the scientific community.

The Botanic Garden is open to the public and is a 15-minute walk from Cambridge city centre and 5 minutes from Cambridge train station

The image used is from Wikimedia Commons.

Further reading

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