About The Friends of the Botanical Gardens, Sheffield (FOBS)

Formed in 1984, the Friends support the Gardens and provide the opportunity for gardeners of all abilities to meet, socialise and learn more about horticulture.
The FOBS Constitution was last revised in November 2019.

Friends Activities

A programme of monthly meetings is arranged for the second Monday (evenings) and fourth Tuesday (mornings) in the demonstration centre in the Gardens.

Research and development:
Research for naming and sourcing plants is carried out by a number of volunteers. Plants for the Himalayan bed have been grown from seed obtained from the countries in that part of the world. Another member manages the National Collections of Weigela, Diervilla & Sarcococca. A new bed in Osborn's Field was created in 2019 to display South African plants, these have also been grown from seed collected in that country.

Gardens History:

History of the Gardens- V1 Sheffield Botanical Gardens: a history. Volume 1 (1826-1844)
by R. Alison Hunter and Daniel Q. King 2017
A 235-page book detailing the creation of the Gardens and their development under the management of the first Sheffield Botanical and Horticultural Society until the financial crash of 1844. Biographical notes of curators, architect, patrons and shareholders are included.
Price 15. Books available at FOBS meetings and at www.amazon.co.uk
History of the Gardens- V1 Sheffield Botanical Gardens: a history. Volume 2 (1844-1858)
by R. Alison Hunter 2019
A 270-page book continuing the story of the Gardens. This was a busy period as a new society took over the management following the financial collapse of the first company in 1844. An improving economic situation and successful business practices meant that all debts were paid off in the first decade. Funds were then available for further developments including a new house for the Curator, extensions to the conservatories and an elegant tea pavilion. This was a time of significant advances in horticultural knowledge as shown by the inclusion of newly introduced species listed in the Curator's plant catalogue.
Price 15. Books available at FOBS meetings and at www.amazon.co.uk
Educational Leaflets:
FOBS volunteers have researched and published the following leaflets:
Some Conifers of note in the Sheffield Botanical Gardens 2008
The National Plant Collection of Sarcococca at the Sheffield Botanical Gardens 2009
These leaflets are available free of charge.

Published twice a year and sent to every current FOBS member.

Local Tours:
A programme of visits to several gardens in and around Sheffield is arranged for members every year.

Regional Tours:
One-day coach trips to gardens and nurseries in the region are enjoyed by FOBS members.

National Tours:
The popular five day FOBS ‘holiday’ gives members the opportunity to see many different gardens in more distant parts of the country. These are organised every alternate year.

Friends' support for the Gardens

Garden Volunteers:
Members have worked in the Gardens since 1993. The team is in action every Wednesday, from 10.00 - 12.00.
Click here to find out more

Plant Propagation:
Volunteers work to propagate hundreds of plants for use in the Gardens and for the plant sales.

Plant Sales:
Major plant sales are held in May & September. Sales of specialised plants propagated from seed by our volunteers are held in June, July and October. These fund-raising events are popular with local gardeners and visitors alike.

Tours of the Botanical Gardens:
Led by FOBS volunteers these tours are very popular with both local and national visitors.
To find out more about leading a tour - or to book a tour of the Gardens email: FOBS Garden Tour Organiser

Stationery Sales:
Specially designed greetings cards, the Gardens' History booklet and garden-related items are available at FOBS meetings and at FOBS stalls set up at local fairs and events.
FOBS greeting cards are also available at the following outlets:

Discounts for FOBS Members:
The following stores offer a 10% discount on production of a current FOBS membership card.

Volunteers provide much appreciated refreshments at meetings and special events in the Gardens.

Speakers and Exhibitions:
FOBS volunteers also travel to give talks to other local & regional groups.
Click here for more information.

The Restoration Project 1997-2005

By the early 1990s the Gardens were in a derelict state and the role of the Friends changed significantly. The group set up the Sheffield Botanical Gardens Trust (registered charity no. 1057845) in 1996. A partnership was formed with the Sheffield Town Trust (owners), Sheffield City Council (managers) and the University of Sheffield. A successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund resulted in an award of 5.06M. The SB Gardens Trust and FOBS volunteers worked hard to raise 1.22M in matched funding to access the grant. Work in kind, i.e. hours spent by volunteers working on the Project, counted too!
FOBS volunteers were responsible for the redesign of the Main Borders in 2002, the reorganisation of the Long Border in 2006 and for planting perennials and shrubs there and elsewhere in the Gardens.

The Future

The Dorothy Fox Education Centre opened in the Gardens in Spring 2017, replacing an old leaky portacabin that had hosted lectures and classes for 30 years. The Centre, paid for by generous legacies and local fund-raising, is allowing the Friends to expand our programme of speakers and activities, as well as attracting national organisations such as the Royal Horticultural Society to run events in the Gardens for the first time.

Thoughts now turn to maintenance and development of the Gardens once more. We are happy to be working with the Council team on a range of projects to replant and rejuvenate sections of the Gardens, with the Friends providing horticultural knowledge, volunteer support and some funding.

Privacy Policy

Our website does not use cookies or collect any data about visitors to the site. It does however contain links to other websites and we are not responsible for the privacy practices or content of those external sites.

Please see our Data Privacy Policy for information on how we collect, use and store personal data supplied to us by our members.
Any queries or requests about our use of personal data should be directed to our membership secretary