Latest News

Little Nature Shop closed

The giftshop in the Gatehouse on Clarkehouse Road is now closed. FOBS merchandise is available in the Reception Office on the other side of the Gatehouse during normal office hours only.

Appeal for Winter pictures from the Merchandising Committee - 26 January

We hope that everyone has enjoyed the snowy weather and been out taking some super photos. If, by any chance, you've taken any good views of the Botanical Gardens we would love to see them. The merchandising committee is looking for photographs to use for the Christmas 2015 card and will be choosing these at their April meeting. We are also happy to use photographs from previous winters.
Please contact the Merchandising Committee

Curator's Briefing Day for Volunteers - 7 January 2015

Curators Briefing Day - A Hunter
Proposed new site for Diervilla Collection
©Alison Hunter, 7 January 2015

Damage to Arbutus - A Hunter
Snow damage to Arbutus unedo
©Alison Hunter, 7 January 2015

Curator, Ian Turner, started the meeting by congratulating the Wednesday Morning volunteers on achieving the record-breaking total of 2964 working hours this year. Over 49 working weeks this meant that the average volunteer attendance was 30 people. In addition, he thanked the other FOBS members who volunteer their time to propagation, labelling, identification and other support roles outside the regular Wednesday morning session. It is the commitment of volunteers, working alongside the Gardens' staff, which makes a huge difference in continuing the high standard of maintenance in the Gardens.

Ian next explained that no major gardening initiatives were scheduled this year because of the Education Centre Building Project. The present cold-frame area would become a building supply depot and cold-frames for propagation would be relocated to the part of the uphill nursery, recently used by postgraduate students from the University of Sheffield. He expressed confidence that by this time next year we would be meeting in a new building.

He reminded the group of health and safety issues, risk assessment being essentially commonsense. Manage tools with care: forks are more dangerous than spades for instance. Musculo-skeletal injuries are the most common reason for lost time (and a lot of pain) - so take care especially when digging or lifting. If you have any doubts - DON'T DO IT. Be aware of trip hazards, keep your work space tidy not only for yourself but for the Gardens' many visitors. If you see anything your think is a hazard - such as overhanging loose branches - please notify him or the staff. Always use appropriate tools - if a branch is too large to prune with secateurs use loppers or a saw. Please don't overload the collection bags, so that the staff can pick them up safely.

It was cold, damp day but a brisk tour of the Gardens then took place. The plan to cut down vegetation in the Prairie Garden early whilst the plants were still relatively upright had been foiled by the heavy snow fall (December 26/27), so the task of removing the old top-growth will be difficult but will be completed before March so that the area can be burnt-off as usual. The beech hedge around the top nursery (planted by Curator Andrew Snoddy in about 1949) has been clipped for years without much attention being paid to other plants, such as elder & holly, which had taken root. These invaders have now either been removed or cut to the ground so that the hedge can be maintained properly.

Since the felling of the old beech tree last year, plans have been made to relocate the Diervilla National Collection the the beds just outside the Marnock Garden, instead of being scattered around the Weigela beds. Some replanting of the Weigela Collection is also necessary as the number of varieties is ever increasing. The National Collection of Sarcococca is to be concentrated in the Marnock Garden or the adjoining Osborn's Field, in addition to the older specimens scattered througout the Gardens.

Currently the pools of the Rock & Water Gardens are being drained so that the sediment can be cleared and the filtration system cleaned. The heavy weight of the Boxing Day snow brought down branches of many trees, particularly the Cedrus atlantica, opposite the Victorian Garden, and the Arbutus unedo next to the Curator's House cafe. Although weight of the snow had squashed many of the plants in the Mediterranean area, it had also provided a layer of insulation against the frost so many of the border-line plants were still doing well. Three Polygala specimens had been planted when the Garden had been revamped in 2013, but two had been killed in April frosts last year. Ian thought that late spring frosts were more damaging than mid-winter ones, because the plants were emerging from dormancy. Finally, another sad casualty was inspected, a very old specimen of Crataegus, between the Evolution and Asia Gardens, had been completely uprooted by the weight of snow.

Education Centre Building Project

The request for planning permission was submitted on 24 December and we are in a consultation period of about 12 weeks. Further announcements will be made when additional information is available.

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