Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Visit and So Much More to the University of Bristol Botanic Garden!

Entrance to the University of Bristol Botanic Garden
Floral Diversity Display
Marion with Gloria and Debs
Floral Diversity Garden and Pool
Wonderful Whimsical Structures in the Garden! 
Chinese Herb Garden
 Ginkgo Tree in the Chinese Herb Garden
A Very Happily Blooming Rosemary!
Western Herb Garden
Blooming Scented Geranium in the Glasshouse!
Very Happily Blooming Scented Geraniums in the Glasshouse!
One of the Tropical Zones in the Glasshouses
Three weeks ago, my English Herbal Companion, Gloria and my English friends, Debs and Simon Cook met with Marion Monahan at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden.  Marion is a Facebook friend of both Debs and now me and did I tell you I want to grow up and be like Marion?  She actually came to the United States in her college days and was going to go to the University of Pittsburgh  until a tragic accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike cut her plans short.  Marion obviously has survived that time very well.  She has had a full life as a chemist, a wife, a mother of seven and now volunteers at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden on a limited basis.  At the age of 85, Marion is a Scottish energizer bunny!  Constantly on the go and always learning about the plants she took care of in the gardens.  The University is lucky to have her and we were as well!

There were lots of beautiful parts of the gardens, but I'm going to focus on two gardens in particular, the Chinese Herb Garden and the Western Herb Garden.  The main part of the Chinese Herb Garden displays the plants in 'use categories'.  The ginkgo tree was planted by the Victorians and is a female which produces many small fruits which are highly prized in China both as a medicine and a vegetable, but that are foul smelling.  An ornamental collection of paeonies and bamboos are being planted with the herb garden.  "The Chinese Herb Garden has been developed through a partnership between the University Botanic Garden and the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine.  The partnership was founded in 1998 and each year students from the Register study at the Garden.  The garden and many of it plants are unique in Britain.

The Western Herb Garden has been designed as a circular garden surrounded by a beech hedge (which I think is in the process of being replaced).  The Garden is influenced by an ancient physic garden at Padua in Italy which was founded in 1545 and is thought to be have been the origin of the modern botanic garden.  The last several photos are of plants (scented geraniums in the glasshouses) and an overview of one of the five tropical zones in the glasshouses.  If you click the link above, you will find out about the history of this wonderful botanic garden.

So this is part one of our fabulous day with Marion.  Yes, you may be guessed what was next, we were invited to her garden.  Part two next time.  It has been a beautiful series of days here in the 'Burgh.  Have been working to get the beds planted and weeded.  Maybe should give you an update next time!  Talk to you later.  I received a comment from Marion to my post and I wanted to add it for you to read.
Lovely account and pictures, Nancy. But I did manage a year studying at Pitt before the accident drove me back home and know Pittsburgh well. Loved the Mellon Conservatory in a circle and the way the university campus came to life in the spring with forsythia gold in almost every garden. I enjoyed taking you round the Garden immensely.


Carol said...

OH Nancy! That is such a beautiful place ♥ Thanks so much for sharing and I look forward to more post on your trip and your own gardens. I've been uber busy planting around here too.

Anonymous said...

It looks like a wonderful place to visit. I must make sure I go.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What a great time you are having.

Marion inspires me and I look forward to seeing her garden.

Thank you for sharing ~ FlowerLady

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Thanks as always for your comment and for stopping by, Carol! xo

You have to put it on your list, Tracey. I'm sure you would enjoy it. xo

Thanks FL. It was a great time and Marion is a gardening dynamo! Hope everything is good with you! xo