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An illustrated talk by Jim Paine of Walnut Tree Gardens Nursery, Attleborough.

Venue: Bawdeswell Village Hall, Reepham Road, NR20 4RU

Sat 19th Nov, 2021. 2pm

Jim Paine posed the question ‘What is a botanic garden?’

The specific definition is a garden dedicated to scientific research, education and conservation.

They hold: field collections, living collections, seed banks and research facilities, for example Cambridge Botanic Gardens.
Labelling is extremely important, and the gardens aim to be aesthetically pleasing.

The earliest examples were in ancient history, The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, of which no trace remains, Romans had some formal gardens, Medieval gardens, a vision of heaven? There were Physic Gardens attached to monasteries. In 1621 the University of Oxford established a separation between medicine and herbalism. Botany emerged as a distinct science. Around the 17th century systemic plant collecting started for example bulbs from the Near East, this was the start of the discovery of a huge global plant diversity. There are 390,900 flowering plants in the world at the latest count.

Carl Linnaeus 1707-1778 began the classification of plants and was the father of modern taxonomy. His book Systema Naturae was published in 1758. He gave some much needed order to the conservation and living collections of plants.

In the 18th century there were numerous scientific expeditions, particularly that of The Endeavour with Joseph Banks a wealthy man who financed the expedition to the South Pacific, bringing back many species unknown in the northern hemisphere.

In the 18th century Orangeries were built to preserve tropical plants.

The Royal Botanic Society was established in 1839.

In the 19th Century botanic gardens were established. They assisted in research and development of plants for rubber, wood and tea as well as many other commodities. In the UK we have 205 botanic gardens, and there are 1800 around the world. The botanic garden furthest north is in Tromso in Norway. Probably our best known botanic garden is Kew with its 7 million specimens and huge conservatory which sustains different climates. Wakehurst Place in Sussex holds a massive seed bank keeping seeds in an ideal temperature for their conservation. Kew was established in 1840, and is 300 acres, it has 1100 staff. The other necessary discipline for plant recording is art. Botanic art is extremely well documented and gives enormous pleasure to us all.

The very informative talk ended with questions, followed by tea and biscuits.

Next Event

2022 Annual Tate Talk

Sat 5th Mar, 2022. 2pm

Venue: Bawdeswell Village Hall, Reepham Road, NR20 4RU

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