Birmingham Botanical Gardens
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|Birmingham Botanical Gardens (United Kingdom)|
|Location||Edgbaston, Birmingham, England|
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens are a 15-acre (6-hectare) botanical garden situated in Edgbaston, Birmingham, England. The gardens are close to the centre of Birmingham and open every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. They are located at grid reference ,1 1⁄2 miles (2.4 km) from Birmingham city centre. It is an independent educational charity.
The gardens were designed in 1829 by J. C. Loudon, a leading garden planner, horticultural journalist and publisher and opened to the public on 11 June 1832.
The layout of the Botanical Gardens has changed very little since Loudon first designed it. There are four glasshouses which range from the exotic Tropical glasshouse, through to the Subtropical, Mediterranean and Arid houses. A large lawn is located in front of the glasshouses with a range of beds and shrubberies around its perimeter. Overall, the character is that of a Victorian public park with a bandstand set in 15 acres (6.1 ha) of landscaped greenery.
The gardens contain over 7,000 different plants and are home to The British National Bonsai Collection. One of the oldest specimens is the "Omiya tree", a 250-year-old Juniperus chinensis in the informal upright style, presented to the collection in 1995 by the then city of Omiya, Japan. There are many unusual and notable plants in the gardens including two fine Himalayan Cedars close to the fountain. These were raised from seeds given to the gardens in the 1840s by James Watt Junior - son of James Watt whose improvements to the Newcomen steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution. A plant found nowhere else is the fern Dicksonia ×lathamii which is a hybrid between Dicksonia antarctica and Dicksonia arborescens, raised by ex-Curator W. B. Latham more than one hundred years ago. There is also a sensory garden which features specific plants which enhance the senses.
The gardens are also home to a small collection of exotic birds from around the world including the white-cheeked turaco, Himalayan monals, azure-winged magpies and quaker parakeets. Most birds are located in the white-domed lawn aviary building that provides a focal point on the main lawn. There is also a wetlands enclosure that contains ornamental waterfowl including different species of ducks. Some of the birds have been at the gardens a very long time including a sulphur-crested cockatoo called Jenny that has been entertaining visitors with her chatter for over 30 years[when?]. There is always at least one peacock roaming wild in the grounds. There is also a seasonal butterfly house.
There are two playground areas for children, a traditional one consisting of swings, a slide, etc. and additionally, a children's discovery garden where children can learn about plants through interactive play.
The gardens serve schools and colleges in the West Midlands and beyond. The education programme is cross-curricular. Schools are able to use the purpose-built education building called the Study Centre. The Centre also hosts leisure courses for adults.
Ernest "Chinese" Wilson
From 1893-1897, Ernest Henry "Chinese" Wilson was a trainee botanist at the gardens. He went on to become a notable plant collector. In May 2010, a blue plaque was erected at the gardens, by the Birmingham Civic Society, marking his time there.
There is an all-year events programme that includes family activity sessions for youngsters, outdoor theatre, plant fairs and shows and a band performs in the bandstand every Sunday afternoon between April and October.
There is a gift shop, plant sales centre, tearoom, seasonal butterfly house and three function rooms (Loudon, Garden and Terrace Suites) which can be hired.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Birmingham Botanical Gardens.|
- Birmingham Botanical Gardens Retrieved 29 July 2015
- Keogh, Kat (2010-05-31). "Blue plaque unveiled at Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Edgbaston to plant hunter Ernest Henry Wilson". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 25 February 2012.