Research on Show

Today I presented at the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) congress in Geneva in the session How can botanic gardens use their scientific expertise to help solve the “big issues”? I used our approach to water sensitive design at Auckland Botanic Gardens and how this demonstrates the role of botanic gardens translating research into practice in…

The highest mountains of the Capathians

We are in the Tatras, the only alpine part of the Capathians which is in Poland (there is some snow here all year round).  There’s 12 peaks over 2000m (Mt Tongariro height). The vegetation tells the story: broadleaf forest, to conifers, shrubland then herbfield (2300m). Apparently there’s bears but thankfully/unfortunately we didn’t see them.  We…

Sharing a passion for plant conservation

Conferences are not just about sharing ideas but meeting people you will stay in touch with and that you might be able to connect others to. Now I have friends from Lithuania, Hungary, Belarus, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Poland, Ukraine (our hosts), Turkey, Bulgaria, Germany and a Ukrainian now based in Canada.  [Even though…

The two BG’s of Kyiv

The conference I’ve just attended in Kyiv was a Botanic Garden (BG) for University teaching. Much of it is not publically accessible.  The part of it that captivated me the most were the glasshouses and I’ve mentioned the tropical forest glasshouse already, the others are mostly filled with succulents. Many of the students studying here…

Green Urban Ukraine

Ukrainians value greenery and flowers in their cities. Flowers are sold at almost every corner and instead of window washers dodging rush hour traffic it’s flower sellers. Most cafes have planter boxes and most streets have concrete planter boxes in the centre or edge of paths. 

Extreme gardening 

If you live hundreds of metres up top of a rocky island in a castle your design brief for the garden has to be ‘looks best from above’. The garden at St Michaels Mount, an island off the south cornwall coast accessed by a low tide causeway, certainly nails this. And yes, a family lives…

Chalk & Cheese

Trengwainton and St Michaels Mount are 12 minutes drive from each other but you couldn’t visit two more different gardens. I’ll start with Trengwainton…St Michaels Mount garden most certainly needs to stand alone!  Trengwainton is traditional English woodland style garden with rhodos, camellias and magnolias with the older beech, sycamore and ash trees apparently dating…

Surreal Eden

The big drawcard botanically to Cornwall is the Eden Project which I visited today.  It’s a former porcelain clay quarry turned into massive fake ecosystems to highlight the importance of plants.  The biomes are huge. In the Mediterranean biome you know you’re in a big plastic dome but the tropical forest dome disappears into the…

It’s all about the rocks: Cornwall

My planty review of the Eden project is next but I got distracted by rocks. These strange hills are dotted round Cornwall. The answer as to how they got there is in part about the Eden Project (which is about plants). The Eden Project is in a big hole in the ground formed by china…

The Friends of Auckland Botanic Gardens

This year I am not the only person from the Auckland Botanic Gardens that the Friends are helping to travel to find out how Auckland Botanic Gardens fits into the world of public and botanic gardening.  Partnerships & Education coordinator, Julia, is off to the US in June.  Last Year Records and Conservation specialist, Emma,…