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Come on an evolutionary adventure

Press release issued: 2 July 2008

Botanist and conservationist, David Bellamy, OBE, will be joining in a day of celebration and opening the ‘Evolution Collection’ at Bristol University’s new Botanic Garden on Saturday 5 July.

Botanist and conservationist, David Bellamy, OBE, will be joining in a day of celebration and opening the ‘Evolution Collection’ at Bristol University’s new Botanic Garden on Saturday 5 July.

The day will focus on existing achievements that have taken place to develop the new garden, and the challenges ahead, together with highlighting the education and conservation work.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to meet and talk with Professor Bellamy, who will officially open the ‘Evolution Collection’ and plant a tree during his visit.

The garden has a strong evolutionary theme and cultivates over 4,500 plant species forming four core collections that illustrate plant evolution, plants from Mediterranean climates, useful plants and rare and threatened native plants associated with the Bristol area.

The plant collections are laid out in exciting displays including a dell demonstrating the evolution of land plants, including the dinosaurs’ favourite plants: ginkgos, cycads, tree ferns, monkey puzzles and one of the garden’s latest acquisitions, ‘Wolly’, the Wollemi Pine.  Other collections include the Chinese and European herb gardens and a vibrant display of plants illustrating floral diversity.

Professor Simon Hiscock, Director of the garden, said: “The new garden is unique among UK botanic gardens in telling the amazing story of plant evolution, from the lowly liverworts to glorious flowering plants like the giant Amazon water lily, resplendent in our tropical glasshouse. This is a wonderful opportunity to see what we have achieved so far and experience the extraordinary diversity of plants. We look forward to welcoming everyone to our Celebration Day.”

There will be an exhibition of the development of the new garden, together with research into some of the rare whitebeam trees found in the Avon Gorge.  Writhlington School in Radstock will have an exhibition of their award-winning work where children from the school are involved in propagating and growing some of the world’s most endangered orchids.  Other organisations like the Bristol Naturalists Society and the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project will also be exhibiting.

The University of Bristol Celebration Day will take place on Saturday 5 July.  The garden will be open from 10 am with activities, including tours of the garden, taking place from 2 pm.  Tea and refreshments will be available during the afternoon.  Admission is adults £3.50, school-aged children £1. 

Further information

The regular Garden opening days are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday 10 am to 4.30pm, plus Saturdays during July and August. Entry is £3.50, £1 for school-age children.

Entrance to the Garden is free to members of the Friends of the Botanic Garden Association and University of Bristol staff during opening hours.

Members of the public wishing to support the work of the Botanic Garden should join the Friends of the Garden. For more information go to, or write to Susan Redfern, The Membership Secretary, 24 Dublin Crescent, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4NA.

Directions to The Holmes
If travelling by car from the city centre, proceed across Durdham Down towards Stoke Bishop (with the water tower on your right). Cross over at the traffic lights. Stoke Park Road is the first main turning on the right off Stoke Hill. The garden entrance, (200m on the right) is sign posted The Holmes Conference Centre and Botanic Garden and is located opposite Churchill Hall.

Limited parking is available in the car park on site and out of term time at Churchill Hall.

For public transport take bus No 40 from the city centre to Stoke Bishop, alight at the top of Stoke Hill.

From the M5, exit at junction 17 (Cribbs Causeway) and follow signs for city centre and Zoo until you reach the Downs. Turn right at first roundabout on Downs then first left and follow Saville Road to Stoke Hill. Turn right at traffic lights then first right into Stoke Park Road. The Garden entrance is 200m on the right.

Please contact Joanne Fryer for further information.
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