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Discover the secrets of the garden

A flower with a bee

A flower with a bee Elemental Imaging

Press release issued: 15 May 2013

The University of Bristol Botanic Garden will be transformed into a living science lab this Sunday [19 May] for Fascination of Plants Day.

Members of the public will be able to explore the hidden world of plants during the event, which will take place from 10 am to 4.30 pm, and celebrates the second international Fascination of Plants Day.

Scientists from the University’s School of Biological Sciences will be on hand to reveal the secrets of the garden and visitors can take along flowers from their own gardens to examine under UV light and view the flowers through the eyes of a bee.  There will also be an opportunity to view the Seeds of Change display set amongst the garden’s extensive plant collections.

Nick Wray, Curator of the Botanic Garden, said: “There is a wealth of diversity in gardens that goes unnoticed, from the important native plants that sneak in as ‘weeds’ to life at a microscopic scale.

“Visitors will have the opportunity to take part in a plant hunt in the wild flower meadow, with prizes for the most species discovered, and to trek through Bristol’s own desert and tropical rainforest to learn how plants adapt to living in extreme environments.”

Dr Mimi Tanimoto from the UK Plant Sciences Federation, a Special Interest Group of the Society of Biology, explained: “Plants are fundamental to our existence, providing us with food, fuels, medicines, building materials, fibres and paper. They deliver services such as flood control, and enhance our recreational space, physical and mental health and cultural practices.  We want to share the amazing world of plants with a wider audience, and engage in discussions about how plant sciences are helping to address global challenges.”

This year also marks an important biological anniversary: the 100th anniversary of the death of Alfred Russel Wallace, the eminent Victoria naturalist and explorer, who together with Charles Darwin conceived the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Largely unknown to the general public, Wallace is also recognised as the ‘father of biogeography’ because of his extensive and insightful studies of the distributions of animals in equatorial regions of the Americas and Asia. His studies of the Malay Archipelago led to the demarcation of the Wallace Line, which divides Indonesia into a western region where animals are of Asian origin, and an eastern region where animals are more like those of Australia.

The Botanic Garden Fascination of Plants Day will take place on Sunday 19 May from 10 am to 4.30 pm.

Admission is £3.50 for non-members, free to Friends of the Botanic Garden, University staff and retired staff, students and children under 16.  No booking required.

Further information is available from the Botanic Garden, tel 0117 331 4906 or email

Further information

About the Botanic Garden

May: Open Monday to Friday and Sunday from 10 am to 4.30pm.
June, July, August and SeptemberOpen Monday to Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4.30 pm.

Admission is £3.50 adults; free to University staff and retired staff, Friends of the Botanic Garden, students and children under 16.

The garden also offers private day, evening and weekend guided tours for groups and gardening or any other leisure clubs. Please contact the garden for further information. There is a charge for the guide.

Directions to The Holmes

From the city centre go to the top of Whiteladies Road, at the junction and traffic lights go straight ahead across Durdham Down towards Stoke Bishop. At the traffic lights go straight ahead and take the first turning on the right into Stoke Park Road, The Holmes is 150 m on the right.

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.

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