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Botanic Garden getting set for busy weekend

Press release issued: 3 June 2015

A floating Ballast Seed Garden family day, Get Growing Garden Trail and National Garden Scheme open day are three events the University of Bristol Botanic Garden is set to take part in this weekend [Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 June].

On Saturday 6 June from 11 am to 2 pm, members of the public will have the opportunity to meet volunteers from the Botanic Garden and Arnolfini at Castle Park to see the annual planting of ballast seed plants on the floating Ballast Seed Garden.

Families are invited to visit the activity tent to join in with plant themed activities.  Visitors will be able to talk to friendly, knowledgeable volunteers about the garden, see special guest plants and hear about the ideas behind the floating Ballast Seed Garden project. 

The Botanic Garden will be featured in the Get Growing Garden Trail, which is returning for a fifth year on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 June.  There will be 30 groups showcasing 36 gardens, from pocket growing sites on high streets or in parks, to expansively productive fields. From miniature orchards tucked behind shops, to historic gardens, to working farms. Each community project has its own ways of working and its own ways for people to get involved.

The final event of the weekend will be the National Garden Scheme open day on Sunday 7 June from 10 am to 5 pm. 

Members of the public visiting the garden on Sunday will enjoy large floral diversity displays illustrating pollination and flowering plant evolution.  A network of paths lead visitors through collections of Mediterranean flora, rare natives, useful plants (including European and Chinese herbs) and those that illustrate plant evolution.

The garden is home to the Giant Amazon Water Lily, Victoria amazonica, with leaves 1.5 metres in diameter, the Sacred Lotus collection, many tropical fruits and medicinal plants, and the famous Wollemi Pine.

There will be special tours of the garden throughout the day, plant sales and refreshments. A wheelchair friendly route through the garden will be available upon request and a wheelchair can be borrowed from the Welcome Lodge.

Nick Wray, Curator of the Botanic Garden, said: “We are delighted to be involved in these three popular events.  The Ballast Seed Garden project has some unusual plant species, such as Squirting Cucumber and Love in the Mist, that were transported to the city in the ballast holds of sailing vessels when Bristol was a major European port.

“The Botanic Garden has for over 30 years, opened for the National Garden Scheme, and over the years thousands of visitors have enjoyed the garden at its best and raised money for the scheme.”

The floating Ballast Seed Garden family day will take place at Castle Park on Saturday 6 June from 11 am to 2 pm.  The event is free but donations are welcome.  Visitors are asked to share their photos or their thoughts @arnolfiniarts #ballastseed

The Get Growing Garden Trail will take place on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 June from 10am–4.30pm.  Admission is £4.50 adults; free to University staff and retired staff, Friends of the Botanic Garden, students and children under 16.  Refreshments will be available.  The 2015 Trail leaflet is available for download here.

The Botanic Garden National Garden Scheme (NGS) open day will take place on Sunday 7 June from 10 am to 5 pm.  Admission is £4.50 (including Friends of the Garden), children under 16free.  Ticket includes a tour of the garden.  Proceeds from the event will go to the NGS and Botanic Garden.

Further information

About the Ballast Seed Garden project
Seeds of Change is the overall title of an on-going ballast seed garden project with Brazilian artist, Maria Thereza Alves. When ships came into port in Bristol, they were weighed down with ballast (earth, sand, rocks, etc), which they dumped onto the river banks. In this ballast were seeds carried from ports and which can lie dormant for hundreds of years. These seeds germinated and grew, contributing to the development of the ‘European’ landscape.

Working with the University of Bristol Botanic Garden, Arnolfini and Bristol City Council and utilising a disused grain barge, Alves has created a Ballast seed Garden on Bristol’s Floating Harbour, populated with a variety of non-native plants, creating a living history of the city’s trade and maritime past.

About the Botanic Garden
The Botanic 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 to the Bristol area. 

Star attractions include an amazing dell demonstrating the evolution of land plants including the dinosaurs’ favourite plants: ginkgos, cycads, tree ferns, monkey puzzles and Wolly, the Wollemi Pine.  Other delights include the Chinese and Western herb gardens and an inspiring display of plants illustrating floral diversity. 

Opening times for the Botanic Garden:.
June, July, August and September.  Open Monday to Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4.30 pm.

Admission is £4.50 adults; free to University staff and retired staff, Friends of the Botanic Garden, students and children under 16.

Teas will be available on the terrace every Saturday and Sunday until the end of September for Garden visitors, served from the Devers room in the Holmes.

Dogs (except registered disability assistance dogs) are not permitted in the Botanic Garden.

The garden is largely accessible for wheelchairs and mobility scooters with a designated path leading around the Garden and glasshouses. Disabled toilet facilities are available on site.

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

Directions to the Botanic Garden
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 Botanic Garden at 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 the Friends of the Botanic Garden or write to Susan Redfern, The Membership Secretary, 24 Dublin Crescent, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4NA.

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