The University Of Oxford Botanic Garden is an historic botanic garden in Oxford, Oxfordshire.

It is the oldest botanic garden in Great Britain and one of the oldest scientific gardens in the world. The garden was founded in 1621 as a physic garden growing plants for medicinal research. Today it contains over 8,000 different plant species on 1.8 hectares (4½ acres). It is one of the most diverse yet compact collections of plants in the world and includes representatives from over 90% of the higher plant families.

In 1621, Henry Danvers, 1st Earl of Danby, contributed £5,000 (equivalent to £744,000 in 2005) to set up a physic garden for "the glorification of the works of God and for the furtherance of learning". He chose a site on the banks of the River Cherwell at the northeast corner of Christ Church Meadow, belonging to Magdalen College. Part of the land had been a Jewish cemetery until the Jews were expelled from Oxford (and the rest of England) in 1290. Four thousand cartloads of "mucke and dunge" were needed to raise the land above the flood-plain of the River Cherwell.

Humphry Sibthorp began the catalogue of the plants of the garden, Catalogus Plantarum Horti Botanici Oxoniensis. His youngest son was the well-known botanist John Sibthorp (1758–1796), who continued the Catalogus Plantarum.

The Garden comprises three sections:
1. The Walled Garden, surrounded by the original seventeenth century stonework and home to the Garden’s oldest tree, an English yew, Taxus baccata.
2. The Glasshouses, which allow the cultivation of plants needing protection from the extremes of British weather.
3. The area outside the walled area between the Walled Garden and the River Cherwell.
A satellite site, the Harcourt Arboretum, is located six miles (10 km) south of Oxford.

The Garden was the site of frequent visits in the 1860s by Oxford mathematics professor Lewis
Carroll and the Liddell children, Alice and her sisters. Like many of the places and people of Oxford, it was a source of inspiration for Carroll’s stories in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The Garden’s waterlily house can be seen in the background of Sir John Tenniel’s illustration of "The Queen’s

Another Oxford professor and author, J. R. R. Tolkien, often spent his time at the garden reposing under his favourite tree, Pinus nigra. The enormous Austrian pine is much like the Ents of his The Lord of the Rings story, the walking, talking tree-people of Middle-earth.

In Philip Pullman’s trilogy of novels His Dark Materials, a bench in the back of the garden is one of the locations/objects that stand parallel in the two different worlds that the protagonists, Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, live in. In the last chapter of the trilogy, both promised to sit on the bench for an hour at noon on Midsummer’s day every year so that perhaps they may feel each other’s presence next to one another in their own worlds.

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Posted by benbobjr on 2022-10-23 17:05:16

Tagged: , Oxford , Oxfordshire , England , English , UK , United Kingdom , GB , Great Britain , Britain , British , University of Oxford Botanic Garden , Botanic Garden , High Street , University of Oxford , gardens , plant , nature , wildlife , flower , Henry Danvers , 1st Earl of Danby , River Cherwell , Christ Church Meadow , Magdalen College , Humphry Sibthorp , John Sibthorp , Catalogus Plantarum , Oxford Botanic Garden

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