Published: 24 May 2014
Leicester Botanic Garden
Leicester’s Botanic Garden is a green oasis open to all.
Owned by the University of Leicester since its founding in 1980 the sixteen acre Botanic Garden has been created by amalgamating four adjoining properties. This now single site comprises of a wide range of ornamental plants and landscaped features with the original four houses forming impressive backdrops to many of the planting schemes and vistas. 
Under the Directorship of Dr Richard Gornall the gardens are engaged in scientific research programmes and a range of educational activities, around 10,000 students from schools and colleges in the region visit each year as part of the curriculum studies.  There are also many talks, tours and visits run in association with the Friends of the gardens.      
Across the site there are some wonderful mature specimen trees, including horse chestnuts, redwoods, a large weeping blue cedar in the Cedar Grove and Pinetum areas

Long catkins of the Hop Hornbeam, Ostrya carpinus.

Plant displays range from the national collections of Lawson conifers, Skimmia and Aubrieta  and a series of landscaped ‘Order Beds’ containing around thirty flowering plant families in planted in the order of their DNA classification. This is a valuable research facility for students studying botany and plant nomenclature.

Another specialist plant collection can be seen in the Alpine Houses where plants are displayed in both pots and naturalistic scenes.

A fine collection of desert plants is seen growing in the large Desert House

The pond restoration.

The water garden in the Beaumont House garden area is nearing completion after a major restoration project where specialist contractors have relined the pond, replaced inefficient filter tanks and installed new fountain units and planting baskets. The completion is planned for the end of April 2014.
While walking around this site it is possible to see collections of plants from around the world. The original plants were planted in the four different gardens, each with its own style appropriate to its time. With foresight and good design the resulting single garden gives the visitor an opportunity to see how gardens can change and adapt over time. The results of this evolution at Leicester University Botanic Garden are that it offers not only a valuable educational resource but a great place for visitors to see and enjoy the natural world of plants. As the visitor information leaflet states it provides “The most diverse garden in the East Midlands”
Free visitor access and street parking is on Glebe Road, Oadbury. Note: use the postcode LE2 2LD to locate this public entrance.
For further information see their website:
Reported by Chris Allen  

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