Bristol has a wonderful botanic garden, that today sits just north of the Downs in the garden of one of the University of Bristol's Halls of Residence. It has moved here quite recently from another site and it is proof of the brilliance of the team who work there, both paid and voluntarily, that it looks as though it has been there forever. The garden has 4 core collections, Evolution, Mediterranean, Local Flora and Rare Natives and Useful Plants and these can be seen used over a selection of gardens that include a herb garden, a Chinese Medicine Garden, beautiful herbaceous borders that are set out to show which plants are pollinated by which insects, or indeed small mammals in some cases, as well as sections based on the evolutionary collection and the collection of plants native to Bristol and it's surrounding area.
It also has amazing glass houses with a National Collection of Lotus, which are beyond beautiful and offer an ethereal beauty to a glasshouse that also house the Victoria Amazonica waterlily and a huge collection of Nepenthes.
But, like every botanic garden in the UK and probably worldwide, it is being squeezed by budget cuts and constantly is having to fight to survive. It's well documented that Kew's budget is always under threat but so are the budgets of the majority of these gardens, as few universities actually use them as a resource hence their constant fight for survivial.
So what can you do to help? Well make sure you know where your local botanic garden is and use it!! So many people I speak to about the Bristol Botanic Garden are completely unaware of it's existence and I imagine the same is the case for many. Visit, become a member or a friend, go to their events or even volunteer to help in the garden or in some other way. An hour helping them once a week with marketing or admin releases someone else to raise precious funds or other do other vital roles that are less easy to find volunteers to cover.
Here are a few photos of Bristol Botanic Garden that I took at their recent Bee and Pollinators Festival.