The Bobarts Group

The Bobarts patron group celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2014. Over the last decade we have provided extra financial support to the Garden and Arboretum which has enabled many projects to be completed. In our first year we supported the planting of a coppice of birch, hazel and sweet chestnut at the Arboretum; then we helped to re-landscape the area around the Lodge, which has been converted very successfully into a Visitor Centre for the education programme. In 2006, 2007 and 2008 we contributed to the appeal to buy Palmer’s Leys meadow and since then we have supported projects such as the new medicinal beds at the Garden, including interpretation boards for visitors of all ages and a detailed booklet on the use of these plants in clinical medicine. As we approach the 400th anniversary of the foundation of the Garden in 2021, the extra financial support that the Bobarts Group provides is even more important, so please consider joining us. As a member you will have all the benefits of being a member of the Friends, plus a programme of exclusive visits to wonderful gardens and to university and college collections in small groups, accompanied by the head gardeners, owners or curators. I would like to thank these owners for their continued support and most generous hospitality.

2014 was one of our most successful years. Membership of the Bobarts continued to increase and we visited more gardens than ever before. In early May the annual Bobarts Reception was held at the Oxford Botanic Garden on one of the first warm sunny evenings of the year. This was a really successful 10th anniversary party. For the first time all the garden owners who had welcomed us to their gardens and the librarians of the colleges who had shown us their botanical art were invited. Everyone enjoyed the chance to meet each other in this inspiring setting and to have tours with the former Director Timothy Walker, Senior Curator Alison Foster, Glasshouse Curator Kate Prichard, and Druce Curator of the Oxford University Herbaria Stephen Harris.

We had three double garden visits which included to Adwell House and Dreamers Cottage near Thame; the latter a one third of an acre productive garden growing fruit, vegetables and herbs in a sustainable yet stylish approach to gardening. We were the guests of Louise Allen, who was Curator of the Botanic Garden at the time of the launch of the Bobarts Group in 2004, and her partner Piers Newth. In early July we went to Springhill House (left), home of Penny Jacoby, a secret 1 -acre plantswoman’s garden with roses climbing and rambling everywhere. Lunch in her courtyard garden was followed by a visit to the Old Vicarage, with its hybrid Japanese maple plantation and many other rare plants and trees. In mid- August we visited Eyford House in Upper Slaughter in Gloucestershire, followed by a short country walk down to Rockcliffe House. The owner is a landscape gardener and in this glorious setting we walked from one delightful garden ‘room’ to another. In September we visited Crockmore House (right) designed by Christopher Bradley-Hole with its planting of grasses, metres high. With the sun and a gentle breeze the atmosphere was magical.


Medenham Mill (left) near Henley had been under water for five weeks in January but by the time of our visit had lush and vibrant planting. In September we visited two wonderful gardens in Iffley Village and had a tour of the Norman St Mary’s Church. Finally in October we enjoyed a talk on the history of plant collecting at the Oxford University Herbaria by Dr Stephen Harris, Druce Curator.


In 2015 we will have visits to Egrove Park, Haseley Court, Winfield House and the Royal College of Physicians in Regents Park, Inholmes and Rooksnest in Lambourn, the Old Rectory at Quenington, Chivel Farm in Heythrop, Thame Park and the Bodleian Library in Oxford.


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the Bobarts Group

If you are not already a member, please consider joining the Bobarts group.


For further information, contact the Friends’ Administrator Liz Woolley on 01865 286690,, or download an application form (right).