The Bobarts Group
The Bobarts Group, founded in 2004, is the Patrons’ group of the Friends. It gives those who wish to, the opportunity to contribute extra financial support to the Garden and Arboretum on a regular basis. Bobarts members enjoy all the benefits of being part of the Friends, plus a special programme of exclusive small group visits to private gardens. Members are also invited to an annual reception at which they meet personally the Director and Curators of the Garden and of Harcourt Arboretum, and to private views of art exhibitions at the Botanic Garden.
Members join the Bobarts for a number of reasons: one describes it as the chance “to support the Garden and Arboretum and especially their education programmes and their conservation and commitment to plant diversity. The visits to private gardens in small groups, accompanied by people with similar interests in gardens and gardening, are particularly enjoyable. Such groups do not overwhelm even the smaller gardens and the owners are particularly welcoming and hospitable.” Many Bobarts have forged new friendships through their membership; others are simply happy to give extra financial support to the Garden and Arboretum.
In 2012 there were nine special garden visits, which were very interesting and well supported. We are so grateful to owners of these beautiful gardens and estates who open their grounds especially for us. It is a great pleasure to walk around the gardens accompanied by the owner or the head gardener and to enjoy special hospitality at the end of the tour. For 2013 we have once again had most generous invitations from garden owners. In March we are spreading our wings and will travel to Kew Gardens in London to visit Hunter House and view the rare books there, followed by a talk in the Marianne North Gallery. In April Liam Dolan, Keeper of the Oxford Botanic Garden, will give us a guided tour of the spectacular gardens at Magdalen College accompanied by the College’s head gardener. In May we will visit Upton Grey, a Gertrude Jekyll-designed garden faithfully restored by the present owner. At the beginning of June we visit a very private garden, Hardwick Hill, owned by a garden designer and botanical artist. In late June we will be given a tour of the garden at the Coach House at Ampney Crucis, with yew and box hedges providing a sense of enclosure and an ornamental potager and cutting garden providing flowers and produce for the house. We will then move on to Oxleaze Farm where we shall have a light lunch followed by a tour of this more informal garden with vistas linking various garden rooms. In mid-July the Bobarts Day will be at Harcourt Arboretum with curator Ben Jones, as we celebrate 50 years since the Arboretum became part of the Oxford Botanic Garden.
Please consider joining this patron group in 2013; members enjoy a variety of specially-arranged visits in small groups to gardens rarely open to the general public. You will also be invited to previews of art exhibitions being held at the Oxford Botanic Garden. For further information contact the Friends’ Administrator on 01865 286690 or download an application form by clicking here.