The Friends' e-bulletin



At our AGM held on Wednesday 28th September 2017 we heard about all the plans for future developments at the Garden and the Arboretum - report and accounts can be read on our web pages.

In this eBulletin, you will find a list of the very popular Winter Lecture Series 2017 with dates – you can get those into your diaries for the New Year – and for the autumn term you will find the details of the Autumn Plant Science Lecture Series.

I have included a plea on behalf of the people operating the ticket offices, and I feel sure you will wish to support them.

And lastly anyone with an interest in becoming a volunteer guide is invited to step forward.

As always, I welcome all comments and contributions from you.

Seonaid (pronounced Shornid) Danziger

Future Events and Visits for Friends and their guests


Winter Lecture Series 2017: 

The series will be held at the Said Business School. For further information about booking please click here

Thursday 9th February

Mark Johnston is an arboriculturist, writer and lecturer. During his career he has made an outstanding contribution to the development of urban forestry and will talk about the history of trees in British towns and cities from the Romans to the present day. 

Thursday 23rd February

Victoria Summerley gardener and garden writer will talk about the Great Gardens of London, fascinating stories of plants and people inside London’s most exciting gardens, gardens which are mainly closed to the public or rarely open their gates.

Thursday 9th March

Richard Mabey is a writer and broadcaster, chiefly on the relations between nature and culture. He will talk on themes related to his recent book The Cabaret of Plants, which explored “the idea of plants as independent organisms with a value not dependent of their usefulness to us.” 

Thursday 23rd March

Caroline Holmes garden historian and writer, lecturer and consultant designer will talk about Bory LatourMarliac the source of water lilies before and beyond Monet. In 1875 Joseph Bory Latour-Marliac founded the nursery that propagated and cultivated the hardy water lilies that captivated Monet and led to the development of his celebrated water paintings.

Train To Be A Volunteer Guide

Peter Girling writes:

Friends are invited to register their interest in becoming an unpaid voluntary guide. Volunteers must be confident about addressing groups of about 15 visitors, as well as being enthusiastic about the Garden, the Arboretum and their plant collections.


Last year the Director, Simon Hiscock, asked Peter Girling to experiment with introducing voluntary guides along similar lines to the established arrangements at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden.

Simon requested volunteers at the winter evening lectures in February and March and at an earlier Friends’ coffee morning. From those volunteering, a group of 10 attended an intensive training programme on Monday afternoons during May and June given by several of the Garden staff. This has enabled these volunteers to prepare and give introductory tours starting in July. Further trials during late August and early September are being conducted with spontaneous tours offering Garden visitors the opportunity to join a tour at set times that day.

Next Steps

For 2017 we are likely to need more voluntary guides to meet the demand for introductory garden tours. We also plan to offer special history tours of the Garden early next year and to start volunteer-led tours at the Arboretum.

We would like to recruit more able and enthusiastic Friends to give voluntary tours at the Garden and the Arboretum. We also need a few more Friends with an interest in the Garden’s history to join Stephen Harris’s training programme starting in mid-November.

If you would like to know more or to register your interest, please contact Peter Girling, the guide co-ordinator, at

Coffee Mornings at the Oxford Botanic Garden

Friends' coffee mornings are on the first Friday of every month (except January and August) and are an opportunity for Friends to get together and usually about 40 people attend. All coffee mornings being 10.30am in the Garden's Conservatory followed by a tour at 11.00am. No fee and no booking required, just turn up.


The Bobarts Patron Group

Jennie Turner writes:

For over 12 years the commitment of the Bobarts Group has provided extra financial support to the Garden and Harcourt Arboretum.  Our members enjoy all the benefits of the Friends plus a programme of visits to the University collections as well as gardens and visits in small groups, to some of the best gardens and estates in the area.  I would like to thank all the owners for their support and generous hospitality. 

Bobarts Day 2016 was held at the OBG.  Director Professor Simon Hiscock joined us there for the first time, together with Tom Price, Garden Curator and Kate Pritchard, Glass House Curator.  Following the reception on the Events lawn members were given a tour of the Garden and Glasshouses with the Curators, then an interesting and stimulating talk by Prof Hiscock on the exciting new plans for the Garden

For 2017 we are already planning another exciting year for you.

If you are not already a member, why not join this group and come with us on these visits?

The Ticket Office and Friends' Membership Cards

We would like to remind all Friends that it is an essential requirement that you present your current Membership Card at the Ticket Office if you wish to take advantage of your associated priviledge of free entry to the Botanic Garden or the Harcourt Arboretum.

The staff in the Ticket Office do not have access to the Friends' database, so your card is their only way of knowing that you are a genuine Friend and your membership is current. Without your current Membership Card, you will be treated as a normal visitor and will be required to pay. We trust that you will understand this and cooperate with all those working to make the experience a good one for all concerned.