How do the Friends support the Garden and Arboretum?

Financial news

We are discussing with Garden and Arboretum staff the best ways to use our accumulating funds to support further new developments. Staff at both sites are working on the details and funding plans for new projects and for celebrations for the Garden’s 400th anniversary in 2021. Once we know their final priorities, we expect to respond quickly. Meanwhile we have made an initial contribution of £8,000 towards metal edging of the beds in the Walled Garden, the first stage of an ambitious 8-year project. This will reorganise the Family Beds according to latest classification, improve their appearance, reduce maintenance and re-plant them to increase their diversity for teaching, research and conservation. In addition, we have received a very generous donation of £15,000 from a member to support the first phase of three years of seed collecting by Curators Tom Price and Ben Jones in what they call “the bio-diversity hot-spot of Japan”.

Donations to the Garden and Arboretum

In the financial year to the end of February 2013 the Friends gave £58,000 towards the Garden and Arboretum’s basic core costs. This has funded essential items in all areas of activity including:

  • Equipment: Tractor mounted mower for the Arboretum; a rotary mower; a hedge trimmer.
  • Education: Family friendly activities in school holidays; new visitor backpacks.
  • Interpretation: Maps for visitors; website redesign; a film on diversity of the Garden and Arboretum collection.
  • Plant collections: Planting and sowing the Merton Borders at the Garden (right); safe disposal of pernicious weeds; mulching the Family Beds; labelling.


The rest of our funds are allocated to major projects in the Garden and Arboretum’s 5-year plan. We have agreed to donate £7,000 for metal edging of beds in the Walled Garden; the first stage of this work is likely to take several years. We have also offered to match a sum being requested in a major application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for an accreditation scheme for Horticultural Trainees. These donations are good examples of how the Friends can be especially helpful: the edging is an important project which is not attractive to Trusts and other donors; and matching support for the traineeships is highly cost effective. A further £200,000 (including a legacy of £97,000) will be allocated following a University review of the Garden and Arboretum’s strategy and funding in April.



Finding sponsorship and corporate members

We are looking for someone to help raise sponsorship for the Friends and to develop a corporate membership programme as an important new income stream. This person will have professional experience of running such programmes and would work on a percentage basis.

If you think you have the experience and time or can suggest someone who might be able to help, please contact: Anna Nasmyth,


Legacies and donations

Legacies are an important source of income for the Friends, as for all charities. Earlier this year we received a generous bequest of £97,000 from a former member, Tim Baker-Jones. We would like to ask all members of the Friends to consider leaving a bequest in their Will, no matter how small. Recent changes in inheritance tax make this an even more attractive way of helping to improve the Garden and Arboretum in the future. Chairman of the Friends Richard Mayou writes: "I have done this myself and I find it rewarding to feel that eventually my contribution will make a real difference to a Garden and Arboretum which have given me so much pleasure." Legacies are used to support development projects within the rolling long-term plans of the Garden and Arboretum. They can be particularly helpful in supporting projects which cannot be fully financed by the University or by external funding, and there are likely to be several of these in the next few years.

If you would like more information about leaving a legacy to the Friends, please contact our Treasurer, Hemlata Bountra, via, 01865 286690.

A legacy made some years ago helped to establish an Education Fund at the Garden
which continues to benefit hundreds of children every year


In previous years, the Friends have paid for:


  • New car park at Harcourt Arboretum.
  • New Compost Area at the Garden.
  • Glasshouse blinds. label stands, irrigation and misting equipment, and external lighting for the Charlotte building at the Garden.
  • Oak crown reduction at the entrance to the Arboretum.
  • Family and children holiday events.
  • Filming equipment to support the website.
  • Off-road vehicle for the Arboretum.
  • Two-way communication radios.



  • Re-soiling and turfing in the Medicinal Garden (right) and the Lower Garden.
  • Staff training and a third of the salary of one of the botanical horticulturalists.
  • Equipment for the education programmes.
  • Plant labelling.



  • Culvert and path repairs at the Arboretum.
  • Compost bins at the Arboretum.
  • Tree safety management software.
  • Schools education programme.
  • Garden publicity.
  • New mowers.



  • Repair of culverts at the Arboretum.
  • Plants for Mediterranean and New Zealand borders at the Garden.
  • Secondary schools education programme.
  • Salary of a trainee.
  • Plant labelling.
  • Photographic equipment.


And earlier:

  • Permanent endowment of an education officer post.
  • An all weather path around the Arboretum.
  • Conversion of the Arboretum lodge into a reception and education centre.
  • A tractor and trailer.
  • Urns and seats around the Garden fountain pool.
  • Landscaping around the Arboretum lodge.