Garden Plays Part in Borough Bloom Title Bid
University of Leicester 16-acre Botanic Garden, which this summer will host a
three-month international sculpture exhibition, is playing a part in a bid to be
identified as one of the most attractive places in Leicestershire.
and Wigston Borough Council has entered the forthcoming East Midlands in Bloom
competition. The Borough is also hoping to launch the first Oadby and Wigston in
Bloom competition later this year.
Peter Bhogaita, town centre manager for South Wigston, Wigston and Oadby, said the Borough's gems included the University of Leicester Harold Martin Botanic Garden.
He said: "What we have in the borough really does have a chance of winning but, because we live here, we don't realise what's available in terms of greenery and flowers.
"We certainly do have a lot going for us and can certainly compete with some of the best of the others."
East Midlands in Bloom judges will visit the Borough on July 16. The Sculpture in the Garden exhibition opens on July 5 and runs until September 20.
Oadby and Wigston in Bloom, which is expected to be launched later this year, will give residents and businesses a further opportunity to shine. Categories are likely to include best gardens, best shop fronts and best public spaces.
University of Leicester Botanic Garden comprises:
Water Garden is flanked by pillars and ropes on which are trained climbing and
rambling roses. In the pool grow a range of water lilies, among which the pale
pink ‘Marliacea Rosea’ is outstanding. A variety of climbers scramble over
the pergola which crosses the axis of the water garden at its northern end.
These include a purple leaved form of the Grape vine, whose dark purple grapes
yield a harsh juice.
the Pergola is the Sunken Garden. This is a parterre of small beds laid out on a
brick pavement, each bed edged with a dwarf form of Box. A traditional rotation
of spring and summer planting is maintained in these beds.
by a Yew hedge, the Conservation Garden contains the National Collection of
hardy Fuchsia, which are at their best from late August to October. Three other
National Collections are held in the Botanic Garden and separate leaflets are
available for them all: Aubrieta
- April to May, Skimmia - all year
in plants is associated with very arid or salty environments and involves the
production of a group of special characters, such as: massive fleshy,
water-storing organs; spines or sharp-pointed leaves; and often a special mode
of photosynthesis whereby carbon dioxide is taken into the plant at night,
rather than during the day. The display contains not only members of the cactus
family but also other plants that have adopted a similar habit. A separate
leaflet provides more details.
House and Terrace
House (known as ‘Middlemeade’ until 1947) was built in 1904 for Mr F S
Brice, a Leicester hosiery manufacturer. The sheltered south-facing wall is home
to some tender plants, such as the evergreen Magnolia grandiflora, a native of
the southern United States whose sweet scented flowers open a few at a time from
July to late autumn. Adjacent is a specimen of Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’, whose
double yellow flowers appear in June. The terrace beds in front of the house
have been planted with evergreen, summer-flowering shrubs, chiefly from the
between the two lawns in front of Beaumont House, the Sandstone Garden is
dominated by a collection of Japanese Maples, cultivars of both Acer palmatum
and A. japonicum. Cultivated by the Japanese for centuries, these species have
produced a wide array of forms differing in leaf colour and shape. Particularly
impressive is a specimen of A Japonicum ‘Aureum’ which carries golden
yellow leaves throughout the summer, and in the autumn ‘Aconitifolium’ often
provides a splendid display of turkey-red leaves. In late winter the clean
trunks of the maples are complemented by large drifts of the lavender-coloured
Limestone Garden is dominated by a well-grown specimen of Bristlecone Pine, the
tallest in the country (9.1m in 1981). In the wild the species grows at high
elevations in the Californian Sierra Nevada, where some trees have been dated as
being about 5000 years old, among the oldest living things on the planet. The
Limestone Garden itself is layed out on a geographical theme, with the mountain
floras of America, Europe and Asia all represented. A smaller island towards the
northern end contains British species.
side of the Alpine House contains plunge beds in which is grown a diverse array
of alpines. The other side features a planting of species that occur wild only
in the Balearic Islands. Just in front of the Alpine House is the National
Collection of Aubrieta.
House was built in 1928 for Mr Brice when he retired and left Beaumont. Its
terrace provides a sheltered pocket for plants from Mediterranean climates. Here
may be seen a large specimen of Azara microphylla from Chile, Jamesia americana
(a white-flowered relative of Hydrangea from California), and the Moroccan
Broom, with yellow, pineapple-scented flowers, from North Africa.
by a pair of Mulberry Trees, and edged with hedges of dwarf lavender and
rosemary, the Herb Garden is planted with medicinal and culinary plants, often
aromatic members of the mint family, such as sage, bergamot, Nepeta and thyme.
Complementing the mints are other grey-leaved aromatic plants, such as various
species of wormwood and Santolina.
Southmeade Lawn and Hastings Glasshouse lie the Order Beds. About 30 flowering
plant families are displayed, representing all the larger ones native to the
British Isles. The beds are rather unorthodox in that they are designed in the
form of two ‘snakes’, one for dicotyledon families and one for monocotyledon
families. On the north-facing side of the wall and by the western hedge are
perimeter beds which house the National Collection of the genus Skimmia.
in the warm-temperate section is a variety of species, including the
Bird-of-Paradise Flower and a small collection of palms and cycads. The tropical
section recreates a rainforest environment but also displays a collection of
economically important plants, such as banana, coffee, rice, sugar cane, mango
and pineapple. It also features a small display about Alfred Russel Wallace and
Henry Walter Bates, two former residents of Leicester who made significant
contributions to our understanding of how evolution works.
Knoll, Lawn and Pond
Knoll was constructed for Mr William Winterton, a local brick manufacturer, in
1907 with specially made tudor bricks and roofed with local Swithland slates.
Later occupied by Mr E.S. Fox (of Glacier Mints), the house was bought by the
University in 1964. In the middle of the lawn is an old oak, a field tree dating
from the last century. Nearby, is a pond planted with aquatic and marsh plants,
including Gunnera tinctoria, a Chilean species with huge leaves and prickly
leaf-stalks. Overlooking the pond is a specimen of our native Downy Birch,
similar to the Silver Birch but with hairy young shoots and twice as many
House and Terrace
House (known as ‘Nether Close’ until 1947) was built in 1902 for Mr Stevens,
a Leicester hosiery manufacturer. The design is apparently based on that of Old
Ragdale Hall, near the Leicestershire village of Rotherby. Warmth-loving species
grow against the wall of the house and fronting the the terrace is the largest
Wisteria sinensis in the garden, almost certainly dating from the original
planting in the early 1900s. 15
the far side of Hastings House lawn is a grove of Cedars. Left to right they
are: the grey-leaved variant of the Atlas Cedar from North Africa; in the middle
is the Cedar of Lebanon from the Near East; and on the right is the Deodar Cedar
from the Himalayas. Across the path further to the west is a young specimen of a
fourth species, the Cyprus Cedar, planted in 1982 by T G Tutin, Emeritus
Professor of Botany at Leicester University, to commemorate the founding of the
Botanic Garden in 1921.
East Side and Old Pinetum
of the Garden’s coniferous species are to be found in this area. Notable
specimens include the following:
Sequoias, including a curious pendulous form, that looks very gothic;
Redwood, a plant known only as fossils until living trees were discovered in the
mountains of China in 1941;
Fir, the tallest tree in the garden at 24m.
Pine, a native variant of the Scots Pine and collected from the Black Wood of
Rannoch in Perthshire, one of the few remaining stations of the formerly
widespread Caledonian pine forest.
Meadow is quite a good example of ‘unimproved’, neutral grassland, now rare
in Leicestershire, and contains over eighty native British species, including
Adder’s Tongue Fern, an indicator of undisturbed pasture, and Yellow Rattle, a
species which parasitises many of the meadow grasses.
the meadow to the west is a line of trees, some of which, i.e. the Field Maple
and the Common Ash are the remnants of an old hedgerow dating back to the last
a paddock, this area now contains a planting of trees characteristic of northern
hemisphere woodlands, including species of birch, alder, maple and sweet gum,
the last displaying impressive autumn colouring. Providing an evergreen accent
are various tree heaths, bearing sprays of white flowers. Of special interest in
the westernmost planting is a group of Lodgepole Pines, collected in the wild
from five localities ranging from Alaska to Oregon. They show genetic
differentiation in height very clearly, with the northern collections being
smaller than those originating from further south.
Leading northwards from the heather beds on the far western side is Holly Walk, so named because most of the garden’s collection of hollies is planted along its route. The adjacent lawn (which used to be a tennis court,) has been planted with part of the National Collection of Lawson’s Cypress, a temperate rain-forest species.
This document has been approved by the head of department or section.