Category: Botanic gardens

Concrete jungle

Lophophora williamsii [CC-BY-SA-4.0 Steve Cook]

The Barbican is a sprawling concrete brutality as apt to divide opinion as Marmite or skinny jeans. Built in the 60s and 70s as a housing estate and cultural centre on a vast bomb-site in the City of London, it does not sound like a promising place to go botanising, but after the fire-weed was …

Continue reading


Atrichum undulatum [CC-BY-SA-4.0 Steve Cook]

When we went to the Berlin Botanischer Garten in 2005, we saw some pretty cool stuff,  including a flowering Welwitschia and some fantastic tree ferns. However, like every other botanical garden I’ve ever visited, mosses , hornworts and liverworts were effectively ignored, or – worse – treated as dreary also-rans at the start of one …

Continue reading

Here be dragons

Jardin Canario [CC-BY-SA-4.0 Steve Cook]

Previously on Bagging Botanic Gardens: Maspalomas et al., Wisley, Brussels, Down House, Much Else Besides. The minute I found out there was a botanic garden in the north of Gran Canaria as well, a return visit became inevitable. The Jardín Botánico Canario “Viera y Clavijo” is in the outskirts of Las Palmas, and is much larger than …

Continue reading

More botanical baggings

Eden Project [CC-BY-SA-4.0 Steve Cook]

Previously on Bagging Botanic Gardens: Wisley, Brussels, Down House, Much Else Besides. Eden Project An old clay pit in Cornwall doesn’t sound like the most promising place to find a tropical forest, but the alleged proximity of the entrance to Magrathea might go some way to explaining it. The Eden Project’s bubble-wrap domes are now such …

Continue reading

Wisley in Winter

Lophophora williamsii [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

It’s not really a botanic garden, but the Royal Horticultural Society’s gardens at Wisley is near enough as makes no difference. We visited in what should have been the dead of winter, but which in reality was this weird sprautumn mash-up that is now December in the UK. The heather garden was particularly pretty, despite the wind: At £12, the entry …

Continue reading

Bagging botanical Brussels

Gingko biloba Meise [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

The last time we went to Brussels, I got terribly excited that the hotel we were staying in was right next door to the Botanical Garden of Brussels. Unfortunately – as we discovered in short order – at some point in the 1930s the plants had mostly been shipped off elsewhere, leaving the garden not very botanical, and Dr …

Continue reading

Bagging botanic gardens

Amsterdam botanical gardens [CC-BY-2.0 Alex Lomas]

I’m not sure whether bagging botanical gardens is better or worse than bagging Munros, Michelin stars or the numbers off of rolling stock, but it keeps me off the streets… London (Kew) Just ten stops down the District Line from $WORK lies the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. The gardens have three enormous glasshouses, a number …

Continue reading

Down amongst the butterworts

Pinguicula grandiflora [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

I lived within 30 minutes’ drive of Charles Darwin’s house for the whole of my childhood. It’s been open to the public since it was acquired by English Heritage in 1998. I’ve been a biologist of sorts for about 18 years. It’s taken me until today to actually visit Down House, and to wander down …

Continue reading