A magnificent oasis in the middle of Cambridge city centre. You would never guess that behind the iron fencing lies a fabulous forty acre botanic garden containing over 8000 plant species from around the world.
This was the vision of Professor John Henslow, mentor to Charles Darwin when it opened in 1846, now a heritage-listed Garden, a resource of the University and a delightful place to spend a Summer’s afternoon.
There is so much to see here, not just for keen gardeners and horticulturalists but for anyone interested in nature. A contemplative mood is reflected in the students parked on the many benches around the landscape, quietly reading.
I, myself, was most taken with the huge Redwoods which were breathtakingly beautiful. I also loved discovering the tropical rain forests and giant water lilies that were housed in the 1930s built Glasshouses (replacing the original Victorian range) and what a find to walk right into the rare Jade Vine, apparently one of the garden’s spring stars and a vivid and extraordinary example of the beautiful flora on display.
Then there were all the different gardens to explore: Rock, Scented (heavenly), Bog and Rose, to name but a few; the Grass Maze and Healthy Herbie. The serenity of the Lake and a Café at the heart of it, made for a secret escape into a land of rich and diverse habitats.
I thought that my entrance fee (adult £4.50, 16 and under are free) was money well spent and if any of it goes towards maintaining and preserving these glorious plants, which I’m sure it does, then I am happy to have made a contribution.