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One of the UK’s favourite gardeners to visit Botanic Garden

Monty Don

Press release issued: 13 July 2015

Members of the public will have the opportunity to see television presenter and leading gardening writer, Monty Don, when he tours the University of Bristol Botanic Garden for the first time this weekend [Sunday 19 July].

The visit, as part of his sell-out lecture, has been organised to celebrate Bristol’s year as European Green Capital, the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Friends of the Botanic Garden and the tenth anniversary of the relocation of the botanical collections to the new Botanic Garden at The Holmes.

Monty will be exploring the first new university botanic garden to be built in the UK in over 40 years with Honorary Director, Professor Simon Hiscock and Curator, Nick Wray from 1 to 2.20 pm.

The Botanic Garden in Bristol was founded in 1882 and ten years ago the garden moved from Bracken Hill, Leigh Woods, to its current site. The Botanic Garden has a strong evolutionary theme and cultivates over 4,500 plant species forming four core collections that illustrate plant evolution, plants from Mediterranean climates, useful plants and rare and threatened native plants to the Bristol area. 

Star attractions include an evolutionary dell demonstrating the evolution of land plants including the dinosaurs’ favourite plants: ginkgos, cycads, tree ferns, and monkey puzzles.  Other areas include the Chinese and Western herb gardens, a display of plants illustrating floral diversity and the glasshouses, home to the giant Amazon waterlily, Victoria amazonica, along with the unique Sacred Lotus collection, tropical fruit, medicinal plants, carnivorous plants, orchids and cacti.

Nick Wray, Curator of the Botanic Garden, said: “We are delighted that Monty is able to give our special lecture in this our anniversary year. He has presented gardening and travel programmes for over 20 years, is a renowned writer and is one of the UK’s favourite gardeners.  We are all looking forward to hearing him speak and introducing him to the Botanic Garden.

“In addition to seeing Monty Don, visitors will also be able meet Shaun of the Jungle, part of the Shaun in the City trail, designed by Martyna Zoltaszek and sponsored by Dunkley’s Chartered Accountants. Shaun is at the garden to raise money for Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal and throughout the trail the Botanic Garden will make a donation from each adult entry, admission for children is free, to this wonderful cause.”

Entry to the Botanic Garden is £4.50 adults; free to University staff and retired staff, Friends of the Botanic Garden, students and children under 16. Refreshments, tours of the garden and demonstrations will be available.

Further information

Monty Don’s sell-out lecture ‘Why garden?”, where he will share his passion on the pleasures and rewards of gardening, is supported by the Annals of Botany, the Linnean Society of London and Cleeve Nursery.

About Monty Don:

Monty Don first appeared on television in 1989 on ITV’s This Morning and continued as their regular gardening expert for eight years. He became the lead presenter for the BBC flagship programme Gardeners’ World between 2003 and 2008 and then again from 2011 when Monty began hosting Gardeners’ World from his home, Longmeadow, in Herefordshire. He has now presented gardening and travel programmes for over 20 years, and is the main presenter for the Chelsea Flower Show coverage for BBC2.

His other TV credits include, Tomorrow’s World, Fork to Fork, Real Gardens, Lost Gardens Around the World in 80 Gardens, Growing Out of Trouble, My Dream Farm and Mastercrafts.

Monty presented a series on Italian Gardens on BBC2 which was followed by another on French Gardens. In 2014 he presented a series called Real Craft for More4 and Big Dreams Shared Spaces for the BBC. Monty’s latest series for BBC2 The Secret History of the British Garden is due for transmission in 2015.

Further he has recently finished recording the second series of Shared Planet forRadio 4. In this programme Monty explores the complex interface between a growing human population and wildlife.

He is a prolific journalist and was the Observer’s gardening editor from 1994 until 2006 and now writes a regular column for the Daily Mail and Gardeners’ World Magazine. He has written over 20 books including the best-selling Fork to Fork, The Sensuous Garden, The Jewel Garden (with Sarah Don), The Complete Gardener and most recently, The Road to Le Tholonet.

Monty is a committed organic gardener and was for many years the President of the Soil Association. He has worked with schools and groups of drug addicts to build respect and reward from working with the natural world and has a strong belief in the importance of communities working together through an understanding and love of the land.

Opening times for the Botanic Garden:
July, August and September.  Open Monday to Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4.30 pm.

Admission is £4.50 adults; free to University staff and retired staff, Friends of the Botanic Garden, students and children under 16.

Teas will be available on the terrace every Saturday and Sunday until the end of September for Garden visitors, served from the Devers room in the Holmes.

Dogs (except registered disability assistance dogs) are not permitted in the Botanic Garden.

The garden is largely accessible for wheelchairs and mobility scooters with a designated path leading around the Garden and glasshouses. Disabled toilet facilities are available on site.

The garden also offers private day, evening and weekend guided tours for groups of ten upwards and gardening or any other leisure clubs.  Please contact the garden for further information.  There is a charge for the guide.

Directions to the Botanic Garden
From the city centre go to the top of Whiteladies Road, at the junction and traffic lights go straight ahead across Durdham Down towards Stoke Bishop. At the traffic lights go straight ahead and take the first turning on the right into Stoke Park Road, The Botanic Garden at the Holmes is 150 m on the right.

Members of the public wishing to support the work of the Botanic Garden should join the Friends of the Garden. For more information go to the Friends of the Botanic Garden or write to Susan Redfern, The Membership Secretary, 24 Dublin Crescent, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4NA.

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