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Nature's artistry springs to life at the Botanic Garden

Trio of blue tits in batik

Trio of blue tits in batik Jo Whiteland

A painting to The Holmes at the Botanic Garden

The Holmes at the Botanic Garden Jo West

An insect re-emerging

Re-emerging Daniel Callejo Ross

Press release issued: 26 March 2024

Human creativity and the natural world will be on display this weekend at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden annual Easter Sculpture and Arts Festival. The event marks the start of the gardening year as the garden springs into life.

The festival will take place from Good Friday [29 March] to Easter Monday [1 April] from 10 am to 5 pm

Visitors to the festival will see sculptures and artwork by over 30 local artists – the largest number to exhibit - made from stone, ceramic, wood, metal, and wire, including a rearing horse, resting deer, grazing sheep and classical figures.

Along with regular artists, a number of South West Sculptors will be displaying their work together with art students from UWE Bristol, who will be exhibiting ceramic slugs and a prehistoric creature.  Margaret Crump will be showcasing her hand built stoneware clay ceramics; batik artist, Jo Whiteland, creates large colourful batik paintings inspired by her love for the natural world; award-winning nature photographer, Daniel Callejo Ross, developed his passion for photography using nature and art whilst living in Bristol and artist and illustrator, Jo West's interest the world of fine art was inspired by the works of the impressionists.

Nick Wray, Curator of the Botanic Garden, said: "I am delighted we are hosting the festival once again.  It's a great opportunity for local West Country artists to exhibit their work – many who live and work in Bristol and know the garden well.

"The festival aims to showcase the harmony between art and nature with unique hand crafted sculptures, interactive workshops and family-friendly activities.   Our visitors will have the opportunity to be inspired and enjoy the work on display in the garden as spring beckons with blooming trees and vibrant colours of the flowers."

During the event visitors can view and buy sculpture and artwork, enjoy demonstrations and have a go at willow weaving, wood turning, pottery and stone carving with experts on hand to give tips and advice.

Bristol stone mason, David Davidge, is part of the team restoring the University's walls and masonry structures. He interprets stone to create natural figures and images by carving and chiselling until the preferred form and finish is achieved.  David will be offering visitors a chance to try this art.

Tez Roberts of Labyrinth Arts will be giving potter’s wheel demonstrations and offering visitors an opportunity to try their hand. She uses a variety of firing methods with Raku and stoneware being her preferred mediums.

Willow weaver Maya Wolf will also be teaching visitors her craft and helping them create willow sculptures to take home.

Wood turner, Geoff Hannis, will be demonstrating his green woodworking skills.  He turns objects using his foot-powered lathe with hand-held tools to cut a shape that is symmetrical around the axis of rotation. The wood then dries and takes on its own form.

Other sculptors returning this year with new creations include ceramicists Karen Edwards and Renee Kilburn; Adele Christensen and Aurora Pozniakow (glass art); Joanna Williams (blacksmith artist); Hayley Jones (3D wire sculptures) and Frankie Hudson (mosaicist).

There will be free guided tours of the garden throughout the festival and people will have the opportunity to see the spring flowers and learn about the plant world, including many exotic tropical useful plants in the large display glasshouse.

The Friends of the Garden will be selling plants on site, and refreshments will be available on the West Terrace.

The Easter Sculpture and Arts Festival at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden at The Holmes, Stoke Park Road, Bristol, BS9 1JG, will take place from Good Friday, 29 March, until Easter Monday, 1 April, from 10 am to 5 pm.

Entry to the Botanic Garden Easter Sculpture and Arts Festival is adults £10 with gift aid (£11 without); £5 to University staff and retired staff; Free to Alumni, Friends of the Garden, ALL students, children under-18 and carers of visitors.

Tickets can be booked in advance through the online shop.

Further information

About the University of Bristol Botanic Garden
The Botanic Garden has a strong evolutionary theme and cultivates over 5,000 plant species forming four core collections that illustrate plant evolution, plants from Mediterranean climates, useful plants (including Chinese and Western herb gardens) and rare and threatened native plants to the Bristol area. 

Star attractions include an amazing dell demonstrating the evolution of land plants including the dinosaurs' favourite plants: ginkgos, cycads, tree ferns, monkey puzzles and the Wollemi Pine.  Other delights include glasshouses, home to giant Amazon water lilies, tropical fruit and medicinal plants, orchids, cacti and a unique sacred lotus collection. 

Normal admission and opening times
The Botanic Garden is open from 10 am until 4.30 pm until November.

Admission outside of festivals is £9 (or £9.90 with Gift Aid), except on WEDNESDAY, which is a DAISY day; University staff and retired staff £5 (or £5.50 with Gift Aid); Free to Alumni, Friends of the Garden, ALL students, children under-18 and carers of visitors.

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

The Botanic Garden is accessible for wheelchairs and mobility scooters with a designated path leading around the garden and glasshouses. Disabled toilet facilities are available on site and a wheelchair is available upon request from the Welcome Lodge.

Pre-booked guided tours of the Botanic Garden for groups of ten upwards are available seven days a week.  Please contact the garden for further information.  Outside of festival days there is a charge for the guide of £12 per person.

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 metres 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 contact Sue Beech, The Membership Secretary, email:


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