The University of Bristol Botanic Garden – Bristol
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Before I went on my hectic travel schedule one sunny Sunday when I went down to Bristol my boyfriend surprised me with a little outing. He bundled me into the car and didn’t tell me where we were going, eventually we pulled up to this large old house with a sign outside saying: “Bristol University Botanical gardens”. I wasn’t sure what to expect but at least it was a nice sunny day for a walk.
After parking the car down the back of the building you enter the gardens through a small gate on the side of the building after buying a ticket in a little shed on the path. The tickets are not more then a fiver and the gardens are worth more then that. The garden is made up of a series of educational displays with clear themes to help illustrate the evolution of planets from different climates around the world. From the familiar plants to the unfamiliar everything is clearly signed and they even got into the spirit of the Shaun the Sheep tour in Bristol as I spied some cheeky Aardman sheep with some Bristol Onions.
One of my favourite areas is the Chinese Herb garden which shows the different use of plants which the Chinese have used for used for medicinal purposes and which parts of the body they treat with each plant.
I love the circular entrance to the garden and the pavilion covered in leaves. It is the perfect place to sit, relax, and reflect on a lovely sunny day, you’ll be surprised how many people we saw doing just that, it is a true place to solitude.
It is surprising how just simply surrounding yourself in greenery can transport you somewhere different in the world by simply just blocking out the roads and buildings around you. All of a sudden all you can hear is the rustling leaves in the wind and the smell that the plants create.
An amazing part of the Botanical gardens is the display of the “Evolution of plants” where you walk through 500 million years of plant evolution.
The display has plants from the Devonian period 412 – 360 million years ago when mosses and simple algae were dominant, through to the beginning of the Jurassic period 213 – 144 million years ago where there were conifers which shed their leaves in autumn.
I hate to say it (to the joy of my boyfriend) but it honestly did feel like we were walking through the set of Jurassic park. The prehistoric feeling of this part of the gardens was incredible, and the plants are plentiful, lush and green with plenty I had never seen or heard of before.
The further through each section of the garden we walked the more intrigued I became with each individual plant and the way that it looked individually and in mass. From the unfamiliar to the familiar which I’ve never seen in plant form before it was an education and a sight for the eyes.
As you can see it is extremely easy to get lost in all the green surroundings, but honestly the best was yet to come, the glasshouses at the end of the garden are filled to the brim with different tropical plants. The 604 square meter glasshouses is divided into 5 climatic zones.
From the cactus to the venus fly trap you could stay and marvel at all the shapes, colours, types and natural forms there are in these glasshouses but by far my favourite is the Tropical zone.
In the centre of the Tropical zone glasshouse is a huge pool of water with Giant Amazon Waterlilies which were the size of satellite dishes surrounded by different varieties of lotus plants.
It was by far my favourite display, it was so impressive and beautiful, I would recommend anyone coming to visit then take your time through the glasshouses even though the heat and the humidity does make it a little uncomfortable to stay in there for a long time.
Just make sure you take in all the incredible different types of plants, the shapes, colours, and smells they have on offer, it’s a lot to take in.
If you ever come to Bristol and want a nice place to have a walk in the sun then definitely have this place on your radar. It is an inexpensive way to spend an afternoon in the sun surrounded by greenery, after all they say that England is a garden and what a garden this is. Just seeing all the beautiful plants make me understand why nature is such an inspiration for all sorts of designers from architects to fashion, nature is such an incredible thing. “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better” – Albert Einstein.
Where is your favourite garden in the UK or your favourite place to get away from everything? For more information about the Bristol Botanic gardens check out their website.