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Botanic Garden

Botanic Garden

Oxford Botanic Gardens are often asked how a botanic garden differs from other types of gardens. Botanic gardens are collections of plants that are grown for purposes other than purely aesthetic reasons – but in Oxford Botanic Garden we do try to arrange the plants in attractive, sympathetic and exciting ways. Many gardeners come here to seek inspiration. In the beds and borders you may find new plants that would be perfect in your garden at home and partly for this reason we strive to label clearly every plant in the Garden.

Plants are grown in this Garden to support our teaching programmes, for research scientists in this University and elsewhere and as part of plant conservation projects.

Furthermore this Garden is a national reference collection of 7,000 different types of plant, making it the most compact yet diverse collection of plants in the World – there is even more biological diversity here than there is in tropical rain forests and other biodiversity hotspots.

The Garden consists of three sections. The Glasshouses contain plants that need protection from the extremes of the British weather. The area outside the Walled Garden contains classic garden features such as a Water Garden and Rock Garden as well as the innovative Black Border and Autumn Borders. Within the Walled Garden plants are grouped in a number of different ways such as by country of origin, botanic family or economic use.

Series associated with Botanic Garden

# Episode Title Description People Date Media Files
1 Organisms Reading and Reference list Reading and Reference list for Organisms lecture series. Tim Walker 09 May 2013
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2 Creative Commons Organisms Lecture 4: The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation 2020 Fourth and final lecture in Professor Tim Walker's Organisms series in which he looks at how we can conserve the world's vital plants on a global scale. Tim Walker 07 May 2013
  • (415.43 MB)
  • (99.59 MB)
3 Creative Commons Organisms Lecture 3: What have Plants done for us? Third lecture in Professor Tim Walker's Organisms lecture series in which he looks at what plants have contributed to human existence. Tim Walker 07 May 2013
  • (381.9 MB)
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4 Creative Commons Organisms Lecture 2: Biological Pollination Second lecture in Professor Tim Walker's Organisms lecture series in which he looks at biological pollination - how bees and other insects pollinate plants. Tim Walker 07 May 2013
  • (405.13 MB)
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5 Creative Commons Organisms Lecture 1: Its all about seeds First lecture in Professor Tim Walker's Organisms lecture series in which he looks at seeds and their imporance to organisms. Tim Walker 07 May 2013
  • (337.08 MB)
  • (55.53 MB)
6 Plants and People: Cotton, Sugar and Quinine A lecture given by Timothy Walker to biology undergraduates as part of the Plants and People Course in which the close relationship between these three plants and human history are examined. Timothy Walker 26 Feb 2013
  • (320.12 MB)
7 Plant conservation 4: there is no technical obstacle to the conservation of every plant species. The fourth in a series of four lectures on the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) given to third year biology undergraduates. This lecture looks at how, despite recent advances, there are still gaps in our knowledge about plant conservation. Timothy Walker 20 Feb 2013
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8 Plant Conservation 3: repairing the damage The third in a series of four lectures on the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) given to third year biology undergraduates. This lecture looks at how we can restore plant communities to biological health. Timothy Walker 20 Feb 2013
  • (415.05 MB)
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9 Plant Conservation 2: protecting plant species The second in a series of four lectures on the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) given to third year biology undergraduates. This lecture looks at how threatened species can be protected. Timothy Walker 20 Feb 2013
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10 Plant Conservation 1: conservation conventions, strategies and policies First in a series of four lectures on the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) given to third year biology undergraduates. This lecture looks at the events leading to the creation of the GSPC. Timothy Walker 20 Feb 2013
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11 Creative Commons 21. Thank you and goodbye Thank you for exploring the Botanic Garden with our group of plant loving chemists. Alison Foster 18 Oct 2012
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12 Creative Commons 20. Pigments from plants One small part of the plant kingdom makes a different type of pigment to all the rest. Alison Foster 18 Oct 2012
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13 Creative Commons 19. Plants in extreme environments How plants manage to photosynthesise in extreme environments. Alison Parkin 18 Oct 2012
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14 Creative Commons 18. Why are plants green? Why chlorophyll and hence plants, looks green. Alison Parkin 18 Oct 2012
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15 Creative Commons 17. Ancient pigments How chemistry can change the colour of dye molecules from plants. James McCullagh 18 Oct 2012
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16 Creative Commons 16. Nitrogen fixation Hear about natures natural nitrogen fixers. Kylie Vincent 18 Oct 2012
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17 Creative Commons 15. Nitrogen uptake by plants Why nitrogen is important to plants and the communities of microorganisms living in the soil. Kylie Vincent 18 Oct 2012
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18 Creative Commons 14. The caramel tree Why the Katsura tree smells of caramel and how analytical techniques have solved the problem of what is responsible for the smell. James McCullagh 18 Oct 2012
  • (1.67 MB)
19 Creative Commons 13. New medicines from plants Many modern medicines are derived from plants. Alison Foster 18 Oct 2012
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20 Creative Commons 12. Healing molecules or poisonous plants? The notorious history of healing molecules. Many molecules from plants can be used as medicines but are also toxic if the dose is too large. Diane Lim 18 Oct 2012
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21 Creative Commons 11. The machine inside plants The photosynthetic machinery inside plants is explained. Alison Parkin 18 Oct 2012
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22 Creative Commons 10. Colourful vegetables Pigments from plants are different colours depending on the chemical environment they are in. Elizabeth Rayment 18 Oct 2012
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23 Creative Commons 09. The hottest plant in the world How chillis and a euphorbia are helping to produce new painkillers. Ed Anderson 18 Oct 2012
  • (1.49 MB)
24 Creative Commons 08. The chemistry of decaffeination How chemistry impacts on decaffeination of the world's second most popular drink. Gem Toes 18 Oct 2012
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25 Creative Commons 07. The many tastes of ginger Ginger contains a cocktail of different molecules. The different molecules in dried, cooked and fresh ginger lead to different flavours. Ed Anderson 18 Oct 2012
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26 Creative Commons 06. New materials from plants The lotus plant has inspired the development of new self-cleaning materials. James McCullagh 18 Oct 2012
  • (1.32 MB)
27 Creative Commons 05. Energy from the sun How plants use energy from the sun to make food from carbon dioxide and water. Alison Parkin 18 Oct 2012
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28 Creative Commons 04. Robert Robinson, a revolutionary chemist Sir Robert Robinson used the Botanic Garden in his research investigating the structures of alkaloids derived from plants. Ed Anderson 18 Oct 2012
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29 Creative Commons 03. Take care with the word organic Hear what the word organic means to a chemist. Alison Foster 18 Oct 2012
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30 Creative Commons 02. A few words about chemicals Everything is made of chemicals - whether they are from a natural source or not. Alison Foster 18 Oct 2012
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31 Creative Commons 01. Welcome and Introduction A welcome to the Botanic Garden and the Chemistry at the Garden audio trail from the Senior Curator, Dr Alison Foster. Alison Foster 18 Oct 2012
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32 21. Philip Pullman The celebrated author shares his passion for the Botanic Garden and reads from the end of the His Dark Materials trilogy. Phillip Pullman 28 May 2012
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33 20. The gunnera The plant growing on the island in the lower garden pond. Timothy Walker 28 May 2012
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34 19. Green gardening The new Merton borders - the latest Botanic Garden experiment. Timothy Walker 28 May 2012
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35 18. The Madagascan palm The palm that's not a palm! Kate Pritchard 28 May 2012
  • (2.01 MB)
36 17. Same or different? A cactus and a euphorbia - an example of convergent evolution. Timothy Walker 28 May 2012
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37 16. The fight for light The rainforest and the desert in the middle of the city of Oxford. Kate Pritchard 28 May 2012
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38 15. The rosy periwinkle A pink flowered plant that provides a life-saving anti-cancer drug. Timothy Walker 28 May 2012
  • (1.79 MB)
39 14. The cocoa tree The most important tree in the garden - the chocolate giving tree. Lili Friend 28 May 2012
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40 13. Insect eating plants How the venus fly trap catches its food. Lili Friend 28 May 2012
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41 12. The Victoria lily Lili talks about the water lilies she looks after every day. Lili Friend 28 May 2012
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42 10. The black pine Hear about JRR Tolkiens favourite tree! Timothy Walker 28 May 2012
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43 09. The hornbeam How photosynthesis explains why this tree has grown so large. Timothy Walker 28 May 2012
  • (1.83 MB)
44 08. Mistletoe A plant growing on a tree! Emma describes how it comes to be growing on this tree. Emma Williams 28 May 2012
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45 07. The dawn redwood No-one knew this tree still existed until the middle of the last century - hear about its name and its discovery. Emma Williams 28 May 2012
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46 06. The handkerchief tree At its best in May when it is covered in white handkerchiefs. Hear why the tree makes them. Timothy Walker 28 May 2012
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47 05. The ginkgo An ancient species that saw the dinosaurs come and go! Timothy Walker 28 May 2012
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48 04. The yew tree The oldest tree in the Botanic Garden is now an important source of an anti-cancer medicine. Timothy Walker, Emma Williams 28 May 2012
  • (3.33 MB)
49 03. The two magnolias The deciduous magnolia and the evergreen magnolia - disadvantages and advantages of two different ways to be a plant. Timothy Walker 28 May 2012
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50 02. What do the labels mean? An explanation of the features of the plant labels at the Botanic Garden. Timothy Walker 28 May 2012
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51 01. Welcome to the Botanic Garden An introduction to the Botanic Garden by the Director, Timothy Walker. Timothy Walker 28 May 2012
  • (2.35 MB)
52 Creative Commons Manipulating plant genes - how do you actually do it? We often hear in the news about GM (Genetic Modification or Manipulation) but what does it actually involve? Liam Dolan 10 Jan 2012
  • (64.93 MB)
53 Creative Commons Achieving food security and sustainability for 9 billion To ensure food security for the increasing world population in a environmentally sustainable way, we must double productivity on the same area of land. Chris Leaver 09 Jan 2012
  • (57.57 MB)
54 Creative Commons Plants in a chemical world Plants are able to metabolise a surprisingly diverse range of synthetic chemicals including pesticides and pollutants. Rob Edwards 09 Jan 2012
  • (44.6 MB)
55 Creative Commons From hairy roots to new medicines Modern medicine uses many compounds which are isolated from plants. For example, vinblastine, which is used to treat many types of cancer, is isolated from the leaves of the Madagascar periwinkle. Sarah O'Connor 09 Jan 2012
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56 Creative Commons The gene garden The spectacular variety of colour and growth form seen in our gardens is the result of the action of thousands of genes operating in pathways and networks. Hugh Dickinson 09 Jan 2012
  • (55.65 MB)
57 Using Science to Enhance Root Function in Crops Part of the Future of Crops Lecture Series held at the Oxford Botanic Gardens. Liam Dolan 19 Jan 2011
  • (60.5 MB)
58 Creative Commons The OneOak Project:using science and art to revive Britain's wood culture Part of the Future of Crops lecture series delivered at the Oxford Botanic Gardens. Gabriel Hemery 19 Jan 2011
  • (36.33 MB)
59 Creative Commons Rice as a crop - a 100 year perspective from 1950 to 2050 Part of the Future of Crops lecture series delivered at the Oxford Botanic Gardens. Jane Langdale 19 Jan 2011
  • (41.43 MB)
60 The Artemisinin Supply for Malaria Control Part of the Healing Power of Plants lecture series given at the Botanic Gardens. Dianna Bowles 21 Dec 2010
  • (55.15 MB)
61 A Spoonful of Sugar Part of the Healing Power of Plants lecture series held at the Botanic Gardens. Robert Nash 21 Dec 2010
  • (59.3 MB)
62 Creative Commons Streptomyces in Nature and Medicine: The Antibiotic Makers Although plants are a very important part of a garden, we must not forget about the important contribution that soil makes. Bacteria living in the soil also produce compounds important as modern antibiotics. Sir David Hopwood 17 Nov 2010
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63 Creative Commons The Botanic Garden - Your Modern Medicine Cabinet The first talk in the series from the Oxford Botanic Garden. This talk will describe the development of this new area as well as explaining the involvement of some of the plants grown there in the discovery and development of modern drugs. Alison Foster 15 Nov 2010
  • (56.35 MB)