Oxford Botanic Garden mid-winter: all about berries, bark and grasses

When it is cold outside, the leaves have dropped and the bulbs have yet to peep out, a garden can seem quite bare.  Indeed, many gardens close their doors during the winter months, with Easter traditionally being the time to reopen.

Not Oxford Botanic Garden – the oldest botanic garden in England (dating from the 1630s) – which is open throughout the season and offers a warm pocket in the form of its tropical glasshouses together with some beautiful berries and a chance to look at the bark and form of their specimen trees.

The garden sits opposite Magdalen College and during winter weekdays entry is by donation (otherwise £3.80/£3 concessions).

There’s a formal walled garden containing many medicinal specimens, a small collection of glasshouses with ferns, cacti, edible tropical plants, orchids and carnivorous plants, a pond, allotment, rock garden, grasses and river views.

It’s a calm pocket in Oxford and somewhere that is worth popping into if you happen to find yourself in the city.

As with most gardens, it’s easier to let the pictures do the talking.

Gleaming white silver birch

Now that’s a shot of colour in your garden

A gnarled mulberry certainly adds some texture

These berries are amazing

Grasses always add texture

Evergreen topiary adds structure

The punts are all tucked up in bed for the winter

See – useful doesn’t have to sacrifice pretty.

When visited: December 2011

Website: www.botanic-garden.ox.ac.uk

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