“The 18th and early 19th centuries were times of global exploration, which resulted in the discovery and introduction to Britain of enormous numbers of new plants from all over the world, including many unknown even to botanists. These novelties aroused such interest among well-to-do middle-class citizens that botanical and horticultural societies were set up all over the country. Birmingham Botanical and Horticultural Society, which manages the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, was founded in 1829”
- The History of Birmingham Botanical gardens
In the early 2000’s my Grandparents went on a coach trip to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Nearly 20 years later I decided to make the same trip.
After a morning spent doing a shoot on the outskirts of the city I made the trip through the centre to the gardens which are located in Edgbaston. At the time the gardens were being built, the land in Edgbaston was owned by the Gough-Calthorpe family who stopped factories or any form of industrial buildings from being on his land to keep it green and luscious for the wealthy middle class people that habited there. In 1829, 15 acres were leased from the family to build the botanical gardens.
The gardens were sculpted by J. C. Loudon and remain practically unchanged since being built, except from one of the glasshouses which was rebuilt in the early 21st century. With the beneficial friends of the gardens being politicians and important tradesman, the gardens received a lot of support. and had donations from other gardens such as Berlin’s Botanical Garden and the Chiswick Garden.
What I like about the gardens is how welcoming they feel, there isn’t anything daunting or pretentious about Birmingham’s gardens, perhaps due to the size and scale but I also feel it’s down to its design. Parts of it feels like you’re in someone’s garden greenhouse. Other parts have warm coloured walls that seem to transport you somewhere mediterranean, despite the fact of it being a cold January day in the Midlands. My only issue is the accessibility of its location via transport. I went back and visited a few months later by public transport, and had to catch two trains and an Uber. So it’s not super easy. But then again I am sure it was reachable by walking, we were just on a time limit. I definitely recommend, it has certainly inspired me since to attempt to grow some of the plants they had there.
Can I take this beautiful statue of Artemis home with me?
It was a copy of the one held in Paris, in the Louvre. Pretty please?