Oxford Botanic Gardens
The Oxford Botanic Gardens began life as the Physic Gardens. It
was founded in 1621 by Henry Danvers, later Earl of Danby, for the study of medicinal plants. Because of its avowed medical purpose, the garden was originally under the
auspices of the Faculty of Medicine.
The Physic Garden cost the enormous sum of £5000 when it was
first built on the site of the former medieval Jewish cemetery. Much of that sum went on the walls which enclosed the original garden, and comparatively little was left for
plants! Wood from the pear trees planted by Henry Danvers were later used to make the chair of the Professor of Botany.
One of the Botanic Garden's triumphs is the Oxford ragwort, first
propagated here from seeds originating on Mt. Etna. The plant is now common throughout England.
The Botanic Gardens are the oldest botanic garden in Britain.
Aside from the original beds of herbs and medicinal plants the gardens now sport a series of glasshouses devoted to Tropical Lilies, Arid zone plants, and Palms.
Herbaceous borders, a rock garden, and bog garden complete this peaceful enclave on the banks of the Cherwell.
The gardens have been criticized for being architecturally
wonderful, but horticulturally inferior to newer competitors, but they remain a wonderfully peaceful corner of Oxford, and a popular destination for locals and tourists
Open 0900-1700, free entry in winter.