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Botonic Gardens

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  alike.

Open 0900-1700, free entry in winter.

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