Oxhill News

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South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

March 2015

This months News



Garden Club

On Thursday 19th February members and visitors were given an enthusiastic Oasis of Delight / ‘personal experiences’ lecture by Philip Aubrey, past director of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The experiences recounted ranged from the care and maintenance of exotic plants, the building and staffing of a unique Study Centre, the startling language of mynah birds, to meetings with Royalty and Heads of State.

The Gardens, with landscapes designed by John Loudon, first opened in 1831 on a member only subscription basis.  The land, just two miles from the city centre, was donated and, being to the west of a heavily industrialised Birmingham, benefited from the clean air blowing up the Chad Valley.  In its first century of life, the gardens were popular with a menagerie of wild animals including bears and crocodiles.  City dwellers used to visit by charabanc but with car ownership becoming the norm in more recent times adjoining land had to be purchased just for parking.

We were taken on a virtual tour of the gardens by means of a succession of slides showing the various features: the rock garden and pool – the introduction of koi carp depleted the original variety of water plants; four spectacular glasshouses filled with exotic plants gathered from the four corners of the globe – mostly when the British Empire was in its heyday; the sensory garden, herbaceous borders, bonsai, alpines and grasses – all designed to delight the eye and excite visitor interest.

Not only famed for its variety of flora, Birmingham Botanical Gardens has always been a prestigious place to hold social and business events - everything from tea dances, to weddings, to conferences. Many club members in the audience had visited the gardens in the past and many more, inspired by the talk, resolved to visit in the future.

The next meeting on 19th March will be our AGM when, no doubt, light will be shone on the various successful activities of the last twelve months, plans laid for the future, business conducted swiftly, and time taken to enjoy a leisurely glass of wine with various savoury accompaniments.  All are welcome.

Douglas Nethercleft

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Last modified: February 25, 2015