Botanic Gardens, Oxford
This botanical garden is the UK's oldest botanical garden and it holds 7,000 different species of plants. After kew gardens for me it was a bit disappointing but then again entry was only GBP3. They hold events here throughout the summer encouraging picnics & socialising it is also next to the river.
Through this gate the visitor to the Botanic Gardens passes through a high wall when crossing from the neatly laid-out formal gardens in the main part, closest to Magdalen College, to the younger and wilder garden at the far end. It's through here that Lyra leads Will, shortly before their final parting, to find the bench which they agree to sit on at noon every Midsummer Day in their respective universes.
Walls and barriers, gates and windows are an important recurring motif throughout His Dark Materials. There's something poignant about those roses, climbing towards each other but not meeting, and I like to think it's not too far fetched to suppose that they formed part of Pullman's inspiration.
The last page of The Amber Spyglass is as moving a conclusion to a novel as I have ever read. It won't spoil much if I quote the final paragraph (the heart-wrenching stuff is already behind us!). In her own universe, Lyra has gone, after midnight, to her special bench - easily identified as this one - to reflect.
Somewhere in the garden a nightingale was singing, and a little breeze touched her hair and stirred the leaves overhead. All the different bells of the city chimed, once each, this one high, this one low, some close by, others further off, one cracked and peevish, another grave and sonorous, but agreeing in all their different voices on what the time was, even if some of them got to it a little more slowly than others. In that other Oxford where she and Will had kissed goodbye, the bells would be chiming too, and a nightingale would be singing, and a little breeze would be stirring the leaves in the Botanic Garden.
I wish I'd written that...
I wonder who will be sitting on this bench at noon on Midsummer Day?
Pantalaimon, Lyra's daemon (don't ask, just read the book!), who has the form of a pine marten, delights in leaping from branch to branch in the "huge many-trunked pine tree" in the Botanic Gardens of her own world. To Lyra's delight, the tree exists in our world too, and here it is!
I knew that I wanted to visit Magdalen College's Botanic Garden months before I came. I just love the ambiance and smells of such places. And the fact that this is the oldest one in all of England made me even more curious. Founded in 1621, it was first created by the university faculty of medicine to grow plants and herbs. It contains formal flower-beds, trees, ponds, glass houses where there are all sorts of plants, from tropical to desert plants, all in a very romantic setting. The River Cherwell passes right besides it's grounds so everyone can admire the sometimes curious punting habits of some tourists or the elegance of the Oxfordian. A friend and I came here with a lunch consisting of delicious sandwiches that we scarely had to share with wasps. So check which time of year you are in, if you want to emulate us... ;-)
Visit Botanic Garden...And this is not a joke, when was founded there were so much money spent on the walls and arhitecture that little was left for plants...anyways, that's a nice quiet green place right on the High Street and next to Magdalen College
One of the most scenic places in Oxford is the Botanic Gardens, Britain's oldest such gardens. I've very little knowledge of horticulture or gardening; instead I like visiting here just to relax and read.
Established in 1621, the University of Oxford Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in Great Britain, and the third oldest scientific garden in the world. The core of it is a beautiful walled garden, which is quite formal and consists of narrow beds with plants arranged in families. There are some pleasant water features, benches and plenty of shady trees. I particularly liked the collection of apple trees which is gorgeous in spring. The section below the 17th c walls was originally allotments belonging to Christ Church college, but was incorporated into the gardens in 1947; it now contains a rock garden and water garden amongst other features. Lastly there are the glasshouses (examples of which have been here for over 300 years!), which contain some fascinating plants from all over the world.
Admission is £2.70 (£2 concessions, children free) and the gardens are open from 9-16.30 Nov to Feb, 9-17.00 Mar Apr Sep Oct, and 9-18.00 May to Aug. Last admission 45mins before closing.
Situated just opposite the Magdalen College, the Botanic Gardens were founded as far back in time as 1621 by Henry Danvers for growing medicinal plants. Now you can find pretty much every variety of plant there.
Unfortunately, these are fun only in good, sunny weather – so check out your weather forecast before planning a trip to Oxford.