They will be celebrating Oxford Botanic Garden’s 400th anniversary with an exciting programme of events with themes including: history; horticulture; botanical science; the arts, food, and health and wellbeing.

Learn a new craft ; gather top tips from their expert horticulturalists; or get creative.

There is something for everyone.

So come along and be inspired in the Garden and Arboretum! 

Oxford Botanic Garden is the UK’s oldest botanic garden, founded
in 1621, and is an oasis in the city centre. Harcourt Arboretum - a short drive from the city - contains some of the finest conifer collections in the UK, set within 130 acres of historic Picturesque landscape.

Together, the Garden and Arboretum are an incredible resource for research, education, conservation and inspiration for a new generation of botanists

 

Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum's Autumn Science Lectures are back for 2022.

This year they have five, free online lectures with expert speakers exploring the world of plant microbe interactions. 

Join Prof. Sophien Kamoun for the first lecture that will introduce you to the secret life of the parasites that colonize plants. 

Ever since Heinrich Anton de Bary called the microbe that causes the potato blight a plant killer, they have learned much about how these microbes cause disease and fight off the plant immune system. 

Some of these plant pathogens even turn their plant hosts into living puppets or 'zombie' plants.

Others are threatening our crops and driving the global food crisis.

Plant pathologists like Sophien are hard at work learning more about these parasites and applying new knowledge and technologies to build disease-resistant crops.

Sophien grew up in Tunisia where he developed a passion and curiosity about nature.

He studied genetics in Paris and Davis, California, before working in Wageningen, Ohio and Norwich, where he is currently a Senior Scientist at The Sainsbury Laboratory and Professor of Biology at The University of East Anglia.

He is known for his seminal contributions to our understanding of plant diseases and plant immunity.

Sophien has received many awards and recognitions, notably election as a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Kuwait Prize and The Linnean Medal.

The Autumn Science Lecture Series 2022 runs every other Thursday from 6 October to 1 December 2022. 

All lectures will be hosted online and are free to attend.

Upcoming speakers include:

20th October - Professor Phillip Poole, University of Oxford - 'Climate breakdown and agriculture; can we square the circle?'

3rd November - Professor Katie Field, University of Sheffield - talk title TBC

17th November - Dr Jill Kowal, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew - 'Understanding mycorrhizal fungi and their functional role to facilitate healthy soils and ecologically sustainable gardens'

1st December - Dr Mark Spencer, forensic botanist - 'It's not all love, peace and harmony; the deadly world of plant/fungal interactions'

 

 

Plants are crucial to life on Earth and could hold solutions to some of the biggest problems humanity are facing.

On Sunday 9th October, join Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum and IF Oxford Science + Ideas Festival for a day of inspiring and thought provoking activities that show just some of the solutions plants could provide in a modern world. 

  • Explore the effects of microgravity on seedling development and the effect of different wavelengths of light on plant growth in the Plants in Space Zone. 
  • Have a go at Indigo dying, create your own Hapa Zome with flowers and leaves from the Garden, explore the sustainably created kimono exhibition or watch demonstrations on Eco printing in the Sustainable Fashion Section.
  • Be inspired by 'Green Cities' of the World made of towering skyscrapers covered in plants, then have a go at designing your own at the Green City Station. 
  • Get hands on with some botanical specimens that have helped solve engineering problems of the past and present at the Botanical Engineering Zone. See which plants can help clean up oil spills, which ones could inspire the construction of future buildings and which ones could create antifogging windows or glasses.
  • Activities are suitable for all, including children. Children under 16 come free.

    Thank you to the New Phytologist Trust for sponsoring this event.

    Thank you also to the Sixth Form textiles students from Headington School, who along with their teachers, have collaborated  to create the Sustainable Fashion activities. 

 
 

Join us at the Arboretum as we go in search of fascinating fungi.

Learn more about the incredible variety of fungi native to our countryside and gardens, and about the crucial role they play in the ecosystem.

Please note that this is not a foraging event – we are not collecting fungi to take away and ask visitors to leave fungi for others to enjoy.

FREE for members of FSO (Fungus Survey of Oxfordshire), members of the Ashmolean Natural History Society of Oxfordshire (ANHSO) or with standard Arboretum entry.  

 

 

Immerse yourself in wonderful surroundings, enjoy live music from local performers, and taste delicious local food at their Autumn Fair!

Harcourt Arboretum is made up of 130 acres containing the best collection of trees in Oxfordshire, with some of the oldest redwoods in the UK.

At this time of year, the Arboretum is aflame with autumn colour.

There will be plenty to enjoy, including farmyard animals, live music from local performers, willow weaving, children's activities, pizza, food, vegetarian and vegan options, locally-brewed beers and ciders, tours, and demonstrations.

To buy tickets for this event, please select October 15th from the date options.

Tickets will also be available from the Welcome Centre on arrival (card payments only).

 

An Autumn Science Lecture, by Professor Philip Poole

Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum's Autumn Science Lectures are back for 2022.

This year they have five, free online lectures with expert speakers exploring the world of plant microbe interactions.
 

Join Prof. Philip Poole for the second lecture that will introduce you to the importance of plant microbe interactions in agriculture and reducing climate impact. 

Agriculture depends on a complex balance of global nutrient cycles with carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous being the main drivers of agricultural productivity.

Agriculture directly contributes 10% of global CO2 production, 14% to total land use and over 21% the global food system.

Reactive nitrogen is now double preindustrial levels, largely driven by agricultural fertilizer use. How then can we feed an increasing population without a climate catastrophe? 

 

Philip Poole did his PhD in Australia before coming to the UK, he was Professor of Microbial Physiology at the University of Reading before moving to the John Innes Centre in Norwich. In 2013, he took up a personal chair as Professor of Plant Microbiology at the University of Oxford, where he is head of Molecular Plant Sciences in the new Department of Biology.

He studies the physiology of bacterial growth and survival in the rhizosphere, colonisation of roots and how bacteria establish symbiotic interactions with plants.

A particular focus of his research is the physiology and biochemistry of nitrogen fixation in legume nodules and how this underpins global nitrogen cycling.

 

The Autumn Science Lecture Series 2022 runs every other Thursday from 6 October to 1 December 2022. 

All lectures will be hosted online and are free to attend.

Upcoming speakers include:

3rd November - Professor Katie Field, University of Sheffield - talk title TBC

17th November - Dr Jill Kowal, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew - 'Understanding mycorrhizal fungi and their functional role to facilitate healthy soils and ecologically sustainable gardens'

1st December - Dr Mark Spencer, forensic botanist - 'It's not all love, peace and harmony; the deadly world of plant/fungal interactions'

 

Capture autumn's stunning display of colours whilst exploring the Arboretum.

Learn various methods to photograph trees, plants, and views with your own camera.

They will look at the essential principles of photography such as focus, exposure and composition as well as a range of photographic techniques from macro to landscape.

18+ only.

Please bring your own camera and a bottle of water.

Check the weather forecast and wear suitable outdoor clothing and wellies if required.

 

Join WhatNot Theatre Company for their brand new, Generation Game style show called 'The Wonderful World of Insects'.

At either 12.30pm or 2.30pm, join hosts Gnat and Midge as they explore the themes of biodiversity, the importance of insects and their declining populations, and the connections between plant life and insects.

This entertaining and interactive show is fun for all the family with an education twist; encouraging us all to learn to love, respect and care for our six-legged friends.

The show is included with entry, but registration is required.

Please book your day ticket as normal (not needed for annual pass holders or Friends) and then reserve your space for either show here.

 

This October half term, enjoy a collection of events included with entry at Harcourt Arboretum.

On Friday 28th October, Hawkwalk are on site with their birds of prey.

Aerial shows are at 12.30pm and 2.30pm.

The shows are included with standard entry.

 

 

Follow Arbor as he strides around the Arboretum, vanishing between trees and emerging with his cart full of tree seeds.

Arbor tells the story of a tree pushed from his home and his fight to preserve his future.

Encouraging the audience to plant and nurture their own trees, Arbor will give gifts to take home, leaving a legacy that will last for generations.

Arbor is a visually stunning show with lots of lovable puppets.

 

Created by award-winning puppetry and theatre company, Smoking Apples.

There are two shows throughout the day, starting at 11.30am or 1.00pm.

Shows are free with entry. Suitable for the entire family. Ages 4-11.

 

An Autumn Science Lecture by Professor Katie Field

Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum's Autumn Science Lectures are back for 2022.

This year they have five, free online lectures with expert speakers exploring the world of plant microbe interactions.

 

Our third lecture of the series is with Professor Katie Field, Professor of Plant-Soil Processes at the University of Sheffield.

Her research spans 500 million years of land plant evolution, focusing on the interactions between plants and the soil around them, including the myriad of microorganisms that inhabit the below-ground environment.

In particular, Katie is interested in the role of soil fungi in plant nutrition in modern and ancient ecosystems, including the role of soil fungi in helping plants get a foothold on land when they started making the transition from an aquatic to terrestrial existence in the Early Devonian.

Katie’s research also seeks to improve sustainability in agriculture through the potential exploitation of soil microorganisms to improve crop nutrition and reduce chemical inputs. 

Katie's talk is entitled 'More than a mushroom: how fungi shape our world' and explores our evolving world.

500 million years ago, Earth looked very difference to how it does today. Without land plants, the continents were barren with only a biocrust covering the surfaces. When the first plants made landfall onto Earth’s barren continental landmasses around 450-500 million years ago, they did so with the help of microscopic filamentous fungi. These fungi helped those earliest plants access the nutrients they needed from rocks, allowing them to flourish on the land surface. Since then, fungi have played a fundamental part in sculpting Earth’s landscapes, ecosystems and even global climate through their decomposing and nutrient cycling activities and through their intimate and extensive partnerships with plant roots. Today, there are nearly 150,000 species within the Kingdom Fungi that we know about, with many, many more yet to be discovered.  As such, there is much that remains to be revealed about the roles and significance of fungi in global ecosystems, both in the past and their potential for the future with great opportunities to exploit the powers of fungi to improve sustainability, from carbon capture in soils to improving future food security in a changing climate. This talk will explore the past, present and potential future roles of fungi in Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems, and why we should consider fungi as being very much more than just mushrooms.

 

An Autumn Science Lecture by Dr Jill Kowal

Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum's Autumn Science Lectures are back for 2022.

This year they have five, free online lectures with expert speakers exploring the world of plant microbe interactions.

 

Join their penultimate lecture, where they're joined by Dr Jill Kowal, Honorary Research Associate at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Her talk title is, 'Understanding mycorrhizal fungi and their functional role to facilitate healthy soils and ecologically sustainable gardens'.

Jill’s interest in vegetation ecology began 30 years ago as a volunteer in ‘urban greening’ projects throughout New York City.

She then underwent formal training in horticulture with a Diploma from the Royal Horticulture Society and a subsequent gardener position at Kew Garden’s arboretum for over 10 years.

Jill holds an MSc in Plant Diversity from the University of Reading and a PhD from Imperial College London.

Jill’s research focuses on mycorrhizal fungi, the beneficial plant root-fungus mutualism, and how they help nutritionally support plant species in exchange for carbon.

One of her main projects at Kew involves developing a protocol to measure and compare their role in carbon sequestration across meadows, broadleaf woodlands and conifer plantations.

It is becoming clearer that understanding this plant-fungus mutualism is critical for safeguarding plants in the wild.

It is also a pathway towards more sustainable garden communities built on healthy soils, which will be the focus of her talk.

Jill is passionate about building collaborative teams of scientists, horticulturists, policy makers and educators to inspire the rising generations to embrace these principles.

Jill has recently joined the Board of Plantlife, co-chairs the British chapter of the Jerusalem Botanical Garden and is a board member of her local community garden in London.

Harcourt Arboretum Autumn Events 2022

 

Their arborists will teach you how to plant and grow a specimen tree.

This course will cover specialist techniques such as staking, caging and watering that will enable you to nurture your tree.

18+ only. Please bring a packed lunch and a bottle of water.

 

Make your own little stand of trees or small copse, a beautiful Christmas decoration or gift.

Course attendees will have the chance to create flatweave willow trees and a base for them to stand in. This will include some exploring and observation about specific trees in the Arboretum so that you can choose a silhouette to follow.

This will include some exploring and observation about specific trees in the Arboretum so that you can choose a silhouette to follow.

18+ only.

Please bring a packed lunch and a bottle of water.

 

An Autumn Science Lecture by Dr Mark Spencer

Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum's Autumn Science Lectures are back for 2022.

This year they have five, free online lectures with expert speakers exploring the world of plant microbe interactions.

 

Join them for their final talk of the series with Dr Mark Spencer, a forensic botanist who will use his talk to explore the more deadly side of plant fungal interactions.

Mark's talk is entitled, 'It's not all love, peace and harmony; the deadly world of plant/fungal interactions'.

The concept of the 'wood-wide web', used to communicate mutualistic plant/fungal interactions, has enthralled many people.

The compelling nature of these relationships has tended to overshadow other diverse, and often lethal interactions, that plants and fungi often have.

This talk will explore the many ways in which plants and fungi are competing for resources, and survival.

Fungal organisms are constantly battling with plants to capture nutrients and reproduce, but they don't have it all their own way, plants retaliate and often 'go on the attack'. 

Dr Mark Spencer is an experienced and internationally respected botanist.

His expertise covers many disciplines including forensic botany, the plants of North-west Europe, invasive species and the history of botanical science.

His PhD was on the evolution of oomycetes (often known as water moulds), a group of fungal organisms of global importance, many of which are plant pathogens.

He also works globally as a writer, public speaker and television presenter.

As a forensic botanist, he has worked on many murder enquiries and other serious criminal investigations.

 

Capture spring's stunning display of colours whilst exploring the Arboretum.

Learn various methods to photograph trees, plants, and views with your own camera.

We will look at the essential principles of photography such as focus, exposure and composition as well as a range of photographic techniques from macro to landscape.

18+ only.

Please bring your own camera and a bottle of water.

Check the weather forecast and wear suitable outdoor clothing and wellies if required.

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