You don’t have to be a gardening fan to love a nice garden. However, for those who do love to get down and dirty amongst the plants our formal gardens are a delight to see, and they don’t cost the earth.

According to retail surveys gardening comes high amongst the priorities in terms of the public spend along with DIY and gadgets for the home.

But, what is a Botanical Garden? Essentially a Botanical, or Botanic, Garden is established for the scientific study of plant species, their conservation, and to enable the wider public access to plants that would otherwise be impossible, they also have a role in reintroducing species that would otherwise disappear due to circumstances in their indigenous environments. In times of environmental conservation, a greater understanding of plants and their contribution to reducing global warming is profoundly important, in addition plants carry within them elements that can be used in fighting disease, many plants over the years have been used in the fight against ailments in people, aspirin to mention just one.

It is no surprise then that the Durham Botanical Garden is a part of the University of Durham. Located in Hollings Lane, just off South Road, the Gardens are open to the public, there is a small charge for entry but it is money well spent. There is a great deal on offer throughout the Summer for families with special events, arts and crafts, and lovely walks in the tranquil surroundings and the fresh air. For those of us that are a little older there are gentle walks and beautiful gardens to observe, and the good thing is you can take in all of the spectacles without having to do any of the hard work! A major pleasure of botanical gardens is that they display the changing seasons all through the year, presently in high Summer the trees are full of leaf, many shrubs are in flower and flower beds are ablaze with colour. Later on into Autumn the trees will change to autumnal hues of tans and scarlets and gold that is quite breath-taking. Over the Winter months with stark bare trees and frosts riming the grass there is a joy in observing the evergreens as they continue to provide greens to the colour palette, there is a rough majesty in parkland in winter, just wrap up warmly. And, on to Spring with fresh green, crocuses and daffodils and hellebores (Lenten Roses) and so much more thrusting freshly into life. Magic.

For folks who have not taken a walk around the Botanical Gardens just south of the Durham City centre recently, or ever, why not take stroll around this ten-acre gem that is sadly overlooked by so many of us as we travel past on our way to work or on the school run. The Summer holidays are upon us and a low cost day of pleasure awaits, just take a brolly in case.



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