The second Festival of Plants at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden on Saturday 17 May builds on the success of this event last year and brings together horticulture and science in a day devoted to all things plant, from propagation to pollination, from seed to shopping! Join our team of horticulturalists, plant experts and scientists from across the region for a garden event with a difference.
A range of events and exhibits timetabled throughout the day includes ‘ask the gardener’ sessions, pop-up plant science demonstrations, and plant shopping along the Garden’s majestic Main Walk.
Activity hubs make full use of the Garden, which is at its best in late spring:
• Pop-up Plant Science
Here some of the top plant scientists from the East of England will be talking about their research and demonstrating scientific experiments to visitors. Visitors will be able to extract plant pigments, discover petal patterning, find out about the plant power behind Moss FM, learn how plants grow round the bend and visit the EnAlgae project exploring how the purification and biomass possibilities of algae!
• Talking Plants
Expanded to run all day this year, visitors can drop in to the Talking Plants tent for bite-size science talks of 15 minutes from the region's leading scientists and horticulturalists. This year's topics include the how and why of flower colour, getting your grass carbon fix, the most dangerous plant in the world, colour breaks in tulips, and introductions to some of the region's National Plant collections.
• Plant Promenade
The Garden’s majestic Main Walk will be transformed into a Plant Promenade of plant shopping stalls. We are thrilled that the legendary Beth Chatto Nursery will be attending this year, as well as Chelsea regulars, Fernatix, alongside many other local boutique nurseries all offering beautiful and unusual plants for sale. Here you can also find out about Plant Heritage, the work of the Wildlife Trusts and bring all your thorny gardening dilemmas to Ask the Gardener -your opportunity to quiz our expert horticultural staff.
• Meet the Family
Learn all about plant families in the Garden’s unique Systematic Beds. Experts will be on hand to explain the key differences between plant families and invite visitors to pull apart some flowers and use the structures to determine which plants belong together and build a family tree.
• Tour Table
We have doubled the number of tours available this year due to popular demand. The Tour Table is the meeting point for a selection of expert-led tours of the collections and plants that are looking their best in mid-May – the tree collection, the wildflowers, the Systematic Beds, bee plants, and an introduction to the Garden’s National Collections. Plus behind-the-scenes tours to the reserve collections and drop-in canopy tours of the tropical rainforests in the Glasshouse Range (morning only).
• Plant Lab
Try out UV torches on glow in the dark plants, smash up leaves to make dyes, find out how plants travel and much more in our family-friendly Plant Lab.
So whether it’s getting advice on which plant goes where or how to home compost, discovering the inner workings of flowers, picking up some unusual plants for the garden, or simply having a fun day out with the family, there’ll be something for everyone at the Botanic Garden’s Festival of Plants.
Festival of Plants is generously supported by members of the Cambridge Partnership for Plant Science (CPPS) and the Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University.