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The Winter Garden displays a diverse range of plants to dramatic visual and sensory effect.
The Winter Garden displays a diverse range of plants to dramatic visual and sensory effect.
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Sylvia’s Library opens in the Garden Café.

The Garden has a new library to share with its visitors. Sylvia’s Library, located in the Garden Café, has been created in celebration of the life of Sylvia Norton, one of the Garden’s longest serving volunteers, who passed away in December 2015.
The library consists of a mobile bookcase containing a collection of garden-themed reference books and magazines for visitors to browse and enjoy while visiting the Garden.

Beverley Glover, Director of the Botanic Garden says: “We’re delighted to remember and celebrate the life of Sylvia in this way. Sylvia contributed to the Garden in many different ways. She was a valued and treasured Friend and Benefactor of the Garden and her dedication was remarkable – not least her commitment to the Garden’s Cory Library where she was a volunteer for over twenty years.”

Jenny Sargent, Cory Library Manager remembers: “I first met Sylvia when I arrived to take up the post of Cory Library Manager in October 2013. Sylvia had been volunteering in the library, committing one day each week, for at least twenty years. She knew its collections inside out, in fact reckoning that each of its close to 7000 volumes had been through her hands at least twice in that time!”

Sylvia was also a keen and knowledgeable gardener, passionate in particular about the genus lathyrus (flowering peas), of which she amassed a collection of eighty species (not including sweet peas) which was in 1991 designated a National Collection by the then National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens (now Plant Heritage). Sylvia researched, lectured and published extensively on her collection, also displaying and distributing plants, many to the Garden. She was widely recognised as an authority on lathyrus, and received the NCCPG Brickell Award for excellence in cultivated plant conservation for her work in this area.
Sylvia’s passion for lathyrus is reflected in the new library’s artwork, created by artist Katherine Lees, and staff and friends of Sylvia hope the library will provide a source of gardening knowledge as well as inspire its users.

Jenny continues: “We hope our visitors will enjoy and make use of the collection of books in Sylvia’s Library. Sylvia, who had been a teacher, was always eager to share knowledge and encourage reading, and we feel that ‘Sylvia’s Library’ will be a fitting way to remember and celebrate her support of the library and hope it may inspire its users to pursue their passion in the spirit of Sylvia!’

If you are interested in funding a book or a magazine subscription for Sylvia’s library, please contact the Cory Library Manager, Jenny Sargent (library@botanic.cam.ac.uk)
Publication Date
29/09/2016