The Garden since 1951

The eastern part of the original 1831 land purchase remained undeveloped until the University received a magnificent legacy from Reginald Cory in 1934. Cory had been a life-long benefactor of the Garden, and his legacy unlocked the remaining 20 acres of land for development by the Garden.

This exciting task fell to Bob Younger, Superintendent of the Garden and his staff, under the direction of John Gilmour and began in 1951.
Although the western and eastern parts are stylistically linked through a consistently Gardenesque style and the continuation of the sinuous perimeter path, they are very different in feel, character and curatorial content. This reflects how the the primary foci of plant science studies had changed since the Garden's foundation in the mid 19th century.

Whereas Murray's 19th century plan for the layout of the Garden in the western twenty acres focused on naming and organising of individual species into family groupings, the eastern part of the Garden developed from 1951 onwards is generally concerned with how plant communities develop.

Thus, the 20th century science of ecology permeates the philosophy of its plantings such as the Fen Display and Limestone Mound in the British Wild Plants collections, and climate and sustainability issues dominate the thematic plantings of the Dry Garden, for example.