Professor John
Parker
Director, Botanic Garden. Curator, Herbarium
It has been my pleasure to be the Director of the Botanic Garden since 1996. I studied botany at Oxford where I also carried out research for my doctorate on plant chromosomes and natural populations. Then I spent a long time in the University of London teaching genetics but carrying out research on plant evolution. I briefly moved to the University of Reading before the wonderful opportunity came up to move here to the Botanic Garden.

Since then, I have kept up my interest in plant evolutionary genetics but have become even more interested in the origins of evolutionary thinking here in Cambridge. The life and work of the Garden’s founder, Prof John Henslow, has increasingly intrigued me, and particularly the influence he had on shaping Darwin’s intellectual development.
My years here have been fascinating in developing the public appreciation of this unique place and have also seen many structural changes to the Garden, such as the reconstruction of the wonderful Glasshouse Range. For the last 5 years I have been involved in the planning and development of the exciting and beautiful Sainsbury Laboratory and all the associated changes that this has brought about – new facilities for the Garden staff, a splendid, prominent, welcoming entrance on Trumpington Road, and superb provision for education at Brookside.