Dr Tim
Upson
Garden Curator, Deputy Director
As Curator (formerly Superintendent) of the Garden, I have responsibility for its 39 acres and collection of over 8,000 plant species. This includes leading on some of the major developments, ranging from the Brookside and new gate developments, restoration of the Glasshouse Range and Main Gate, and aspects of the Sainsbury Laboratory build.
I am helped by Phil Starling, who is in charge of Estates, and Pete Atkinson, the Plant Records Officer, and his assistant. Pete is responsible for arguably The Garden's most valuable assest, the plant database, which stores all the data on the living and other collections – our institutional memory going back to the first plantings. As important as the plants themselves are the labels, the link between plants and their information records, while the name labels provide the fundamental interpretation of the plant collection.

In addition to my duties in the Garden, I also undertake research as time allows, and teach both on the Garden's education programme and in the Department of Plant Sciences, particularly on the annual field course to Portugal to study Mediterranean flora.

A graduate of the Kew Diploma course, I later undertook a MSc. and then PhD. at the University of Reading in Plant Systematics. My special interests are in the Lamiaceae and particularly the genera Rosmarinus and Lavandula, including their horticultural taxonomy, publishing a monograph on the latter with Susyn Andrews in 2004 as part of the Botanical Magazine Monograph series. Within the Garden, my research is focused on its history and how climate change is already influencing its management and the long term challenge of developing appropriate collections. I also have a keen interest in plant conservation, the Mediterranean and island floras, and have undertaken many plant collecting expeditions in relation to this work.

At present I serve on the Board of Directors of PlantNetwork, as vice-chairman on the Plant Conservation Committee of Plant Heritage, as an editorial consultant for The Plantsman, and as a committee member of Hortax, the horticultural taxonomy group.