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 A shrubstantial anniversary
Kim Smith celebrates 175 years of Cambridge’s world-famous botanic garden
Pictured above:
The Garden’s Lake in winter
Communing with nature has been long known to provide a soothing balm for our mental health, not least during the bleaker months
of the pandemic. And what better time to enjoy flora and fauna than now, when nature transforms the landscape from autumnal crimson and gold to a winter wonderland.
One of East Anglia’s top green oases is Cambridge University Botanic Garden, founded by a biologist who not only mentored Charles Darwin but went on to
become a Suffolk clergyman. John Stevens Henslow took on the post of rector at All Saints Church, Hitcham, in 1837, and devoted his energies to the social improvement of his parishioners as well as somehow finding time to help establish Ipswich Museum and tutor Queen Victoria’s children.
This inspirational man died in 1861 and chose to be buried in the village, where the locals had previously been described as living “far beneath the average scale of the peasant class in England”. ‘

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