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‘ Henslow was formerly a professor of botany at Cambridge and initially saw CUBG as a small city-centre resource for students learning how to use plants for medical treatments. Today it has grown into a world-renowned 40-acre ecological hub and is currently celebrating 175 years in its present location by sharing memories with, and staging activities for, visitors.
CUBG director Beverley Glover says: “It is both humbling and an honour to reflect on and celebrate the significance of this anniversary, especially at a time when the garden has taken on a new role and meaning to our local community during lockdown. We have had so many wonderful messages of gratitude and
support for opening during the pandemic.
“In our anniversary year, we really want to appreciate and reflect on what the garden means to our local community, our visitors from further afield and our social media followers, as well as our researchers, students, guides, volunteers and members of staff – in fact everyone who makes this a wonderful place to visit and work in and who give the garden its unique and special spirit.”
The move to its site off Trumpington Road was made possible through Henslow, who persuaded the university of the need to expand. The purpose of this new botanic garden would be to study plants in their own right, marking
a clear shift from the traditional concept of a physic garden. He also wanted more space to grow a collection of large trees, particularly those being discovered in other parts of the world.
At a time when plants were seen as part of God’s unchanging creation, Henslow’s garden pioneered research into the idea of variation. This influence was far-reaching, with Darwin following Henslow’s teachings for many years. In fact, he owed his place on HMS Beagle to the academic, who nominated him to go, observe, collect and note, the natural world. The voyage proved groundbreaking – demonstrating how different species evolve.
The thinking and theorising with
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