Our mission at Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum is to use our living collections to communicate to the widest possible audience how our future depends on plants. Following decades without investment in physical infrastructure, new glasshouses at the Botanic Garden, and a Visitor and Learning Centre at the Arboretum, will be central to the delivery of this mission.
Building the Future
Plants provide the air we breathe, the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the medicines we need. Many of the solutions to the challenges of our time rely on plants: climate change, food security, biodiversity loss and human health. The effects of global change now threaten the survival of two in five plant species. If we do not foster a greater care and awareness of the importance of plants, we have no hope of addressing these challenges. Yet many people scarcely even notice them: 'Plant Blindness' is a growing problem.
Our vision is to transform the Botanic Garden and Arboretum with new infrastructure to create a hub from which to communicate the importance of plants at all levels, from schoolchildren to the public. New glasshouses will feature a Rainforest in Oxford, taking visitors on an immersive experience of a tropical ecosystem in the city centre. Working in partnership with Grimshaw Architects, the visually stunning new glasshouses will feature a rainforest as their centrepiece. This Rainforest in Oxford will astonish visitors with its ‘botanical enigmas’ – plants that have never been grown before, which are a research and conservation focus at the Garden.
At Harcourt Arboretum we are building partnerships with local communities, and working with Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry and social prescribing partnership to increase wellbeing through access to nature. We are fundraising to build new all-weather education facilities, café and shop to transform the visitor experience at this site.