27 Feb 2016

A walk around the Botanical Gardens, Sheffield

With the better weather I returned to  Sheffield's Botanical Gardens last Thursday as we haven't been there for a while.  The Gardens cover a vast area so a visitor could spend several hours wandering around them.  The glasshouse Pavilions are also popular.  There's a trail, the Riddle Trail that can be followed which allows the visitor to walk through some of the garden areas each with a different geographical or botanical theme beginning inside the main gatehouse entrance on Clarkehouse Road. Along the trail there are artworks, each created by a different artist, that contain verses written with the help of a local poet, Berlie Doherty, during the city's literary festival some years ago.  By solving the riddle the visitor is lead to the next area of the gardens where another artwork and riddle can be found. The tour circles the gardens and finishes back at the main entrance.  I've put together some of the photos I've taken on my visits as I've not done the whole of the trail on one day. I  usually spend a long time in one or two particular areas each time I go as I look at the plants and trees in the various gardens and the glasshouses.  The photos with blue skies were taken on Thursday.






The Victorian Garden. The Curator's House is to the left of 
the large building.


The Curator's House

The first verse of the Riddle Trail is on the wall
 of the Curator's House Restaurant and Tea Rooms.


Step into the garden of surprise.
First find the hollow where shining eyes
Reflect the movement of trees and skies.





The Rock and Water Garden
Three linked ponds focus on plants
native to the Pennines.


artwork by Jez Thompson
Show where a secret garden waits
An iron rose half open gates.


The Marnock Garden

The 19 acre landscape was originally laid out in 1836 by Robert Marnock, a leading Victorian horticulturalist and landscape designer.  He was known for the Gardenesque style which featured winding paths and scattered plantings among tree-planted mounds. The Robert Marnock Garden is another quiet, enclosed area with plenty of benches and is planted up with tender climbers and scented plants.






artist Tracey Hayes

 Down in the woodland of whispering green
A quiet moment to sit and dream.

{unfortunately some of the ceramic leaves and branches
 have shattered where the words of the verse were written. 
They decorate a circular raised flower bed}





The national plant collection of weigelas are planted in these beds.


The next verse which is on a bench made from tree branches in the woodland area is hard to find. Each time I've looked for it I've missed it. This Thursday I asked one of the gardeners who was busy tidying up the beds and was told that the bench was down in a glade accessed by winding steps. The wooden bench once had woodland animals and the riddle carved on it, but it has now been cordoned off because it's in a rotten state. It was fascinating to see the wood is beginning to return to a natural state as it rots down and fungi has started to grow on it.



witch hazel Hamamelis intermedia 'Primavera'
The Woodland Garden




Now follow a dinosaur, steady and slow
To the tree that lived millions of years ago.


This is a fossil of the root of a giant clubmoss Lepidodendron. It was found in the rocks between the coal seams that were dug out when Sheffield's railway station was built in the late 1860s. Clubmosses were some of the earliest vascular plants. Today clubmosses still exist but are small plants that usually grow in boggy areas. During the Carboniferous period, Sheffield was covered with vast forests of clubmosses that grew up to 30 metre tall.  When they died, they piled up and were turned to coal as they were buried and compressed.  This coal was mined in the Sheffield area.






dinosaur feet (artist Chris Campbell)

Mice and birds and squirrels throng
Where the spirit of nature pipes his song.


The Rose Garden
This is restored to the original Victorian design
and planted with many varieties of roses.

Spirit of Pan (artist unknown)






At the base of the statue the verse reads:-

Find a circle of stone opened up to the stars,
Where huge animals lived in a cage without bars.


Apparently two bears - poor creatures- were kept in this area in a bear pit
in the 1850s and the statue of the bear is a reminder of this.
   

sculptor David Mayne



Summer in winter, the world in one place
Outside is inside the palace of glass.




The Pavilions
The glasshouses house plants from
  the temperate regions of the world.







some whimsical murals in the Pavilions


The South Africa Room

'Protea' mosaic tessarae  by Coralie Turpin

Step your way to the great stone arch
Where the riddle circle ends and starts.




We are now back at the main entrance. I hope you enjoyed the walk
along the Riddle Trail.

40 comments:

  1. That looks beautiful. We're planning a trip to Graves Gallery quite soon, if we have time I'd like to have a walk around here too.

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    1. I hope you're able to visit both the Graves Gallery and the Botanical Gardens. That would be a good day out.

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  2. What a wonderful place to spend the day. I was enchanted by the riddles - the plantings, the carvings and statues. Thank you for the introduction to such a lovely garden.
    I'm your newest follower.

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  3. The gardens look wonderful, Linda so much to see and do no wonder you can only see a small area or two at a time. I really must make an effort to visit the gardens as I've wanted to for quite a few years now. I love the animal carvings and statues. I remember seeing a live bear in a pit in a park in Paris near the Natural History and Archaeology Museums in 2000, I must admit is upset me and made me jump a bit too. I read in the paper a couple of years later that it had been moved to a better and safer place, I hope so:)

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    1. To see a live bear in a pit in this day and age is sad. The statue of the bear is thought provoking if you know the historical significance of why it is there. I hope you manage to visit the gardens this year, Rosie.

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  4. What a beautiful walk through the gardens. So many things to see and enjoy. You had good weather. Hope your weekend is going well...

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  5. Oh wow, it looks amazing there. Would love to visit.
    I loved the spirit of nature with all the animals sculptured around it, so intricate.
    What a great way to spend a day. Thank you Linda for sharing. Have a lovely weekend :)

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  6. what a fun way to find your way around and i can see how a person could spend several days and never see it all with the camera lens. i love the statue of the girl with the bunny and mice running up it and those glass houses are wonderful. so much beauty so little time

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    1. We're fortunate to have these open spaces in a city. We pass by the Botanical Gardens once a month on our way to another area of the city and it's a good place to stop off and have a wander around. I might go more often now that the weather is improving as I would like to revisit the glasshouses.

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  7. What a magnificent place, Linda, and such beautiful flowers in February!
    Thank you for the lovely tour! I enjoyed the riddles very much and wrote down the part "Down in the woodland of whispering green, A quiet moment to sit and dream."
    Have a happy Sunday! xx

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    1. I do like woodlands myself, Sara. Thank you and I hope you're enjoying your weekend too.

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  8. What a wonderful world where, thanks to people like you, I can sit at my computer in the middle of The United States and through your camera and your efforts, take a walk through the most imaginative garden presentation I've ever seen thousands of miles away. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you Patsy. I'm glad you enjoyed walking around the gardens with me. I'm looking forward to seeing what you've been doing this week.

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  9. I think the woodland garden would be my favourite part, but what a fabulous place to explore.

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    1. I'm sure you would find a lot to interest you in the gardens, Jessica. I love the atmosphere of woodland gardens and I'm pleased that I found more to see there during this last visit. I think in the past going down the winding steps put me off exploring and I missed out, but this time I was on a mission to find the elusive oak branch bench to complete the Riddle Trail.

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  10. What a fabulous place to have on your doorstep, it looks so well kept and there's so much interest even at this time of year. Lovely photo of the squirrel and I love the sculpture with all the creatures around it.

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    1. As always I'm interested in seeing the gardeners working in these gardens. I shall definitely try and go more often this year. As you say, there's something of interest all the year around.

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  11. That looks amazing. Now I have to go and visit it.

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    1. I'm sure you would enjoy the visit.

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  12. Linda I was by your side all the way!
    The riddles make it a fun garden to visit with children and keep them amused.
    It has been very well thought out and planned a credit to the landscaper and everyone involved!
    Lovely artistic pieces here and there adds to the interest - I enjoyed it all thank you!
    Shane x

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    1. The Riddle Trail is fun. Children also enjoy looking around the glasshouses. I'm glad you enjoyed the walk around Shane.

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  13. I think I would run out on a stroll through this wonderful garden. They are not only plants, but interesting sculptures and ornaments. Thank you that you showed him. Yours and Have a nice Sunday.

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    1. Thank you Giga. I hope you're having a good day.

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  14. Thank you for guiding us around the riddle trail, what a fascinating place to visit. I love the statue of Spirit of Pan with all the animals carved into the base. xx

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the walk around. The statue of Pan, Spirit of the Woods, is certainly very popular. I believe it's the oldest statue in the garden and has been beautifully restored.

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  15. Tranquil gardens, waterfalls and fountains, moss covered stones and prehistoric plants, even a squirrel, all bound together with riddles, what a delightful place to spend a day. No wonder you return again and again. I love taking walks with you.

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    1. I'm glad you could come along Gloriade.

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  16. You took us on an amazing tour of the garden, so striking and enchanting with its riddles. What a great place to visit.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the tour. Botanical gardens are such an asset as places where we can relax, see beautiful plant specimens and imaginative landscaping.

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  17. It's hard to believe we are not even in March yet isn't it. Your post is so interesting, but I have to say I had heard of bear pits but never seen one. I can't believe how big they were, but understandable. A wonderful tour thank you!

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    1. It's good to see signs of Spring and we like to think that the harsher Winter weather is behind us. Thank you for your visit. I've enjoyed sharing.

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  18. It is so beautiful! These photos are stunning! I love exploring and going on adventures and this place looks to be full of amazing mystery! I just have to visit! Great Post x

    vvibrantsunset.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thank you Holly. I hope you get to visit the Botanical Gardens some time. All the best in what you're going right now.

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  19. What beautiful gardens, I really should try visiting some of these places as I do enjoy seeing them through your eyes. x

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    1. These sort of gardens are not only places where you can relax as you wander around, but you can also learn a lot from the information boards and the talks that are organised for amateur gardeners.

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  20. How fortunate you are to have such wonderful Botanical Gardens on your doorstep, Linda. I loved your photos and can easily imagine how one could return time after time and see something different on every visit.

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    1. We're fortunate to have so many parks and open spaces in this city such as the Botanical Gardens.

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