30th June 2015: Conversazione 2015
Last Saturday was the annual Linnean Society Conversazione, this year held at the University Bristol Botanic Gardens. Elizabeth Rollinson reports...
The 24 fellows and their guests were treated to a private tour of the University of Bristol Botanic Garden by its visionary creator, Professor Simon Hiscock (Scientific Secretary of the Linnean Society and Director of the Garden) and Nick Wray (Curator), including the ‘Pollination’ beds, the pool, the ‘local flora and rare native plants’ area, the Chinese medicinal herb Garden, the Evolution of land plants display, the Mediterranean climatic regions displays and the Angiosperm phylogeny collection beds, as well as the glasshouses, which are divided into zones (cool temperate, warm temperate, sub-tropical and tropical).
After a pleasant buffet luncheon, there were two presentations, the first by Zoe Parfitt (former pupil and now trainee horticulturalist) on the Writhlington School Orchid Project http://wsbeorchids.org/ including their work with schools in Rwanda, and the second by Nick Wray on the South African flora, which is his passion. The day finished with conversation over a glass of wine together with some rather fine pickled onions and mature cheddar cheese, with an opportunity to feast eyes on orchid plants that the Writhlington pupils had brought in for display and sale. The weather was exceptionally kind – sunny but not too hot! All in all, a brilliant day, and thanks to Simon and his team for their organisation and friendly welcome.