Croxteth Hall and Country Park
First buds of new growth for Liverpool’s Botanical Collection
ONE of Britain’s oldest botanical collections is to go on show for the first time in over 20 years.
Visitors will be able to view a significant part of the Liverpool Botanical Collection in the glass houses and walled garden of Croxteth Hall & Country Park from Wednesday, August 15.
And the collection is set to play a starring role in the European Capital of Culture programme, as the inspiration behind ‘Liverpool Fragrant’, a major artistic project for 2008 led by international visual artist Jyll Bradley.
Established by William Roscoe in 1802, the complete botanical collection has not been on display since 1984. The move to Croxteth is the first step in bringing the collection back to public attention. Approximately one-third of the plants and flowers will now be available for view, including the once world-famous orchid collection. The rest of the collection will remain in nurseries for the time being, with the intention of reuniting it in a permanent home at some point in the future.
Councillor Warren Bradley, leader of Liverpool city council and deputy chair of the Liverpool Culture Company, said: “Liverpool’s Botanical Collection is one of the largest in civic hands, and over the last 200 years its fortunes have in many ways echoed those of the city itself.
“The Fragrant Project will bring many fascinating stories to light for the first time, creating an important historical record, and providing inspiration for our 2008 celebrations.”
The Liverpool Culture Company has commissioned Jyll Bradley to deliver Liverpool Fragrant, a special artist-in-residency at the Botanical Collection, which will be a major artistic highlight of the 2008 programme. Jyll’s work will culminate in an artists’ book, documenting the many stories behind the collection and creating a complete archive of its history for the first time. Other plans for the project include a photographic public art exhibition as part of next year’s Liverpool Biennial, and the collection’s first exhibition at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show since 1962.
The first fruits of Fragrant will be showcased on Wednesday, when poets Eleanor Rees and Dinesh Allirajah will give a reading of work inspired by the collection. Extracts from the poems will eventually become part of the Liverpool Fragrant publication.
Councillor Berni Turner, Liverpool city council’s executive member for the environment, said: “The Liverpool Botanical Collection is truly one of the jewels in the city’s crown, and I’m delighted that such an important part of our heritage will now be available for everyone to admire.
“The collection was established at a time of great prosperity for Liverpool, so it is only fitting that its re-emergence comes as we enter a new period in the city’s history; ushered in by our European Capital of Culture celebrations next year.”
Full opening times and admission prices for Croxteth Hall & Country Park are available at www.croxteth.co.uk