University of Oxford Botanical Gardens

While studying abroad in Oxford from January to June of 2013, the University of Oxford Botanic Gardens was my favourite retreat. Gloriously sunny days in England are admittedly few, but on those sacred occasions the garden along the banks of the River Cherwell was as delightful a place as I've ever been.

I had the chance to return to England and the Botanic Gardens in Oxford in September of 2014, and the gallery below is from that wonderful reunion tour. The special highlight of this visit were the exuberant Merton Borders designed by Professor James Hitchmough of the University of Sheffield (whom I had the good fortune to meet in person on that same September trip). The borders were planted from seed and were fairly immature during my semester abroad so it was a thrill to see them in their full glory. The towering yellow daisies of the North American prairie dock Silphium terebinthinaceum were especially spectacular, from some vantages appearing to float above the misty seeds of Stipa gigantea. The Merton Borders make the convincing argument that even plant communities established from seed and allowed to spontaneously self-organize can be astoundingly artful.