2020 in the Research Plots

Not all of 2020, in fact, as the Cambridge University Botanic Garden was sadly but inevitably closed between March and June … I began following a particular plant or hedge throughout the year in 2017, with varying degrees of success (= interest to my devoted readers), but in January 2020 I thought I had cracked it, with the most interesting and  fast-changing spectacle of them all, the Research Plots.

So here is a year’s worth of growth and decline (with April and May missing).

The beginning of growth, with muntjac hoofprints, January 2020
In February, more hoofprints, with the bulk of the area ploughed over.
In March, serious soil disturbance, followed by a break in the record …
Spectacular growth by the time the garden opened again in early June …
… on both sides of the path
With some wonderful details …
By July, yellows were starting to predominate …
In August, shades of brown become the norm …
… though with the odd exception.
And brown increased in September …
… though still with the odd splash of colour.
In October, everything was cut back, but this year’s seedlings were not giving up.
By November, they were growing strongly …
… and in December, the edges were beautifully neatened for the winter.

I am waiting to see whether the beds will be ploughed over, or the seedlings left to grow on. No changes on our first visit of 2021 today, when snowdrops of all varieties were burgeoning, along with various catkins, and the Daphne bholua and Lonicera purpusii were already flowering and scenting the Garden.

And a very Happy New Year to you all!


Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ in the Winter Garden.
This entry was posted in Botany, Cambridge, Gardens, Natural history and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to 2020 in the Research Plots

  1. Leana Pooley says:

    I’ve enjoyed your blogs this year so I’m looking forward to next year’s (a cheering thought). Happy new year.


  2. Love the diversity of the wild garden (I assume it sprang from a meadow mix?). We have a very small wild garden and are surprised each year at what emerges. Happy New Year. Reggie


  3. Thanks! I’m not sure about the planting strategy, as I don’t know what plants they use for teaching: I must try and find out (as well as seeing what pops up next year!). New year wishes to you too – I haven’t forgotten about the article!


  4. maureen bradshaw says:

    That’s fascinating Caroline, thank you . We had a very muddy walk round Barrington dominated by smell of winter greens. Looking healthy though.


    Maureen x


  5. Leo Vanderpot says:

    Chilly, snow-threatening day here in Westchester County, New York, USA — brightened by your generous posting. Tempted to make a cup of tea, but had just finished this morning’s coffee. All the best and thanks for this photo essay.


  6. You’re very kind! It’s not very cold here, by NY standards, and we haven’t had any snow yet – though plenty of time in the next few months …


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