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Across the world hundreds of botanic gardens combine scientific research, conservation and beauty with public access, with Kew Gardens alone attracting around one million visitors a year. For centuries they have variously focused on cultivating medicinal and exotic plants, introducing lucrative crops such as tea and rubber to new countries, preserving international plant collections, scientific classification and research – or have combined all these things. Sarah Rutherford here tells their story from the sixteenth-century up to their long heyday in the last two hundred years. She explains the gardens' design and architecture, the personalities and institutions associated with them, their important role in research and conservation, and their appeal to millions of visitors.
About the Author
Sarah Rutherford is a Kew-trained gardener who began her career at Oxford Botanic Garden. She was head of the English Heritage Historic Parks and Gardens Register and is now a freelance consultant and writer.
Table of ContentsIntroduction: A Living Laboratory
The First Botanic Gardens: Physic Gardens in Europe
The Blossoming of British Botanic Gardens
Colonial Botanic Gardens
The United States of America
The Twentieth Century: Education and Conservation
What Makes a Botanic Garden?
Places to Visit