Token used to Enter the Gardens in 1836

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Milestones and noteworthy events at Sheffield Botanical Gardens
Yorkshire in Bloom Awards 2008

Sheffield Botanical Gardens has been awarded a gold medal as the winner of the Universities, Colleges, Botanical Gardens and FE establishments section of the Yorkshire in Bloom Awards for 2008.

Some of the Judge’s comments were:

"The third phase of the refurbishment programme has now been completed and the 19 acre site is once again looking magnificent. As you would expect the standard of horticulture is high and there is a thriving partnership between the six garden staff, the Friends group and the Town Trust who are the owners of the site. The next area to be addressed is education and the introduction of an apprenticeship scheme."

Sheffield wins Gold in the “Best large city” category Britain in Bloom

"Royal Horticultural Society judges found Sheffield ‘a great place to be’ and were particularly impressed with the city centre’s balmy Winter Garden, the restored Botanical Gardens, Weston Park and Ecclesall Woods. The Gold award was announced alongside accolades for the city’s environmental quality, permanent landscaping, regeneration and cleanliness……….The prizes were presented to Sheffield City Council representatives, Coun. Sylvia Dunkley and John Charlton, Director of Streetforce at a ceremony in Chester on the 24th September" Quote from Richard Marsden’s article in the Star Thursday 25th September 2008.

5th Annual Art in the Gardens 6th and 7th September 2008

Despite very inclement weather conditions at times, the 5th Annual Art in the Gardens braved the elements after the decision was taken not to cancel the event. However, over the weekend the weather was kinder than expected, although conditions underfoot were rather difficult but ameliorated by large quantities of straw. Numbers were down on last year, but around 10,000 people enjoyed the occasional bursts of sunshine and the magnificent show with over 4,000 pieces of art from 350 different artists.

"With what turned out to be commendable foresight, the organisers invited BBC Weatherman Paul Hudson to be the subject of this year's celebrity portrait competition"
(quote from Peter Kay's article in the Sheffield Telegraph 12th September)

The portrait competition was won by Sheffield teenager Frances Lightbound (18) with a portrait in charcoal. Frances is seen here with Paul Hudson and the winning picture.

At the preview evening on Friday 5th September a cheque for £115,032.16 was formally presented to Sue Kohler Chairman of the Sheffield Botanical Gardens Trust. This was the legacy left to the Gardens by Mildred Rushby, who died last December and who was a life-long supporter of the Gardens.

This year the attractions on the stage included the Fashion Show by Floral Impact which was a great success. The models paraded on the catwalk and the clothes were designed by Elizabeth Edwards, bouquets by Sarah Turpin and the team was led by Cheryl Galsworthy. PACT is the Parent's Association for Children with Cancer and Tumours and the show raised £945 for the Charity.

Other attractions on the stage were Belly Dancer, Stephanie Lynch, blues band Fade 2 Black with singer Willow and the Splinters theatre group.

The Lord Mayor Councillor Jane Bird came to enjoy the Show and presented the Art prizes. She said:

"Art in the Gardens has grown to become one of the most popular Art and Craft events in the whole region and I'm glad to say even the rain couldn't prevent over 10,000 people supporting this spectacular showcase"

Howard Simpson, Art in the Gardens co-organiser with Sharon Gill, said:

"I have to thank everyone who worked around the clock to ensure the event went ahead despite the adverse weather"
Three Charities are to benefit from the event - Bluebell Wood Hospice, PACT and the Sheffield Botanical Gardens Trust. The event was supported by the Rotary Club of Sheffield, the Sheffield Telegraph, and Radio Sheffield and was organised by Sheffield City Council.

Paul Hudson with winner Frances Lightbound © Meg Jullien, 2008

Paul Hudson with winner Frances Lightbound

Cheque presentation at preview night © Meg Jullien, 2008

Cheque presentation at preview night

Floral ImPACT fashion show wedding group © Meg Jullien, 2008

Floral ImPACT fashion show wedding group

Floral ImPACT fashion show © Meg Jullien, 2008

Floral ImPACT fashion show

Victorians © Meg Jullien, 2008


Fade 2 Black band © Meg Jullien, 2008

Fade 2 Black band

Belly Dancer Stephanie Lynch © Meg Jullien, 2008

Belly Dancer Stephanie Lynch


Quote from the Sheffield Telegraph August 29, 2008 - Article by Peter Kay

"As a keen member of the Friends of the Botanical Gardens, Mildred Rushby always said she would remember the Gardens in her will. But her colleagues were taken aback to discover that the sum turned out to be £115,000.

Mildred Rushby – Labelling at FOBS plant sale May 1993 – © Meg Jullien, 1993

Mildred, who died last December in her late 80's, was a life-long supporter of the Gardens, working tirelessly behind the scenes and becoming a regular fixture at plant sales. Sue Kohler, who chairs FOBS, said, "Mildred always said she was going to leave something in her will for the Botanical Gardens but we never had a clue it would be so much.

It is one of the largest cash legacies ever left to the Botanical Gardens and will be formally announced at a preview of Art in the Gardens on Friday night - 5th September."

Read more at the Sheffield Telegraph web site: Mildred's £115,000 legacy for the Botanical Gardens

Green Flag award 2008

Once again Sheffield Botanical Gardens joins the list of best parks and green spaces. It gained the award in 2007 and has been successful in retaining it in 2008. Congratulations and thanks to all concerned. A record 742 green spaces across the country, all freely accessible to the public, have received a Green Flag Award - the national standard for quality parks and green spaces. Winners are judged to be welcoming and well maintained with the support and involvement of the local community. Paul Todd, Green Flag Award scheme Application Manager, said:

"The increasing number of Green Flag Award winning parks and green spaces highlight the important role they play in bringing people together and improving their quality of life. Congratulations to all the management, staff and, in particular, thousands of volunteers whose hard work and dedication has brought this award of excellence."

Jazz in the Gardens 2nd and 3rd July and Classical in the Gardens 5th July 2008

Once again these events were enjoyed by a total of around 4,500 people altogether on the three nights. Despite early showers the weather was as lovely as last year and the crowds enjoyed the music on the East lawns in front of the pavilions.

The organisers, the Rotary Club of Sheffield in association with the Sheffield City Council and major sponsors, were delighted with the events, which raised money for the Weston Park Cancer Appeal, the Alzeheimers Society of Sheffield and the Sheffield Botanical Gardens Trust. There were excellent refreshment stalls and bars and the audiences enjoyed their picnics on the lawns in the evening sunshine listening to the music.

The jazz evenings featured the Nicola Farnon Quartet, The Dizzy Club, and Carmen Ghia and the Hot Rods. The classical evening featured the Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Eva Strusinka, in a programme of Mendelsohn, Tchaikowsky, Borodin, Sibelius, Dvorak and Mozart and, also, Highly Strung, part of Music in the Round's educational programme involving talented young string players from four Sheffield Secondary Schools, directed by Martin Cropper and Liz Hanks. Eva Strusinka will be taking up an appointment in the summer as Assistant Conductor to the Halle.

The events will be held in the Gardens again next year.

Jazz and Classical in the Gardens - © Graham Wright, 2008

Jazz and Classical in the Gardens - © Graham Wright, 2008

Jazz and Classical in the Gardens - © Graham Wright, 2008

Heartbreak Theatre Productions – June and July 2008

Heartbreak Theatre returned to the Gardens for the ninth year running to present their innovative theatre productions for what has now become the annual outdoor theatre event of the Sheffield summer season. The productions this year were Peter Pan, Charley's Aunt, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Henry V, and these were performed by Heartbreak's usual brilliance and flair. Despite the showers at times the large audiences enjoyed their picnics on the lawns at the Thompson Road end of the Gardens whilst watching the performances. The actors mingled with the audience at times and created a marvellous atmosphere, and in Peter Pan they recruited Lost Boys, Indian Braves, Pirates and Fairies from the children watching. "A gem, brilliant, innovative and original" commented Plays International and "A quality cast, theatre at it's best" BBC Gloucester.

Heartbreak Theatre Productions - Peter Pan - © Meg Jullien, 2008

Heartbreak Theatre Productions - Peter Pan - © Meg Jullien, 2008
Grand Opening - Michael Palin opens the restored Gardens - 20th June 2008

On a glorious early summer day, the restored Gardens were officially opened by Michael Palin, writer and television presenter and a Patron of the Sheffield Botanical Gardens Trust, on the 20th June 2008 at 12.30 pm.

Before the opening ceremony he was conducted on a tour of the Gardens by Sue Kohler, the Chairman of the Sheffield Botanical Gardens Trust and FOBS, Mary Bagley, Director of Parks and Countryside, Sheffield City Council and Ian Turner, Curator of the Gardens, accompanied by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Mrs. Jane Bird. During the tour he was introduced to members of the Gardens' staff and FOBS volunteers. As the tour progressed he chatted to the public and signed autographs and books.

After the opening ceremony he planted a tree on the west lawn in commemoration of the event. The tree Michael planted was Aesculus flava, the Yellow Buckeye, which is related to the Horse Chestnut and originates in the Eastern USA. The tree planting ceremony was followed by a luncheon for invited guests.

Grand Opening, Michael Palin planting tree - © Meg Jullien, 2008

Grand Opening, Michael Palin opening the gardens - © Meg Jullien, 2008

Quote from The Star newspaper 21st June 2008

"Michael Palin said it was wonderful to be back home in South Yorkshire and added "obviously someone up there likes what has been done here, it's a glorious day and the setting is absolutely lovely."

He added "This is a result of love and determination and many people's hard work – they should be proud of what they have achieved, Sheffield should be proud. .... Not only are the Gardens valuable examples of beauty within Sheffield, but also a great reminder of Victorian Civic pride."

New year, new Curator, new start

Ian Turner, new Curator of Sheffield Botanical Gardens - © Meg Jullien

Ian Turner, Curator at Sheffield Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens welcomed Ian Turner to his new role as Curator on January 7th, 2008. Ian said:

"Sheffield Botanical Gardens is well known and loved, not just by the people of Sheffield, but also by the many people who have lived or studied in the city. I am very excited to have the opportunity to manage and develop the Gardens for the future."

Ian was born in Manchester and trained at Cheshire College of Agriculture (1987-89). He then spent 3 years at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (1989-92) before moving to Staunton Country Park in Hampshire for 3 years as Head Gardener. His experiences at Staunton, a Regency estate with a range of glasshouses, a walled garden, various surrounding gardens and 1000 acre park, fitted him well for his next challenge: 11 years at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, one of the world's first combined zoological and botanical gardens.

At Paignton, Ian developed the gardens along habitat themes, to create exhibits combining both plants and animals. Some of the gardens at Paignton were particularly decorative, including a medicinal garden, Mediterranean climate garden, and an economic plant garden. Another part of his job involved producing seed of an English native grass species, extinct in its natural habitats, for conservation seed banking and reintroduction to the wild.

Mary Bagley, Director of Parks and Countryside, said:

"We had candidates from Botanical Gardens in European Countries applying for the post. Ian was outstanding from a very high calibre of candidates. We were able to attract a level of horticultural excellence due to the reputation of the gardens. We recognise the importance of recruiting the right people to our parks in order to steer and develop our open spaces for the benefit of the people of Sheffield."

Bryan Lodge, Cabinet Member for Transport and Streetscene, said:

"It's great to welcome Ian Turner to Sheffield and to his new role at the Botanical Gardens. The gardens are a focal point of the local community and the whole city. We are confident that he will take the gardens to the next level in his role as curator."


Restoration Partnership: Sheffield Town Trust |  Sheffield City Council |  University of Sheffield  
Friends of the Botanical Gardens |  Sheffield Botanical Gardens Trust  

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This page updated on 16 April 2015. This site updated on 19 November 2012.