About FOBS

Formed in 1984, the Friends of the Botanical Gardens, Sheffield (FOBS) support the Gardens and provide the opportunity for gardeners of all abilities to meet, socialise and learn more about horticulture.
The FOBS Constitution was last revised in November 2009.

FOBS Activities


A programme of monthly meetings is arranged for the second Monday (evenings) and fourth Tuesday (mornings) in the demonstration centre in the Gardens.


Research for naming and sourcing plants is carried out by a number of volunteers. Plants for the Himalayan bed are being grown from seed obtained from the countries in that part of the world. Another member manages the National Collections of Weigela, Diervilla & Sarcococca.

Gardens History:

"Sheffield Botanical Gardens: People, Plants & Pavilions" A 36-page booklet, published by FOBS in 2007, traces the history of the Gardens from 1833.
Copies on sale: Contact the Editor - Price 4.95 plus 1.20 P&P

Educational Leaflets:

FOBS volunteers have researched and published the following leaflets:
"Some Conifers of note in the Sheffield Botanical Gardens" 2008
"The National Plant Collection of Sarcococca at the Sheffield Botanical Garden" 2009
These leaflets are free of charge and available at Reception in the Gatehouse at the Gardens.


Published twice a year and sent to every current FOBS member.

Local Tours:

A programme of visits to several gardens in and around Sheffield is arranged for members every year.

Regional Tours:

One-day coach trips to gardens and nurseries in the region are enjoyed by FOBS members.

National Tours:

The popular five day FOBS ‘holiday’ gives members the opportunity to see many different gardens in more distant parts of the country.

FOBS Support for the Gardens

FOBS Gardening Volunteers:

Members have worked in the Gardens since 1993. The team is in action every Wednesday, from 10am-12noon.
Click here to find out more

Plant Propagation:

Volunteers work to propagate hundreds of plants for use in the Gardens and for the plant sales.

FOBS Sales:

Plant sales are held in May & September, these fund-raising events are popular with local gardeners and visitors alike.

Tours of the Botanical Gardens:

Led by FOBS volunteers these tours are very popular with both local and national visitors.
To find out more about leading a tour - or to book a tour of the Gardens email: FOBS Garden Tour Organiser

Stationery Sales:

Specially designed greetings cards, the Gardens' History booklet and garden-related items are available at the Reception Office (in the Clarkehouse Road gatehouse) at the Botanical Gardens, at FOBS meetings and at FOBS stalls set up at local fairs and events.
FOBS greeting cards are also available at the following outlets:

Discounts for FOBS Members

The following stores offer a 10% discount on production of a current FOBS membership card.


Volunteers provide much appreciated refreshments at meetings and special events in the Gardens.

Speakers and Exhibitions:

FOBS volunteers also travel to give talks to other local & regional groups.
Click here for more information.
Special exhibitions to inform the public and to promote the Gardens are displayed throughout the city and at various shows.

The Restoration Project 1997-2005

By the early 1990s the Gardens were in a derelict state and the role of FOBS had changed significantly. The group set up the Sheffield Botanical Gardens Trust (registered charity no. 1057845) in 1996. A partnership was formed with the Sheffield Town Trust, Sheffield City Council and the University of Sheffield. A successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund resulted in an award of 5.06M. The SB Gardens Trust and FOBS volunteers worked hard to raise 1.22M in matched funding to access the grant. Work in kind— hours spent working on the Project counted too!
FOBS volunteers were responsible for the redesign of the Main Borders in 2002 and for planting perennials and shrubs there and elsewhere in the Gardens.

The Future

Now that the Restoration project has been successfully completed, thoughts turn to future development of the Gardens. FOBS fundraising will continue to support the educational aims of the Gardens. This includes ensuring the accurate labelling of plants, the installation of interpretation boards and the acquisition of rare and unusual specimens.
At a special EGM in January 2011, FOBS pledged to help the Sheffield Botanical Gardens Trust. The motion, which was overwhelmingly approved, stated:"That FOBS supports the redevelopment of the Education Centre and Nursery Area, and funds raised from this point may be used for replacement of the existing facilities".
Work on the demolition of the old classroom and construction of the new Education Centre began in July 2016 and is scheduled for completion in January 2017.