Latest News

FOBS Spring Plant Sale - Sunday 5 May - 11.00 - 15.00

Are you ready for an exciting new season of gardening? An ideal way to start is at the FOBS Plant Sale. A wide selection of all kinds of plants are available at reasonable prices in the large greenhouse next to the Dorothy Fox Education Centre. Also refreshments and a second-hand book stall.
All proceeds support the Sheffield Botanical Gardens.

FOBS New Members Day - Saturday 11 May - 10.00 - 13.00

All members who have recently joined are welcome to meet the committee and find out more about FOBS and the Gardens. To tempt you we can offer tea, coffee and delicious home-baked cakes. A tour of the Gardens will be led by experienced gardeners.

Next meeting

Fungi of the local area - Monday 13 May at 19.15

Speaker Michael Senkans (a.k.a. Ziggy) is Biodiversity Monitoring Officer, Sheffield City Council. Ecology Unit. Fascinated by fungi, his job is to survey the wildlife and habitats on all of Sheffield's designated nature conservation sites, to gather data which will be used to improve the management of these sites and ensure they are protected for everyone to enjoy. Sheffield, the greenest city in England, has over 300 wildlife sites and an impressive network of committed and knowledgeable local groups, and local Wildlife Trusts. Ziggy works closely with local wildlife groups and with the Parks and Countryside Rangers Service to ensure that all the city’s wildlife sites are monitored and managed appropriately.
Dorothy Fox Education Centre
FOBS Members free, Visitors £5

Celebrating Historic Cemeteries: half-day conference Wednesday 15th May, start at 13.00

We are delighted to be hosting an event in the afternoon of 15th May as part of National Cemeteries Week. Held in the Dorothy Fox Education Centre, the conference will present some of the latest researches on cemeteries; environmentally, socially and aesthetically. Cemeteries were not only places for burial, but they were often also considered as parks or garden like spaces; and they were laid out by skilled designers. Clients, whether private, or local authorities, or national bodies, prided themselves on the general appearance of these places. With an emphasis on Sheffield, this conference investigates a range of different aspects of cemeteries that will appeal to those interested in local history, cemeteries and the practice of landscape design. The conference is a collaboration between the Department of Landscape Architecture of the University of Sheffield with the Sheffield General Cemetery Trust, Classical Porter Valley Trust, and the Friends of the Sheffield Botanical Gardens.
Entry is £10, payable on the door.
For more information see:

Robert Marnock, the Botanical Gardens First Curator and General Cemetery designer: Sunday 19th May

The Sheffield General Cemetery Trust are hosting a guided tour and talk on Sunday 19th May. 2.00 – 4.30 p.m.
"Cemetery Design : Marnock’s maxims and their lasting legacy"
A guided tour of Sheffield General Cemetery looking at its original architecture and design under the influence of Robert Marnock, the leading 19th century landscape gardener. Led by Jan Woudstra, Reader in Landscape History at Sheffield University, author of a forthcoming book on Marnock, and Adrian Hallam, architect.
After tea and cake (small charge, proceeds to the SGCT) in the Samuel Worth Chapel, Jan Woudstra will give a short talk on Marnock’s later legacy and contemporary cemetery design.
Tour and talk £10
Tour starts at the Cemetery Gatehouse, Cemetery Avenue.
Pre-booking essential through eventbrite - via the SGCT website:

National Cemeteries Week is promoted by the National Federation of Cemetery Friends.
Marnock poster


In Conversation with Anna Potter - Sunday 16th June from 2pm

Anna is a florist and owner of Swallows and Damsons on Abbeydale Road. She will be talking about her new book The Flower Fix, giving a practical demonstration of flower arranging and taking questions from the audience. This event has been organised in partnership with Rhyme and Reason booksellers on Ecclesall Road, who offer a 10% discount to Friends on production of a FOBS membership card.
Dorothy Fox Education Centre
FOBS Members free, Visitors £5

Update on the 'Early Wins' Programme - 2 March 2019

South African Bed, Osborn's Field - R. Egglestone
New South African Bed
Photo ©R. Egglestone
Snowdrop planting near Lucombe Oak - R. Egglestone
Snowdrop planting near Lucombe Oak
Photo ©R. Egglestone

Work on the 'Early Wins' programme continues with the erection of a supporting wall in Osborn's Field for the new South African Bed and clumps of snowdrops planted around the Lucombe Oak near the edge of the West Lawn.

Time for a change - FOBS will be updating this year

FOBS Logo 1 (1984-1995)
FOBS Logo1
FOBS Logo 2 (1996-2003)
FOBS Logo2
FOBS Logo 3 (2004-2018)
FOBS Logo3
FOBS Logo 4 - a new look coming in 2019
FOBS Logo4

Volunteer Briefing - 9 January 2019

Curator Ian Turner welcomed the group and expressed gratitude for the work done by volunteers. In the past year total hours had exceeded 4000 and the number of volunteers was over 100. There had been no days completely lost to the weather. The highest number of attendees on any one day had been 42, the lowest 11. Volunteer hours now included those working at other times, not just the Wednesday morning team. Group members were asked to contact the FOBS Chair with ideas for increasing the number of volunteers, to improve training and to help plan for additional sessions of work on other days, including weekends.

Ian then went on to review health and safety issues, which are essentially risk assessment and common sense. Always select the correct tool for the job, if any task involves strain don't do it, keep your work area tidy, be aware of other people and don't leave tools lying around. Trips and slips can cause accidents. Ask for help if something is too heavy to lift. Please don't overfill the dumpy bags - think about the safety of the staff too.

It was a lovely bright day, occasionally sunny, but cold. After pausing to admire the Acacia baileyana in bud, near the gate on the way out from the Education Centre, Ian led a tour to inspect the projects currently in progress, many of them funded and supported by FOBS. The group eventually returned to the Centre in time for a very welcome hot drink.

AGM Bed - has been cleared after the plants had grown too large. Will be dug over again and replanted with perennials. It is likely that many of the beautiful allium bulbs will persist.
Marnock Garden
Newly planted scree bed in the Marnock Garden
Osborn's Field
A new project in Osborn's Field, this sheltered south-facing patch, backed by a stone wall, has a relatively warm micro-climate. A new South African Bed will be home to plants from both the Western and Eastern Cape.
Sophora microphylla
Also in Osborn's Field is the current Plant of the Month. Sophora microphylla is a member of the pea family and provides a welcome splash of colour at this time of year.
Victorian Garden
New planting next to the Curator's House cafe includes a eucalyptus tree which will provide shade in summer.
Victorian Garden
Trees and overgrown shrubs along the wall will be replaced to provide a more pleasing background to the colourful bedding plants. The bedding is planted out twice a year and is very popular with visitors.
Outside the pavilion
Outside the central pavilion Ian stopped to talk about the gardens in general. It was noted that the clock had stopped due to a power cut. Apparently there is quite a complicated procedure to restart it at the proper time!
East Lawn
A view across the East Lawn reveals the trees spaced out in the "Gardenesque" style, each having suffient space to develop without tangling with its neighbours. Our original curator, Robert Marnock, was an exponent of this design.
Lucombe Oak
Now that the thicket of shrubs around its base has been removed, the semi-evergreen hybrid Lucombe Oak can be really appreciated.


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