Posted: 29/04/2013 at 21:32
Schools are encouraged in Bristol to take classes for guided tours of the Bristol University Botanic Garden. These children are a delight to take round. You should see the interested faces as I point out the plant whose beans give us the vanilla in their ice-cream, the tea, coffee and cocoa plant and show them the big nut with chocolate beans inside, the sugar that makes their jam and sweets, They happily run lavender, rosemary. mint and sage through their fingers and sniff. We go back in time to 500 million years ago and through Evolutionary Dell where their imaginations run riot when we come into the tree ferns and the age of the dinosaurs. We have wicker models of all the pollinators, insect and mammal. Many of the gardens are foreign - We visit New Zealand, South Africa, China, the Mediterranean. I love taking a school party round, much more interesting questions than the adult groups. And I could not imagine an adult group singing "Daisy, Daisy" to the South African daisies in the Warm Temperate greenhouse like the children do when I explain about plants using up the carbon dioxide we give out when we talk and sing to grow and give us something useful back like food or clothes or building material. Some of them are astonished to see oats and gasp when they hear their poage oats come from a plant. One little four year old got so excited when ho saw the bananas in the Tropicall House he asked if we had monkeys! Luckily the Zoo is not far away.