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Hi Dave: Thanks for posting the Birmingham Botanical Gardens youtube of the Japanese Bonsai. I sent it to my husband's computer since he has a collection that he developed himself and climbed high in the mountains to bring down specimens. He eventually joined a Bonsai group before I met him.
I visited the Botanical Gardens on my visit last October and spent three hours there in all. I took the train from Four Oaks to Five Ways and then literally wandered down the Hagley Road until I saw the signs pointing to the Gardens. After a long walk I arrived at the gates. I was on my own so I had a wander around the streets adjoining Westbourne Road admiring the
impressive homes before entering the gardens. I also had a walk along the street beside the Plough & Harrow Hotel. Some of the buildings are very old.
The Hot Houses were quite overgrown I thought but were still very interesting to go through. It was a fair good day outside and I had a walk around some of the huge parkland, visited the Aviary and band stand in the grounds. There was an Apple display in one of the buildings with many kinds of apples laid out. They all looked delicious but there were notices to say "Don't Touch".
I was totally in awe of the Japanese Bonsai Collection and Gardens, It is so beautiful and I can understand why the Bonsai trees are "behind bars" The buildings, layout and presentation of this collection is the best I have seen and the trees and gardens were just perfect. I remember at the Birmingham Flower Show in 1972 when I visited at Perry Park, there was an excellent show of Bonsai there which I was impressed by. The gift shop is excellent.I bought a few books and some postcards of the Bonsai Trees.
I had lunch in the cafeteria which has great views of the grounds and also viewed the inside exhibitions in the Convention Rooms. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit there and am very glad I went. Here are a few photos that I took. I have a few more which I will post in another message.
Good news to hear that the pool has been cleared out. I am sure the fish will reappear soon. Here are some more photos I took
last October. The Cacti Hot House was fascinating (lst photo) The Entrance to the magnificent Bonsai collection (2nd photo)
Beautiful bougainvillea display (3rd photo) Long shot in one of the main Hot Houses (4th photo) Insect eating plant display (5th photo). I have a few more which I will post soon.
Dave, two of my husbands best Bonsai trees were stolen when we lived in a very secluded place many years ago and had them outside on the balcony. We never found out who took them but they were insured and we used the money from the insurance to buy a new fridge for our first house!
I have fond memories of the Botanical Gardens, in the 8o's they held Christmas Art Auctions which I regularly submitted paintings. The late Ernie Biddle (of Biddle and Webb), a lovely man, gave his services free. The Auction was held in aid of the Birmingham Mail Christmas Tree fund who received 25% of the proceeds, 25% to the Botanical Gardens the remaining 50% to the artist. One of my paintings, the Church in Berkswell went for £375 the highest amount I have ever sold a painting for bought by a couple who were married there 30 years before. They also hold an annual Summer exhibition, they still send me entry forms but I no longer exhibit. Happy days. Eric