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About Ness Gardens

Published: 18th January 2010 09:27

When Liverpool cotton merchant Arthur Kilpin Bulley began to create a garden in 1898, part of which he opened to local residents, he laid the foundations of one of the major botanic gardens in the United Kingdom.

He sponsored expeditions to the Far East and in doing so launched the careers of the renowned British plant collectors George Forrest and Frank Kingdon Ward. In this way Bulley was responsible for introducing hundreds of new plants to Britain.

University of LiverpoolArthur Bulley died in 1942, and in 1948 his daughter Lois presented the Gardens to the University of Liverpool with an endowment of £75,000. The only stipulation was that they be kept as a botanic gardens as a practical and fitting tribute to the memory of her father. Bulley's policy of opening a specified area of ornamental ground to the public was also to be continued.

When Ken Hulme was appointed as Director in 1957, it presented him with both a challenge and an opportunity. Bulley, who was interested in rare plants and massed flower displays but not garden design, had compartmentalised the Gardens, separating one area from another with Hawthorn hedges netted against rabbits. Floral displays were restricted to formal, regimented beds. Ken Hulme envisaged a more naturalistic setting for the plants and spent the next three decades achieving this.

Today, the commitment to maintain and develop the beauty of the Gardens remains, but there is an increasing emphasis on research, conservation and education of the public - areas reflecting Bulley's original interests. In addition, there has been an increased emphasis on educating schoolchildren, with a four-fold increase in school visits. On a larger scale, a new £2 million Visitor Centre opened in 2006, featuring a central courtyard area with reception, indoor cafe with outside garden area, shop, lecture theatre, conservatory and exhibition room.

Friends of Ness Gardens

Become a member of the Friends of Ness Gardens For a year's membership, you get:

  • Unlimited free entry to the Gardens during opening hours for 12 months (apart from special events)

  • A 12-monthly programme of interesting events, lectures and exhibitions

  • Free entry to Birmingham Botanical Gardens, the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and Wakehurst Place

  • A quarterly newsletter with information about the Gardens, the Friends and items of general horticultural interest

  • An extensive list of free seeds from plants in the Gardens with only a small handling charge

For more information, please call 0151 353 0123, email or visit the Ness Gardens website.

Ness Gardens and facilities are open 10:00 - 17:00, 7 days a week.
[Entrance after closing times for Friends of Ness Gardens and guided tours only]

Please note: - appropriate footwear and clothing should be worn at all times; the Gardens are undulating and paths may be wet and slippery, please take care.

Ness Gardens
CH64 4AY
Tel: 0151 353 0123
Website: www.nessgardens.org.uk

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