A tour round the Leicester University Botanic Garden in June revealed much more than members of the NWR Oakham group expected – statuesque trees, some stunning flower borders, three exotic glass houses and an intriguing history.Their guide Peter, a Friend of the Botanic Garden, explained the background to the garden – initially the private gardens of wealthy Leicester industrialists a century ago. The main part of the
formal gardens belonged to Francis Bryce, a successful shoe manufacturer in Leicester and they were taken over by the University in 1947.The 16-acre site attracts 54,000 visits a year and there is always something different to see depending on the time of year. Among the attractions introduced to the group was the Japanese inspired garden with its splendid display of different maples; a Bristolcone pine from the Rocky Mountains, which happens to be the tallest of its variety in the UK and a swamp Cyprus from the Everglades.The visit also took in the fuchsia garden which back in the 1980s was the national collection. It no longer has this distinction but is home to an amazing variety of hardy fuchsias, coming in different colours and sizes and they start flowering later in the summer. So maybe another visit soon!