Something for everyone at the Botanic Garden's Festival of Plants


Have you ever wondered what the first flower looked like or why bananas don’t have seeds? These are just two of a range of topics that will be covered in Cambridge University Botanic Garden’s ‘talking tent’ at its annual Festival of Plants.

Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Saturday 18 May 2019
10am – 5pm

The Festival of Plants  on Saturday 18 May is a fun-filled, fact-finding day out that celebrates the wonder of plants. There’s something for everyone to enjoy: from families to photographers, gardeners to budding plant scientists or anyone looking to spend an uplifting day in beautiful surroundings when the Garden is brimming with spring colour.

Visitors can listen to 10 minute, bite-size talks about a range of innovative plant-related topics; take a free, themed guided tour; meet University scientists at pop-up family-friendly interactive plant science stalls; receive expert garden advice from the ‘Ask-the-Gardener’ panel; browse specialist plant stalls; get crafty with children’s activities and enjoy the exotic colour of the Cambridge Orchid Society Annual Show or simply picnic, relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

Professor Beverley Glover, Director of the Botanic Garden says: “May is a wonderful time to see the Garden in all its spring glory and this festival is about celebrating everything plants have to offer.  We will be showcasing some stunning plants from our living collection and explaining how amazing they are to study. Visitors will be able to find out what plant scientists here in Cambridge are researching and how their work may help solve some of the greatest challenges we are facing in today’s world.  It’s a fun and fascinating day out and we want people to come and soak up the atmosphere and be as relaxed and interested as they would like to be.”

The Botanic Garden plays an important role as a focus for plant science research both in Cambridge and around the world. The Garden’s living collection is used by scientists investigating how plants work, how they evolved, how they are related to each other and how they can be used to address global problems as challenging as food security and climate change.

Beverley continues: “Some of the plants here are the focus of conservation projects because they are so rare, some are the focus of projects to address food shortages and others help us understand more about the tricks flowers use to attract pollinators. We want to encourage people to come and see what’s going on and understand the power of plants - all in a fun and informal way!”


Plant Science

Pop-up Science Marquee on the Main Lawn. Groups from the University’s Plant Science Department, Sainsbury Laboratory and other local groups demonstrate and explain the wonders of plants with hands on experiments and interactive games designed to highlight how world-leading research can help address global challenges.

Free Garden Tours

Garden Guides and staff will be giving themed, highlight tours showing what's best in the Garden. Until midday, our Trainee Horticultural Technicians will also be conducting drop-in canopy tours of the Tropical Glasshouse.

Talking Plants

10-15 minute drop in bite-size talks throughout the day. Topics will be as diverse as how algae offer the potential for the sustainable production of novel food, to how plants control their genes.

Ask the Gardener

Visitors are invited to bring along tricky garden questions, dilemmas or plants to identify and the Garden’s horticultural team will be happy to help and give advice.

Cambridge Orchid Society Annual Show

The Cambridge Orchid Society Annual Show will be held in the Glasshouse Range. Experts will be on hand to give out growing hints and tips, with orchids for sale by Laurence Hobbs Orchids Ltd.

Schools’ Garden Fete

Drop-in, hands-on family activities all day in the Garden Room including making Garden crowns and the famous vegetable tombola.

Plant Fair

A perfect opportunity to purchase from local and specialist nurseries.
Around the Fringe

Live folk music throughout the afternoon on the Main Lawn. The Garden Café will be providing fresh food along with several pop-up refreshments including Jack's Gelato, Guerrilla Kitchen and Caffé Mobile.  Watch out for walkabout characters offering horticultural miss-advice.


Festival of Plants runs from 10am – 5pm on Saturday 19 May 2018. Tickets (normal Garden admission charge) can be bought in advance from the Garden’s ticket offices to avoid queues on the day or purchased on the day at the Garden’s ticket offices.  
Admission prices, please see website at for full details

About CUBG: Supporting leading scientific research and welcoming 300,000 visitors a year, Cambridge University Botanic Garden is one of the largest University-owned botanic gardens in the world.  The Garden’s living plant collection of over 8,000 species is spread across 40 acres of landscaped gardens. The collection, which includes iconic and endangered trees and plants, supports University research towards meeting many of the world’s greatest future challenges (such as food security, climate change and medicine).  The Garden also inspires schools, the local community and visitors from around the world about the importance of plants and plant science, horticulture and the joy of gardening.




To read more information, click here.

The University of Cambridge is acknowledged as one of the world's leading higher education and research institutions. The University was instrumental in the formation of the Cambridge Network and its Vice- Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, is also the President of the Cambridge Network.

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