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Queen of herbs to talk about the forerunners of the modern botanic garden

Jekka McVicar, new President of the Friends of the University of Bristol Botanic Garden

Jekka McVicar, new President of the Friends of the University of Bristol Botanic Garden

Press release issued: 26 March 2014

Internationally recognised expert, author and broadcaster, who is known as the ‘Queen of Herbs’, will give a talk about these fragrant plants tomorrow [Thursday 27 March].

The talk ‘What is a herb’, organised by the Friends of the University of Bristol Botanic Garden, will be given by Jekka McVicar, the newly appointed President of the Friends.

Jekka will discuss the history of herbs and the diverse range of plants that are classed as herbs.  She will also explain how and where to grow herbs and how to use them in the kitchen and in the home.

Nick Wray, Curator of the Botanic Garden, said: “Herbs were at the core of the original physic gardens of Renaissance Europe, the forerunners of the modern botanic garden. They are a vitally important part of plant collections at the University Botanic Garden and generate much interest with students and visitors.

“I am delighted that the relationship between the Jekka and the garden will be drawn closer together through the Presidency of the Friends and I look forward to working with her in the future.”

Jekka has worked with herbs since 1985 and is a member of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Council and RHS Fruit, Vegetable and Herb Committee.   

She has been awarded 62 RHS Gold Medals and in 2012 she was awarded the Garden Media Guild, Lifetime Achievement Award ‘for services to horticulture, design, education and communication and excellence in the field of organic herb growing’.

Jekka is the President of the Herb Society and an active member of the RHS Council.  She appears frequently on national radio and advises governments, chefs and members of the public on the use of herbs, most recently at her Herbetum on her Herb Farm in Bristol.

The talk ‘What is a herb’, organised by the Friends of the University of Bristol Botanic Garden, will take place on Thursday 27 March at 8pm at the University of Bristol, Room B75, School of Biological Sciences, Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1UG. 

The lecture is free to Friends (on production of membership card), visitors will be asked for a donation.  No booking is required.

Further information is available from the Botanic Garden, tel 0117 331 4906 or email


Further information

About the Botanic Garden

March: Open Monday to Friday from 10 am until 4 pm, or dusk if earlier.  Closed on Saturday and Sunday except for advertised winter tours.

The Welcome Lodge will be closed but informational leaflets will be available and a donation from non-Friends is requested.

April and May: Open Monday to Friday and Sunday from 10 am until 4.30 pm.  Closed on Saturday except for advertised tours.

Admission is £3.50 adults; free to University staff and retired staff, Friends of the Botanic Garden, students and children under-16.

Dogs (except registered disability assistance dogs) are not permitted in the Botanic Garden.

The Garden is largely accessible for wheelchairs and mobility scooters with a designated path leading around the Garden and glasshouses and disabled toilet facilities are available.

The garden also offers private day, evening and weekend guided tours for groups and gardening or any other leisure clubs. Please contact the garden for further information. There is a charge for the guide.

Directions to The Holmes

From the city centre go to the top of Whiteladies Road, at the junction and traffic lights go straight ahead across Durdham Down towards Stoke Bishop. At the traffic lights go straight ahead and take the first turning on the right into Stoke Park Road, The Holmes is 150 m on the right.

Members of the public wishing to support the work of the Botanic Garden should join the Friends of the Garden.  For more information go to the Friends of the Garden or write to Susan Redfern, The Membership Secretary, 24 Dublin Crescent, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4NA.

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