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Arboretum: what is an arboretum?
Yesterday we posted an image of a Dotted Hawthorn (Crataegus punctata) shot at the Westonbirt Arboretum in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (South-West Britain), but what is an arboretum?
In the narrowest sense an arboretum is a collection of trees, though modern arboreta are typically Botanical Gardens containing collections of woody plants. The Scottish botanist, John Claudius Loudon was the first to use the term arboretum in an English publication, though it’s though the term was already long-established at that point.
In Britain, the best known arboreta are the Westonbirt Arboretum (or National Aboretum), close to the Roman city of Bath, and Kew Gardens in West London, which is a Botanical Garden set within an arboretum. At 300 acres (121 hectares), the arboretum at Kew Gardens has about half the area of the National Arboretum, though Kew Gardens is the older of the two with original botanical garden dating back to 1759.
The post photograph shows a wildflower shot at the Westonbirt Arboretum, managed by the Forestry Commission. You will find wildflowers peppered across the 600 acre arboretum. Westonbirt is one of the top gardens to visit in the autumn, though each season offers something special. They offer general guided walks led by knowledgeable volunteers as well as dedicated wildflower themed walks for visitors. There is also a stack of information on the wildflowers which have been documented at Westonbirt since the 1880s on their website.
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