Oxford in Bloom

Oxford in Bloom

When I think of Oxford, I think of spires and academics, cloaks and halls. I don’t think of gardens and flowers. However, since visiting the Botanic Gardens, that has now changed. Oxford has an impressive collections of exotic plants in a series of glass houses, including all sorts of carnivorous, creepy and spiky varieties. On top of that, there are several unfamiliar plants with familiar crops, like bananas, cotton and ginger. Even if you think flowers are for little girls, I’d recommend a visit.

Pitcher Plant: nature's Pedal Bins

I may not be very good at identifying flowers, but I know that these are Pitcher Plants. For the uninitiated, these plants contain a tempting liquid which draws in insects. They crawl in through the opening and down the funnel to the liquid in the bottom of the pitcher. Unfortunately for the insects, once inside, it’s very difficult to get out again, as the walls of the vessel are lined with stiff downward-pointing hairs, and any attempts to escape usually result in the insect going for an early bath. Once in the swim, the flies are then slowly digested by the plant. Nature can be very cool.

Zen Oxford Lily pad

This is the last of the flower photos, I promise. There’s something about lily pads which I find very calm and attractive in a simple way. Maybe I should invest in a Kimono. These lilies were also in Oxford Botanic Gardens. You can just make out a pair of courting damsel flies. A few seconds later and this might have been X-rated.

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