Donor day for botanic garden

By Richard Wright

Thursday, May 22, 2014

 

Donor day for botanic garden

Ventnor Botanic Garden is to host a donor day. Picture by Laura Holme.

VENTNOR Botanic Garden will stage its first Donation Day on Wednesday.

Visitors to the garden will be encouraged to make a donation, no matter how large or small, for entry in place of the standard admission fee.

The garden has more than 23 acres and rare subtropical plants and trees from around the world, there is also large outdoor playground and a children’s activity trail.

John Curtis, director of the Community Interest Company which runs the garden, said: "We want local residents to re-discover and re-visit the garden and we think this is a great idea to help local families in these tough, budget-conscious, times."

The garden is open from 10am.

Reporter: richardw@iwcpmail.co.uk

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by Roger Grey

23rd May 2014, at 20:41:26

"Roger, you have highlighted the main problem, not making it accessible to the public, just the selected few."
No Andrea that's NOT what I said.
VBG is accessible to anyone who chooses to pay a very small fee for entry - a smaller fee than any of the Island's other major attractions.
If it's going to be just another Robin Hill then it may make a profit but I for one won't be going any more.
I've no idea why you fell out with them over the small change around the pond. You've only told us one side of this and it looks an improvement to me but what do I know?
To me as a mere visitor the garden continues to grow and it's never looked better than it has this week.
I bought an annual ticket (at a big discount) and I'll be going again soon, but I'm a gardener and interested in plants - not swings and roundabouts.
I'll leave it there.

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by Peter Jeffery

23rd May 2014, at 20:39:40

It seems to me that Andrea, apart from sounding like the kind of person who should be involved in VBG and it's future, is making an important point.

Kew and the RHS can have various priority projects, but VBG has a unique place, i.e. climate and conditions in the UK.

Surely there should be scope for arrangements with university courses in Botany or other horticultural studies.

I take no credit, but there was someone a couple of months ago ( before a muppet started widespread post deleting ) suggesting an IOW University, and this could be one of the allied projects.

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by ANDREA RICHTER

23rd May 2014, at 20:04:54

'VBG is not just another day out for the family, it is a botanic garden - a specialist facility for those interested in plants.'
If I hadn't wondered around there as a child, I wouldn't have the love for plants I have now - there we have it - Roger, you have highlighted the main problem, not making it accessible to the public, just the selected few. Topically the RHS has highlighted the trouble with getting young people interested in horticulture. It has also been on Chelsea Flower Show this week. Interest in plants is handed down in FAMILIES, so days out at such a beautiful diverse place should be orientated towards families, as well as your specialist!

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by Mike Crowe

23rd May 2014, at 20:03:54

Mr Curtis. Ar you heeding what Andrea and Roger are saying?

No?

Head in sand.

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by ANDREA RICHTER

23rd May 2014, at 19:50:18

No, don't turn it into another attraction, that's not what I meant. But, you must agree, something is not quite right. But when the Council ran it, it was a much more happier place, local people, young families with their children, whether they are there for the specialist facility or just a cuppa, they were spending money. The majority of financial capacity will come from tourism, who will pay for a well printed piece of literature, will donate money, as they do in the queue for the Natural History Museum. VBG just isn't advertising its potential, or using the skills of the horticultural teaching staff. I just don't see it in any literature. I have done a few courses, but they are advertised to a list people who are interested, not in any other capacity. Not everyone who walks through the new gates is there as an expert, it is a beautiful place to visit, but it has limited itself, and needs a sharp injection of enthusiasm, and global thinking.

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by Roger Grey

23rd May 2014, at 19:21:17

Andrea, You have of course correctly identified the problem.

VBG is not just another day out for the family, it is a botanic garden - a specialist facility for those interested in plants.
I'm sure that it could attract large numbers of visitors by turning itself into yet another Robin Hill, but then it would no longer be a place of study and preservation of endangered species. I doubt very much whether the volunteers who currently keep in going with their donations of time and money would be interested in such a place.
As to the education and skills exchange, from what I have seen when visiting, that is already happening to a considerable degree.

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by ANDREA RICHTER

23rd May 2014, at 19:20:56

If Mr Curtis wants to offer me a job, I'm currently in the market! He has my details.

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by ANDREA RICHTER

23rd May 2014, at 19:02:10

I am literally rolling on the floor in peels of laughter - tried and failed. Very difficult to break through the clic of the volunteers and the 'old staff' left over from the days of the Council, I was treated with contempt by a large number of them. I handed back my membership after they destroyed the area around the pond, and I have never been back to a place I grew up in, found my horticultural mojo and scattered my Dad's ashes. I can be very forceful, but that's what they need, I couldn't do it by myself, it's all too insular.

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by Mike Crowe

23rd May 2014, at 17:44:29

Mr Curtis. Take note of Andrea's comment and get her on board.

Who is Andrea? I haven't a clue but certainly knows what's wrong with VBG and how to get it out of the mire.

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by ANDREA RICHTER

23rd May 2014, at 17:20:07

Roger, good research, however the attractions you have pointed out are clearly orientated towards a certain group of the population, families with young children. The only reason these types of people came to VBG in the past was to use the play facility, have a cup of tea and walk down to Steephill Cove. Ironically, paying the parking charge was not something people complained about. VBG just doesn't have the diversity or attractions to attract young families, unless they are avid botanists or horticulturalists and really enjoy gardening. VBG needs to start thinking outside the box, advertise, get sponsorship from local business, work with other botanic gardens, look at offering its botanic and horticultural skills to places like Crug Farm, who are plant hunters. Make the place more interesting to visit for young families, who are the next generation to take over the volunteering. It's all a bit stale down there really.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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