ENGLAND: Isle of Wight – Ventnor Botanical Gardens

Undercliff Drive, Ventnor, Isle of Wight PO38 1UL

t 01983 855397


All photographs courtesy of Chris Kidd, curator

The Collection

Nestled in the microclimate of the Undercliffe, Ventnor Botanic Garden has an extensive collection of cacti and xerophytes in an Arid Garden area. What makes it unusual is the fact that they are all grown outdoors – there is no greenhouse collection at this garden. This began as an experiment some fifteen ago and has seen their collection grow to encompass, for example, 27 species of Opuntia.

Ventnor Botanic Gardens houses the National Collection of Puya, the high Andean xerophytes in the bromeliad family which, although not officially a succulent in the BCSS world, are often featured in presentations by cactus explorers. The gardens have some very notable aloes, including A. polyphylla and A. mutabilis, which flower regularly every year. There is also a large collection of shrubby mesembs, such as Drosanthemum and Lampranthus.

Nearest BCSS Branch

Isle of Wight: www.iow.bcss.org.uk

Meetings are held in Wooton. Please see the Branch website for meeting dates and programme.

A Member’s View

Growing cacti and succulents outdoors in the UK, even in the relatively mild climate of the Isle of Wight, is always going to be a challenge so don’t expect perfect specimens all year round. This is not a garden to visit specially for the cacti and succulents but there is much more to see than that.

The gardens are well-kept, thanks in large part by a team of volunteers, but it is now commercially run and the entrance fee is quite steep (please see the website for details). The curator, Chris Kidd, is an expert plantsman who has done wonders with the garden.

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