Here at a sense of place we’re big appreciators of William Roscoe and all he did for the City of Liverpool and, well, for humanity generally. Helping to get the Transatlantic Slave Trade stopped, at considerable physical and financial risk to himself was no mean feat after all.

We followed his life, interests and achievements in two linked blog posts, early on in ‘It’s Liverpool in 1775′ and later in ‘It’s Liverpool in 1820′. But paid scant attention to his horticultural history, beyond his being born in a market garden on Mount Pleasant. Well today Sarah Horton puts that right with the tale of ‘Mr Roscoe’s Garden’ – its history, its importance and what we could all be doing now to save its legacy for future generations. Here’s Sarah.

For a long time, in fact, for several years, I’ve been in possession of a very attractive leaflet, titled ‘Liverpool’s Botanic Collection’


It describes a veritable cornucopia of botanical delights, saying they are displayed in the ‘Glass Houses of The Walled Garden at Croxteth Hall and Country Park’. On the back of the leaflet is a map of Liverpool’s first Botanic Garden, founded in 1802 by William Roscoe. Plus a sketch of some very grand glasshouses.

Me and Ronnie had stumbled across the walled garden at Croxteth Hall early this year on a wet January afternoon on one of our rambles, and it certainly didn’t look anything like the exotic bounty illustrated on the leaflet. It was closed too. A dog walker told me he thought it wasn’t open anymore.

So it’s something that’s long bothered me. Just where are these botanic delights illustrated in the leaflet, which sound so exotic and exciting – The 3/4 Span House, The Teak House, The Metal House and The Cedar House? And does Mr Roscoe’s garden still exist?

Well, the answer to both these questions – and much more – was revealed to me this weekend at Ness Gardens. Thanks to my favourite urban beekeeper – Andrew Hubbard – who produces the delightful Postcode Honey.

I’d met Andrew recently at Croxteth Hall where he was at the Artisans Market (yes, a free food, arts and crafts event, run regularly around Liverpool – Ronnie reports on the latest one at The Palm House here). While I was at Croxteth Hall I was delighted to discover that the walled garden which I had visited many years ago, and failed to see this year, was actually open and had a browse around. It was this that started a conversation between me and Ronnie and Andrew about ‘the orchids’ and ‘the Liverpool Collection’ and I was intrigued.

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