British botanical gardens in the 1980s : changes reflected by bibliographical and social survey
1) British botanical gardens in the 1980s represent the latest stage in their long history dating from the Middle Ages. Origins lie in different types of institution:religious; academic;economic; amateur; scientific; and municipal. This diversity explains the variety of modern institutions involved with gardens, which may be recognized in four categories: state; university; local authority; and private societies. (2) The relationship of the gardens to the community is central to this study. Emphasis is placed on public views of them. (A small sample survey was conducted to obtain the ideas of the public about their functions.)(3) A questionnaire was sent to relevant gardens, enquiring about possible international relationships based on European twinning schemes.(4) Many influences are seen to contribute to the substantial changes evident in the activities of British botanical gardens today. New developments are considered, e.g. increased leisure and consequent need for recreation activities; transport facilities; influence of the mass media, especially television; conservation schemes; and current financial stringency. Some scientific advances (e.g. micropropagation) and technical progress (e.g. labour-saving machinery) are mentioned. (5) Six main functions of the gardens are identified and considered in detail: teaching and research; economic botany; horticulture; amenity; public in.iormation arid education services, public recreation facilities; and conservation. The functions are reviewed in relation to overlap with those of other modern institutions (e.g. research stations), and other types of garden. (6) Sheffield Botanical Gardens - seen in their historical context - provide a good example of change affecting a nineteenth-century institution adapted to the 1980s. The Gardens' importance to the local community is assessed from informal enquiries. (7) A bibliography of non-specialized material is included. Most chapters contain a literature section with notes on important published material. (8) Findings include: the contribution, uniquely made by academic botanical gardens, to teaching and research; the importance in all the gardens of public information and education services and recreation facilities; the significance of conservation activities within a national and international framework.