Precinct Issue 210 10 NEWS New book maps journey of the rowan tree A REMARKABLE BOOK BASED ON WORK CARRIED OUT OVER THE LAST 30 YEARS AT NESS GARDENS HAS BEEN PUBLISHED BY KEW GARDEN ENTERPRISES Beautifully illustrated with 20 full-page paintings by internationally renowned Liverpool botanical illustrator Josephine Hague and more than 100 photographs, the monograph is a testament to the collaboration possible between artist and scientist. The author, Dr Hugh McAllister from Ness Gardens, says he was given the unique opportunity by LiverpoolUniversity Botanic Garden: “Neither Alfred K Bulley, the Liverpool cotton merchant who built Ness Gardens, nor George Forrest, the principal plant collector he sponsored, could have had any idea of the potential importance of Ness in the botanical world, placing it third only to Kew and Edinburgh in this country today. “Thanks to their semi-commercial partnership and, later, to Lois Bulley’s immense generosity in bestowing the Gardens to the University, the foundations were laid for special plant collections to be grown. The Civil Service structure of the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew and Edinburgh do not allow their botanists to do both the growing and the studying, while other university botanic gardens simply have not the space available for extensive, significant tree collections which need a lot of growing room. “When I arrived in 1972 it was evident to both the director, J K (Ken) Hulme and myself that whilst the Gardens contained a very wide and interesting range of species, disappointingly few were documented as ‘of known wild source’. For Ness to become a botanic garden of any national, let alone international, standing, this had to be remedied. Indeed, it is the growing of such plants which defines the term ‘botanic garden’. Some plants came from the international seed exchange system of which Ness was part; many other collections came from private collectors who have been overwhelmingly generous in supplying Ness with seed from their expeditions. “However, it is to a collection made by George Forrest in the high mountains of Yunnan, SW China in 1921 that the most recent Kew monograph owes its existence. A particularly attractive white-fruited mountain ash attracted my attention in the autumn of ’72, and we realised that we had an undescribed species new to science. In 1980 this new species was named Sorbus forrestii. My subsequent attempts to identify misnamed rowans (mountain ash) around the Gardens showed me how confused the classification of the whole group was, even though they are common trees throughout all temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Today it is very pleasing to affirm that Ness has many more species and individual collections of known wild origin in cultivation than it has ever had.” Hugh McAllister and Josephine Hague, The Genus Sorbus: Mountain Ash and Other Rowans published by RBG Kew Enterprises Ltd priced £32 can be purchased from Ness Gardens or ordered from any good bookshop. D r Heidrun Feuchtmayr and a team from the School of Biological Sciences are conducting a two year project in collaboration with scientists from Belgium, Germany, Norway, Iceland and Denmark, to assess whether a predicted rise in climate temperature for the UK and parts of Europe will increase the toxicity of algae in the country’s lakes and ponds.
Architecture or development? THE HISTORY OF LIVERPOOL’S ARCHITECTURE AND ITS FUTURE REGENERATION WAS UNDER DISCUSSION AT AN EVENT HOSTED BY TV STAR LOYD GROSSMAN. H e was joined by the chairman of Urban Splash, Tom Bloxham, to discuss the development of the city’s buildings from the 18th century to the present day. This was the second in a series of four ‘in conversation’ events to celebrate the forthcoming publication, Liverpool 800 – Culture, Character and History, edited by Professor John Belchem from the University’s School of History. Professor Belchem said: “Urban Splash has been at the heart of the regeneration ofLiverpool so Tom is well placed to discuss where our city has been and where it is heading in terms of architecture and development.” Tom also sits on the Arts Council England and was awarded an MBE in 1998 for his services to architecture and urban regeneration. Professor Belchem added: “During the 18th century there was overwhelming pressure to expand and rebuild and so there was little sentimentality about historical buildings. As the city enters its 800th year, only one city centre building – the former Blue Coat School – survives from before the middle of the 18th century. On the site now occupied by the Queen Victoria monument, a medieval castle and a Georgian church once stood. Europe’s largest climate change experiment launched SCIENTISTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL HAVE LAUNCHED A LARGE SCALE EXPERIMENT TO MONITOR THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON FRESHWATER SYSTEMS. The project – the largest climate change experiment in Europe to date – is based at Ness Botanic Gardens and will involve testing a type of algae in 48 heated water tanks. Dr Heidrun Feuchtmayr said: “There is limited knowledge about the impact of global climate change on freshwater systems. Many lakes in Europe have suffered problems with blue-green algae through the introduction of fertilisers, discharges from farms and organic chemicals such as washing powder into the water.” Tom Bloxham and Loyd Grossman Scientists will examine whether a rise in climate temperature will increase the growth of blue-green algae – known as cyanobacteria – many species of which are toxic and can affect fish, snails and other lake dwellers. It has also been known to cause irritation of the skin, headaches and sickness in humans and animals. 11 NEWS “In recent years there has been little pressure for redevelopment, but due to the city’s new cultural status we now face another construction boom and can afford to take the time to look back and appreciate Liverpool’s architectural heritage.” Two more public events, scheduled for later this year, will be hosted by Loyd Grossman and a special guest. They will address a subject that is central to the culture and character ofLiverpool, such as cosmopolitan Liverpool and the city’s sporting legacy.