Nottingham University - The Millennium Garden
w/e 04 July 2010
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

It is commonplace now for schools to be surrounded by unclimbable fences and locked gates and I've always considered Nottingham University with its gate houses and traffic barriers to be similarly out of bounds. I believe many people are of the same opinion but the fact is that the grounds are open to the public and it is possible to wander freely about the campus and enjoy the gardens of which there are several in different styles. We'll focus here on the Millennium Garden, planning for which began in 1998 but hope to return for more visits to explore other areas of the campus. Lord Dearing, former Chancellor of the University, formally opened the garden on Tuesday 4 July 2000.

Millennium Garden

A free leaflet is available at each of the gate houses and most of the information to accompany these images has been drawn from one such leaflet. The section of the leaflet on the Millennium Garden states that it "is the jewel in our horticultural crown" being "a quiet, reflective place for students and staff amidst the 'busyness' of a major university campus." It came about as the winning entry in a design competition and is based on a time theme featuring a series of interconnecting circular pathways.
Pool & Island

The circular pathways are supplemented by a similar shaped formal pool and island upon which stands an existing Tree of Heaven which was incorporated into the design to be a focal point in the garden. The island can be accessed by two low steel bridges and a dozen fountains in the pool "tell the time".
Armillary Sphere

Another focal point in the garden is an Armillary Sphere set in the centre of the Teresa Duffy Flower Garden which is a colour garden designed to have interesting flowers and foliage at all seasons.
Flower Garden

Flower GardenFlower Garden The time theme is continued in the flower garden by using different colours to illustrate a day/night scheme. One bed contains hot red, orange and yellow colours whilst another has cool blues, whites and silvers. Ample seating is available on all sides of the flower garden (and elsewhere) which enables students, staff and the general public of course to sit and enjoy the colours whatever their mood.
Yews & Lawn

In contrast to the flower garden is a circular grassed area surrounded by twelve sentinel yews again paying homage to the time theme. It also provides a less formal seating area and can be used as a small open-air performance site. Various events are held in the Millennium Garden throughout the year.
Flayed Stone

A high point in the garden is the top of a raised mound with clipped box hedges. Overlooking the pool the centre point of the mound is a stone sculpture by Peter Randall-Page. The sculpture was carved from a single piece of glacial granite and is titled 'Flayed Stone' and closer inspection of it is possible even for disabled visitors in wheelchairs by following the path between the box hedges.
Turf & Brick Maze

Following another path is not quite as straightforward as the blue bricks set in the turf form a maze. To quote from the aforementioned leaflet: "This ancient garden feature symbolises the rooting of knowledge in antiquity."
Apples & Roses

Path From GardenOrchard Several paths lead from the garden and one of them (left) from the maze offers views over "the meadows to the halls of residence and distant housing. Here the design emphasises the University's open attitude to learning and knowledge and its involvement in the wider community." It is also at the side of this path that there is an old Bramley orchard (right) where rambler roses grow through the trees (above).

This path is just one that's an invitation to explore more of the gardens on the campus and that's an invitation we'll probably accept another day.

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