Botanic gardens and arboreta to help celebrate 350th anniversary of Sylva

We are delighted to announce that gardens and arboreta across the UK and Ireland will be celebrating with us to mark the 350th anniversary of the publication in 1664 of John Evelyn’s classic book Sylva: or, a discourse of forest trees and the propagation of timber in his Majesty’s dominions.

The following information was posted recently by Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh:

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The occasion will be marked with exhibitions and events that bring this discourse up-to-date. Heading these celebrations is The New Sylva ‒ a new book published by Bloomsbury, written by Gabriel Hemery and Sarah Simblet. During 2014 the central messages about the importance of trees and the remarkable drawings made for the book will feature in exhibitions, interpretation panels and window displays across the country.

Exhibitions of Sarah Simblet’s remarkable pen-and-ink drawings featuring individual tree portraits, woodland scenes and life-sized illustrations of leaves, fruits and flowers will be presented at botanic gardens in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland. Each drawing will be accompanied by informative text written by Gabriel Hemery. Visitors to the exhibitions will also be able to find out more about John Evelyn and his Sylva. Two arboreta without exhibition spaces have agreed to take part with Sylva-themed interpretative panels displayed alongside the appropriate trees in their collections.

This is the first time that prominent botanic gardens in Britain and Ireland have participated in a joint venture of this nature. Each venue is preparing an individual programme of activities which includes talks, drawing workshops, guided walks and family activities. The gardens involved are being encourage to record these events so that at the end of the project we can organise a sharing of ideas and inspiration for future programmes. It is anticipated that the number of participants involved in visiting the exhibitions or engaging with the activities programme will exceed 100,000 during the course of the year.

There is probably no point in the last 350 years when trees have featured so prominently in the consciousness of ordinary people nor a time when the future of forests in the British Isles looked so rosy. The benefits to be gained from diverse and productive woodlands are not simply economic but including the positive effects they have on the health and wellbeing. Sylva recognises this growing interest for trees and forests and resurgence activity in our woodlands in an original way and we invite support from everybody who shares this passion for trees to celebrate with us.

Read more at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s website

Dates at the confirmed venues will be announced here soon.

The Royal Society – founded 350 years ago today

Aside

Three hundred and fifty years ago today, on 28th November 1660, The Royal Society was founded, following a lecture given by Christopher Wren at Gresham College in London. The ninth man listed among the 41 founding members was John Evelyn (1620-1706).

Two years after it was founded, in 1664, the Society published its first book: John Evelyn’s Sylva: or, a discourse of forest-trees, and the propagation of timber in his Majesty’s Dominions, &c.

The Society and its Fellows have played a significant role in some of the most fundamental, significant, and life-changing discoveries in scientific progress. Among its Fellows it includes numerous historical luminaries, notably Robert Boyle, Issac Newton, Charles Babbage, Charles Darwin and Robert Hooke, while living fellows include Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking and John Krebs.

The New Sylva will be published in 2014 to celebrate the 350th publication of Evelyn’s influential Sylva. Read more

Endure with her triumphant oaks

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“Surely while Britain retains her awful situation among the nations of Europe, the ‘Sylva’ of Evelyn will endure with her triumphant oaks. It was a retired philosopher who aroused the genius of the nation, and who casting a prophetic eye towards the age in which we live, has contributed to secure our sovereignty of the seas. The present navy of Great Britain has been constructed with the oaks which the genius of EVELYN planted!”

Isaac D’Israeli (1766-1848)