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Botany for Gardeners – Series of 10 0nline Talks (whole series sales)

2nd March, 18:30 - 20:00

Botany for Gardeners – Series of 10 0nline Talks (whole series sales)
A series of 10 online talks for both beginners and the more experienced plant lover
Understanding how plants work will help you become a better gardener!

In this 10-part series of online talks (NB all Wednesdays apart from Thursday May 12th), Dr Mark Spencer will cover everything from the evolution of plants to the importance of wild plants in sustaining future human life today. Dr Mark Spencer is an experienced and internationally respected botanist. His expertise covers many disciplines including forensic botany, the plants of North-west Europe, invasive species and the history of botanical science. He also works globally as a seasoned writer, public speaker and television presenter.

Topics include plants’ love affair with fungi and bacteria, biogeography, centres of floral diversity, structural plant forms, adaptation, reproduction, plant breeding and invasive species in our cities.

Mark Spencer’s huge plant knowledge and dynamic teaching style should ensure that this is another of his SLBI series not to be missed, whether you’re new to gardening, an experienced gardener or just interested in learning more about plants.

Sessions can be booked individually but we’d recommend booking the whole series to get maximum learning.

Please note, the Zoom link will be sent out 1 hour before the session. Please check your junk mail.

Tickets: The series (Non-members) £90 and (Members) £80

Individual talks (Non-members) £12 and (Members) £10  Booked via separate listing in date order please

Please book via EventBrite ticketing system below.

Week 1: The key events in the evolution of plants. Wednesday 2nd March 2022

An exploration of the evolution of our planet’s plant-life. The ability to use sunlight energy, photosynthesis, changed our atmosphere and the life on earth forever. Similarly, the movement of plant-life on to land and the innovations like stems, seeds and flowers shaped our world.

Week 2: Plants and their love affair with fungi and bacteria. Wednesday 16th March 2022

Alongside their ability to photosynthesise, plants have co-opted the biochemical diversity of fungi and bacteria to help them colonise the globe and dominate most ecosystems. Far from being passive, the plants are in control.

Week 3: Biogeography: how do plants end up living in certain parts of the world? Wednesday 6th April 2022

To many, Eucalyptus are emblematic of Australia and pines characterise the great forests of the north. What forces drive the distribution of plant-life around the globe and create such diversity?

Week 4: Centres of diversity: why do some parts of the world have such distinctive floras? Wednesday 20th April 2022

Some parts of the world, like the Cape region of southern Africa, are hotspots of plant diversity. How do these places become so rich in species and others remain so poor in comparison?

Week 5: Structural diversity: not all ‘leaves’ are leaves, why is that? Wednesday 4th May 2022

Everyone knows what a leaf is, don’t they? You’ll be surprised to discover that many ‘leaves’ are stems, stipules or even roots. Some organs, especially stipules, can take on a multitude of forms that reflect the plant’s needs.

Week 6: Adaptation: how structures like hairs can save lives. Thursday 12th May 2022

Superficially, a hair is very a simple structure, however, hairs can help plants survive predation, winter cold, summer heat or extreme drought. Understanding how plant form and structures work will help you become a better gardener!

Week 7: Reproduction and dispersal. Wednesday 1st June 2022

Plants are sexy, well most of them are. How do plants coax others to do their sexual bidding? And, once this is achieved, what strategies do plants employ to ensure their progeny get the best start in life?

Week 8: The history of domestication, from ‘weeds’ to breeds. Wednesday 15th June 2022

All around the world, early cultures have explored ‘nature’s larder’ and paved the way for the modern global larder. Alongside this, the world’s wild flora have been tended and bred to fit our aesthetic desires. The plants of your garden, like roses, dahlias and fuchsia have wild origins and relatives – where do they originate from?

Week 9: Urban botany: the history of a city – and ‘what are invasive non-native species?’. Wednesday 6th July 2022

We often hear the word invasive today. But what does it mean? To scientists, it has a very different meaning to the gardener. Urban areas are rich in wild plants, some native and others introduced by humans – what does their presence tell us about the history of a city and the wider environment?

Week 10: Botany and sustainability, crop wild relatives, genetic diversity and conservation. Wednesday 20th July 2022

Our future depends upon plants. Understanding the importance of wild plants for plant breeding is crucial. Wild relatives of important plants like rice often have valuable traits like salt tolerance. Conserving wild plant diversity is the cornerstone upon which the planet’s, and our, wellbeing depends.

Supported by: Environmental jobs | Environmentjob.co.uk 

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The South London Botanical Institute