Liverpool botanical ‘treasures’ to have permanent home

Liverpool City Council secures £245,000 of Lottery funding to create a permanent home for the city’s botanical collection which dates back to 1803. Tony McDonough reports

Orchid, orchids, flowers
Orchids form part of the Liverpool botanical collection


A £245,000 cash injection from the National Lottery Heritage Fund will be used to create a permanent home for Liverpool’s botanical collection.

Located within Croxteth Hall’s walled garden, a detailed project plan is now being developed which will see the culturally significant collection nurtured and developed, with plans to open it up to the public to become a leading visitor attraction. 

The collection dates back to 1803 and was founded by William Roscoe. Thanks to Lottery money initial works will get under way to restore The Peach House, which will become the gateway to the collection and will house some of the key botanical exhibits.

Currently in a state of disrepair, new glazing is required in order for it to be a suitable home for the hundreds of varieties of plant species in Liverpool’s ownership. Future plans include:

  • The restoration of a number of greenhouses and brick buildings.
  • Developing a new education programme which will see the introduction of a pilot project working with around ten primary schools across the city.
  • The introduction of horticultural and agricultural training courses as a result of educational partnerships with establishments such as Myerscough College and the Learning Foundry.

There will be focus on how to make the collection a key visitor attraction, given its shared location with the Grade II-listed Croxteth Hall and the Country Park.

Guided tours, workshops and open days will be created and attracting events will be a priority in order to support the future of the collection.

Supporting mental health and wellbeing and tackling loneliness will be developed through partnerships with local and national organisations.

Establishing a digital offer, for example creating a dedicated website, is also on the wish-list, which will open up the collection to people across the world who may not be able to visit in person.

Liverpool City Council will be working with the botanist team at National Museums Liverpool, as well as the universities, to redevelop Liverpool’s rare orchid collections. Liverpool was the first city to successfully propagate orchids more than 200 years ago.

It will also work with the new Liverpool Botanical Trust which was formed in June 2023 with the remit of preserving, protecting, and enhancing the Botanical gardens in Liverpool.


The Peach House, botanical
The Peach House at Croxteth Park. Picture by Liverpool City Council


The Botanic Collection at Croxteth Park has ‘National Plant Collections’ status which recognises it as a globally respected collection. It has held the title since 1985 and includes Fuchsia, Codiaeum, Dracaena and Solenostemon.

It is made up of thousands of different plants, including orchids, ferns, begonia and tropical species, which are all maintained by a small, dedicated number of gardeners based at the Hall.

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Cllr Harry Doyle, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet member for Health, Wellbeing and Culture, said: “We are massively proud of Liverpool’s Botanical Collection.

“This Heritage Fund grant is an essential stepping-stone to us making positive changes which will future-proof the collection, allowing it to develop and flourish.

“The botanical importance of this collection can never be underestimated – it includes rare plants that are of medical, educational, scientific and horticultural significance and as one of the oldest of its kind in the world, we need plans in place do it justice.”

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