Dr Tim Upson

IMG_0637Botanist, Horticulturalist, Author, Lecturer
Curator, Botanic Garden, 1997 – present
Deputy Director, 2013 – present
Acting Director, Botanic Garden, 2010 – 2013
Royal Botanic Garden, Kew
Reading University
Royal Botanic Garden, Kew

Dr Tim Upson joined the Cambridge University Botanic Garden in 1997, as Curator, from the University of Reading.  The new title of Curator was introduced by Professor John Parker to indicate the evolving role of the Garden Superintendent.  Tim Upson describes himself as a ‘hybrid’, having a background in botanical horticulture from Royal Botanic Garden, Kew and going on to research a PhD in plant sciences.   As Curator, Tim Upson is in charge of the day-to-day care and management of the Botanic Garden collections. As well as his roles as Curator and Deputy Director, Dr Upson teaches botany to students from the Department of Plant Sciences and conducts research on the genus Lavandula.

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(Above left) Brigid Stacey, Office Manager, Professor John Parker and Dr Tim Upson. (Above right) Dr Tim Upson with Norman Villis in February 2013.

Dr Tim Upson, was instrumental in commissioning the Changing Perspectives project.  As Curator of the Botanic Garden, Tim Upson was interested in understanding more about the shifting philosophies and concepts that had gone into the shaping of the Garden landscapes from the 1950s onwards.  Such an understanding will help to plan and create planting and renovated displays in the Garden of the future.

Garden Voices   Listen to Dr Tim Upson talk about some of the reasons behind why he was keen to collect the stories and up-date the development of the eastern section of the Botanic Garden from 1950s onwards.

2949 New Fen Display interpretation 150dpiKey Events
1997         Dry Garden developed
1997         The Cory Laboratory refurbished
1997         The Grass Maze
1997         Apple Day introduced
1998         The Genetics Garden
2002         Healthy Herbie display
2004         New Fenland Display (right)
Scented Garden by Juliet Day2005         Plant Growth Facility
2008         The Scented Garden renovated
2010         Sainsbury Laboratory signed off
2010         Professor John Parker retires
2010         Tim Upson becomes Acting Director
2013         Promoted to Deputy Director

In the summer months, lavender displays can be seen around the Garden, particularly in the Bee Borders and the Rose Garden.

Dr Tim Upson’s illustrated monograph, The Genus Lavandula, co-authored with Susyn Andrews was published in 2004.  The book’s illustrations are by Georita Harriott, Christabel King and Joanna Langhorne.

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‘The Genus Lavandula’
A comprehensive and authoritative illustrative account of lavenders.  Focusing on their worldwide importance as garden plants and as a mainstay of the perfumery and aromatherapy industries.  Thirty-nine species, numerous hybrids and nearly 400 cultivars are described, bringing together taxonomy, distribution, history and cultivation.


 List of Publications – Dr Tim Upson