Moorbank Garden spans 3 hectares and is part of the Town Moor, a large working farm in the centre of the city, adjacent to the campus of Newcastle University. Plants were first grown here in 1923 and the area under cultivation was extended in 1980 when material was transferred to the site from the late Randle Cooke’s Kilbryde Garden at Corbridge. Outside are formal plantings and collections of rhododendron, potentilla and medicinal plants. The glasshouse complex (0.1 ha) was erected in 1985 and holds collections of tropical and desert plants and many other groups used in teaching. The glasshouses are divided into cool areas (8-10 °C in winter) and warmer areas (min 16 °C in winter).
Plants grown at Moorbank Garden are the focus of research that spans a range of disciplines, such as agriculture, neuroscience and biochemistry. Outside, several areas are used for field experiments and trial plots, including an experimental hay meadow. The glasshouses are also used to support research in photosynthesis and plant physiology, genetics, medicinal plants, bioremediation, hydrology, agronomy and bee behaviour.
The landscaped gardens are maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers, known as The Friends of Moorbank, while University Ground Staff help with maintenance of lawns and hedges. The friends meet every Friday and some Sundays, and everyone is welcome to join. The friends are responsible for the organisation of the National Garden Scheme (NGS) open days, which is in support of Cancer Nursing Charities. Some friends specialise in the cultivation and continuing development of areas within the glasshouse complex. If you would like to learn more about becoming a friend, please contact us.