Here you will find the oldest poplars in the Netherlands, the largest ginger plant collection in the world and a mini mangrove. The hundred year old Botanical Garden TU Delft is a hidden oasis.
The Botanical Garden is a historical and scientific garden, so please do not expect a ‘Keukenhof’-type thing says Yoka Boshoff, coordinator of the Museum Shop. The shop is in the garage of an old professor’s house. ‘When we cautiously entered the garage 13 years ago, we came across mice, moss and an old rusty Volkswagen,’ she laughs.
Nature is a great source of inspiration for technology.
Professors used the garden in the first half of the twentieth century for research of tropical species from the Dutch East Indies (currently Indonesia), such as the rubber tree. With this, Delft made an important contribution to the car and bicycle tire industry. Nowadays students turn to Mother Nature for sustainable technical solutions. For example, plant roots that protect banks from erosion.
In a tall greenhouse full of green, Bob Ursem, scientific director of the Botanical Garden, tells me with infectious enthusiasm about his research. ‘Nature is a great source of inspiration for technology. One day I noticed how dust particles rise above the buckthorn… against gravity!’ Now he is investigating how this buckthorn can help with the air pollution problem.
But the garden is not just for scientists. Tourists and locals may enjoy a Sunday afternoon concert or a walk through the garden and greenhouses. Yoka: ‘There is always a serene calm energy. My favorite spot is on the bench near the water. Feels like being in an impressionistic painting…’