The Harris Garden is set in the home paddock of 'The Wilderness', a Victorian house (now demolished), built in the famous landscape garden created at White Knights by George, Marquis of Blandford (later 5th Duke of Marlborough) between 1798 and 1819. It is named in the memory of the late Professor Tom Harris, a distinguished palaeo-botanist and keen gardener.
A botanic garden with adjacent experimental grounds was established by the University in 1972 when the Department of Botany moved from London Road to Whiteknights. In 1987 the Department of Horticulture and Landscape moved from Shinfield to join with Agricultural Botany and Botany in a new School of Plant Sciences and, in 1988, work began on the redevelopment of the Botanic Garden to meet the wider teaching and research requirements of the new School. The development continues unabated as the garden became part of the School of Biological Sciences in 2005.
The current garden occupies about 12 acres (5 ha.). It is now run by the Grounds Department of the University and remains a key teaching and research resource for Biological Sciences.
Contact: Rupert Taylor