Garden: Cuttings

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PLANTS FROM the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew are not easy to get hold of legally. So go there next Wednesday, 16 June, when the Friends of the garden hold their annual auction of Kew's surplus plants. On offer will be rarities for conservatory and greenhouse, as well as the more familiar trees and shrubs. Viewing from 6pm at Cambridge Cottage, Kew Green, for the auction by Christie's, which starts at 7.30pm. Funds go towards a restoration project in the botanic garden. Tickets cost pounds 16. Further information from Dianne Cooper on 0181-332 5907.

EVENING TOURS of the botanic garden at Oxford have become a regular feature of the summer season there and they usually follow a particular theme. This Monday, the focus is on the plant hunters who contributed so much new material to our gardens. On 5 July, the subject will be "Colour in the Garden", and on Monday 26 July there is a chance to learn more about the healing power of plants. Tours start at 7pm, underneath the Danby Arch at the Botanic Garden. Tickets cost pounds 5. For more information, contact Louise Allen on 01865 276920.

UNDER THE influence of mystical movements, such as esotericism and theosophy, flowers at the last fin de siecle expressed the deeper meaning of human existence. They symbolised ideas and feelings about beauty or melancholy.

A new exhibition, Innocence and Decadence, which has just opened at the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, explores this period from 1880-1914, when artists were preoccupied with decadence and deteriorating values. Flowers - like the overblown rose, the sensuous lily - were thought to be highly appropriate symbols of society's decay.

In addition to paintings by Burne-Jones, Ford Madox Brown, and Mondrian, there are drawings on show by Aubrey Beardsley, and furniture, textiles and ceramics by William Morris and other artist-craftsworkers of the period.

The exhibition, which has just opened, will finish on 5 September when it moves to Paris. The gallery at 9, North Pallant, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 1TJ, is open Tue-Sat (10am-5pm) and Sun (12.30pm-5pm). Admission pounds 4. For further information call 01243 774557.