University of Leicester garden appoints first poet-in-residence

Tim Relf said he had been transfixed the first time he visited the garden

A novelist has been appointed the first-ever poet-in-residence for a university’s botanic garden.

Tim Relf, a novelist and poet, has been given a 12-month residency at the Botanic Garden at the University of Leicester.

He will produce poetry for the garden, in Oadby, as well as the Attenborough Arboretum, in Knighton.

He said he had been “transfixed by the garden” the first time he had visited it.


Mr Relf said he hoped his residency would inspire others to try writing

Mr Relf said he had emailed the university to ask about a potential residency, after hearing about a resident poet at a cathedral.

The keen gardener said he hoped his residency would inspire others to try writing and spark a curiosity about horticulture.

He said he hoped to create a body of work inspired by the garden and the arboretum which inspires people to visit and think about nature and plants.

“It’s my job to spread the message of the garden and the joys and benefits of gardening,” he said.


Mr Relf said he found gardening helped make you aware of the natural world

Mr Relf, who lives in Draycott in Derbyshire, said he had found gardening had helped his mental health.

He said: “It can help you relax, it provides exercise and it makes you aware of the natural world, climate issues and the environment – and with the cost of living crisis in mind, it can also help you put food on the table.”

The Botanic Garden supports scientific research and teaching at the university, as well as proving education programmes for all age groups.

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