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The Herald Magazine - - etc GARDENING -

The Royal Botanic Gar­den Ed­in­burgh (RBGE), which will cel­e­brate its 350th an­niver­sary in 2020, is one of the world’s lead­ing botanic gar­dens. Es­tab­lished in 1760 as a medic­i­nal plant or physic gar­den at Holy­rood, the gar­den moved sev­eral times within Ed­in­burgh un­til in 1820 it ar­rived at its present site in In­ver­leith.

To­day, within the 70 acres of the Gar­den and Liv­ing Col­lec­tion, vis­i­tors can see more than 13,500 plant species and over 128,000 plants from more than 150 coun­tries, in­clud­ing one of the largest col­lec­tions of Chi­nese plants out­side China. Gar­den high­lights in­clude the world-fa­mous Rock Gar­den, Chi­nese Hill­side, Wood­land Gar­den, Queen Mother’s Me­mo­rial Gar­den and Herbaceous Border.

Just a mile from the cen­tre of Ed­in­burgh, the gar­den is a de­light through­out the sea­sons. In win­ter, vis­i­tors can es­cape from the cold and dis­cover ten dif­fer­ent cli­matic zones in the glasshouses. The glasshouses are home to 3,000 ex­otic plants from around the globe in­clud­ing the largest cul­ti­vated col­lec­tion of Vireya rhodo­den­drons in the world.

An im­por­tant as­pect of RBGE’s work is fur­ther­ing the ap­pre­ci­a­tion and un­der­stand­ing of the nat­u­ral world through a pro­gramme of pub­lic en­gage­ment. It hosts reg­u­lar events and has a far-reach­ing ed­u­ca­tion of­fer­ing, from MSc cour­ses to one-day work­shops.

Christ­mas at the Botan­ics, the gar­den’s one-mile il­lu­mi­nated trail, now run­ning un­til De­cem­ber 30, is a ma­jor an­nual event which en­gages new au­di­ences. In con­junc­tion with the event, the gar­den is stag­ing Gifts of the Christ­mas Tree, an ex­hi­bi­tion and trail which fo­cuses on plants as­so­ci­ated with mid­win­ter fes­ti­vals – their habi­tats, their uses, the threats they face – and the work RBGE is do­ing to con­serve some of these most iconic species.

Web­site: rbge.org.uk Tele­phone: 0131 248 2909

Open­ing times: Open daily from 10am ex­cept 25 De­cem­ber 25 and Jan­uary 1. Closes at 4pm in Novem­ber, De­cem­ber and Jan­uary, 5pm in Fe­bru­ary and Oc­to­ber, and 6pm March to Septem­ber.

Ad­mis­sion costs: Ad­mis­sion to the gar­den is free but there is a charge to get into the glasshouses.

Gar­den of the Week is in as­so­ci­a­tion with Dis­cover Scot­tish Gar­dens. For more in­for­ma­tion, ad­vice and day-out ideas, visit dis­cov­er­scot­tish­gar­dens.org

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