Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens set to bloom

THE Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) has received the backing of city councillors to proceed with a £70 million development, to ensure the future and improvement of Scotland’s national plant collection.

Councillors agreed to support the case for RBGE’s Edinburgh Biomes project, which will allow for threats such as plant disease and habitat loss to be addressed, as well as the ability to further explore, conserve and explain the world of plants for a better future.

RBGE say that two of its Victorian palm houses require ‘substantial restoration and refurbishment’ with the news of the backing ensuring that required action can be taken, and the 34,000 plants within can remain.

A new glasshouse will also be built on the ground, which will act as a linking to the Front Range house – it will house the plants currently found in the glasshouses set to undergo redevelopment, and will be returned once maintenance work is complete. RGBE say they are working towards creating ‘world-leading’ facilities.

New research facilities will also be included in the re-development, with RGBE planning to look into plant pathogens which are damaging the environment. Education facilities will be open to students right through from primary school to PhD.

Regius Keeper Simon Milne MBE said, “As a world-leading botanic garden responding to the climate emergency and the associated alarming loss of biodiversity, we recognise this is an essential, urgent and exciting project of national and international significance, bringing great benefits to society. It is a necessity to avoid the catastrophic loss of up to four thousand species in our collection.

“The planning decision enables us to move forward with what is the most significant project in the Garden’s history. The need for our pioneering work has never been greater, be it through cutting-edge science, impactful education or inspiring people with the beauty and value of natural capital. Edinburgh Biomes is crucial to achieve this and the project needs the widest possible support if we are to secure our place as a leader in plant science and education, horticulture and ensure the astonishing Living Collection thrives for future generations. Edinburgh Biomes will engage people of all backgrounds and nationalities, inspiring them to be part of the protection of plant life that sustains and delights us.”