If you like beautiful flowers, stunning plants or any other lush, green and leafy organisms, then the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens are the perfect place for you. It is a large public garden in which the principal types of plants are cultivated and displayed. The Botanic Gardens is a series of 4 gardens spread all over Scotland. They are locateds in Edinburgh, Benmore, Logan and Dawyck. Only the Edinburgh one has the title of 'Royal' attached to it.
Established in 1670 and referred to as the 'Botanics,' this attraction has welcomed over 660000 visitors each year. Its present location in Inverleith is not its original one as it was moved from Holyrood in 1820 where it was only set up as a physic garden, which is one for medicinal and healing purposes.
Acknowledged as a garden where the unusual and beautiful can be found, one can find 6% of all known plants here. This number might seem small, but when one thinks of the variety of plants in the world, it becomes quite impressive.
Special collections have been sent aside for the delicate and tall plants, which are housed in the Palm House that is the tallest in the United Kingdom. The Glasshouses is an opportunity to see plants from all ten-climate zones. The oldest plants are carefully tended in the Orchid and Cycad House, while the Tropical Aquatic House holds all the rainforest based plants. Not something one sees everyday. For the spectacular, go to the Peat and Rock Houses where your eyes will feast on the largest collection of Vieya Rhododendrons that are directly from New Guinea and Borneo.
In 1997, the Chinese Hillside opened to display Chinese plants that are the largest collection of native Chinese plants in cultivation. They were collected during the early 20th century and are set within a beautiful and calming setting that holds a pool of water. Related to this theme is the Rock Garden displaying rare stones, such as those from the Alps. There is also the Scottish Health Garden and Woodland Garden.
Herbals in the Herbarium
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh's Herbarium was set up in 1836. It is an organized collection of dried plants offering an easy way to examine many kinds of plants or many examples of one particular kind. Herbariums provide a valuable, permanent record of plant life. A good herbarium has many specimens of each kind of plant from the area in which it is located. If the specimens are protected from pests and moisture, specimens will last for hundreds of years, the oldest of which dates back to 1697.
The Other Botanic Gardens in Scotland
With reference to the three other Gardens:
- Benmore is in the Eachaig Valley, just north of Dunoon, and measures 150 acres in which you can find Redwoods, some as high as 130 feet (40 metres) and 250 species of rhododendrons including one from the Himalayas.
- The Logan is close to Stanraer and is reputed to be the most exotic garden in the country among which are eucalypts and is in a constant blaze of colour.
- The Dawyck is near Peebles and thanks to a 300-year-old tradition of tree planting has a stunning collection of trees, such as conifers and beeches as well as walking along trails to discover some of the special collections. The banks of the Scrape Burn turn white thanks to its snowdrops.