Botanics Light Up Tallest Tree For Christmas

The Botanics is lighting up the tallest tree in the Garden for Christmas. Standing at nearly 100 feet tall, the Garden’s champion poplar tree will be festooned with a mix of uplighting and sparkling lights from Friday November 16. Creative design is by light artist Malcolm Innes from Dunbar, East Lothian. Making the most of the dark winter afternoons in the Garden, the tree will be lit from 1pm to 4pm every day throughout the festive season. In accordance with Garden ethos, the effect is achieved using low energy lighting.

Easily viewed from the John Hope Gateway, at the West Gate, and standing in the Biodiversity Garden, the magnificent tree Populus X Androscoggin is recorded as a Champion Tree of the UK for its height of 28 metres and girth of 296cm.  Garden Supervisor Martyn Dickson, who manages the tree collection, said: “This is a valuable opportunity to highlight one of over 90 champion trees in our collection. What you will see has taken a team of three climbers four days to complete, we have secured nearly a kilometre of LED lights into the tree. It has been an interesting challenge that has strengthened and built upon key climbing skills such as limb walking, which enabled us to get the lights as close to the branch tips as humanly possible. It also allowed the team to show off its increasing artistic flair”. 

Malcolm Innes (44) is a  lecturer and senior research fellow specialising in lighting and projection at Napier University and has been involved in numerous light art projects across Scotland and internationally, including a large-scale art installation in Glenmore Forest, using light, sound and projection. He comes to the Garden, in association with Edinburgh-based NL Productions, which is fresh from carrying out the technical installation at Perthshire’s acclaimed Enchanted Forest sound and light show.  To provide added interest to RBGE’s poplar during the daylight hours, Edinburgh-based florists Pyrus will be creating a garland of holly, Portuguese laurel and Japanese cypress  which will be wrapped around the tree’s trunk.  

The project has been made possible by sponsorship from RBGE’s caterers, Prestige Scotland. The tree will be lit until January 6.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)