Botanic Garden clear-up is boosted by Government aid

From left to right : Prof. Stephen Blackmore, Regius Keeper, Dr. David Rae, Director of Horticulture, Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead, Sir Muir Russell, Chairman of the Trustees, David Knott, Curator of the Living Collection

As clear-up operations continue to make good the storm-lashed grounds of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), the Scottish Government has announced funding of £128,183 to help tackle urgent repair costs across the organisation’s four sites.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead explained: “The storms that hit Scotland recently - with the strongest winds for a generation – caused severe damage to many homes and buildings throughout Scotland, including Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden.

“As well as seeing trees uprooted, the damage to the Glasshouses at the Botanics has left the priceless collections they contain at risk of being destroyed or damaged by the elements. That’s why the Scottish Government has stepped in with an additional £128,000 grant to help the Botanics to repair the storm damage as a matter of urgency.”

Sir Muir Russell, recently appointed Chairman of Trustees for RBGE, welcomed the boost during such an immensely challenging period for the organisation: “The prompt action being taken by the Scottish Government is heartening”, he said. “Everyone at RBGE is extremely grateful for this additional funding, which will be an enormous help in continuing the urgent work to begin to restore our four Gardens. The clear-up, repair and replanting will obviously take a considerable time, but this decisive action takes away a great deal of uncertainty and allows us to plan positively for the weeks and months ahead.

 

“I am also grateful for the generosity of so many friends and supporters who have already responded to our appeal fund. It is uplifting to witness so many individuals rallying round to support one of Scotland’s unique assets. The fund is ongoing and we continue to welcome donations via our website at www.rbge.org.uk or by calling the Development Team on 0131 248 2855. Every donation, no matter how small, will help to ensure the Gardens can recover from the extensive damage sustained in the storm of January 3”.

 

The money will be used to tackle the consequences of the 100mph+ gales. Critical wide-ranging needs include glass replacement and repairs to the Glasshouses in Edinburgh, as well as Horticultural equipment and staff overtime costs at the Inverleith site and at Benmore, on the Cowal Peninsula; Logan, in Dumfries & Galloway and Dawyck, in the Scottish Borders. While the Edinburgh Garden has continued to welcome the public, work is ongoing to make safe the Regional Gardens for the start of their 2012 seasons.

 As clearance work continues, the Garden’s Senior Management team is progressing with a longer-term strategy which will bring into account both future-proofing the safety of the Edinburgh Glasshouses against severe weather conditions and major planting programmes across all four sites.

For more information contact Shauna Hay on 0131 248 2900 or Sandra Donnelly on 0131 248 1037


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