Plans for the rehanging of the historic Golden Gates, creation of a Chilean Viewpoint Refuge and reinvention of the Formal Garden were just some of the plans discussed when Benmore Botanic Garden Curator Peter Baxter welcomed Simon Milne MBE, recently appointed Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), to the organisation’s world-class west coast site.
During a busy two-day visit Milne also met staff, attended a meeting of the Younger (Benmore) Trust and undertook extensive familiarisation walks through the Garden, calling in at its busy café and shop along the way. While debating public-facing aspects of the Garden, such the benefits brought by the restoration of the Victorian Fernery and aspirations for a new visitor hub, the Regius Keeper and Curator also tackled requirements for behind the scenes issues, ranging from buildings maintenance to health and safety procedures.
As part of the wider organisation Benmore – the first Regional Garden, having been gifted to the nation in 1925 - is not only a major visitor attraction in the area, it also plays a pivotal role in the international scientific and horticultural research and conservation work of RGBE.
“Benmore is a dramatic Garden, in a dramatic setting”, Simon Milne commented at the end of his visit. “It is a plant collection of enormous scientific, horticultural and cultural significance, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to not only explore and learn about the Garden and its collection, but also to work with the outstanding team of staff and volunteers who make the Garden what it is. Benmore is a Garden of the past, present and future and I am privileged to be able to play a role in ensuring that it continues to inspire current and future generations and to be a wonderful example of Scotland’s priceless botanical heritage”.