The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh’s (RBGE’s) Montane and Wet Tropics Glasshouses, which suffered extensive damage during the New Year storms, are re-opening to the public tomorrow (Saturday, 25 February).
On 3 January 2012 the RBGE experienced some of the most destructive winds in memory that resulted in the loss of 34 trees, over 500 panes of glass and significant structural damage to the Glasshouses.
The Montane and Wet Tropics Glasshouses were the worst hit in the public Glasshouse range. However, after considerable effort from Glasshouse, Horticulture and Estates Management staff these glasshouses have been deemed safe to re-open to the public tomorrow.
Indoor supervisor, Fiona Inches said: “While the glasshouses have been repaired the plant material will take a little longer to recover. Some plants like the Philodendron are slowly recovering from the effect of low temperatures which damaged the leaves turning them brown. Others like the Fittonia have completely defoliated both from the cold temperatures and the drought due to staff being unable the access the Glasshouse, but the stems look healthy and green we are confident they will recover. Some of the gingers have died back to their underground stems and it has yet to be seen if they have enough remaining energy to push up new shoots.’’
The Montane Tropics House represents the mountain regions of South-East Asia from Borneo to Indonesia and the island of New Guinea – home to the world’s richest diversity of Vireya rhododendrons.
A case containing carnivorous plants is another popular attraction in the House – especially with children.
The Wet Tropics House has displays from RBGE’s specialist studies including the large collection of gingers, the Zingiberaceae. All species of the family have leaves that contain aromatic oils and the family includes culinary plants such as turmeric and cardamom as was as the familiar ginger Zingiber officinale.
Gesneriaceae is another large and extremely diverse family represented here, which includes African violets and the Cape primrose.
Glasshouses open daily at 10am and close:
November to January: 3.30pm (last admission 3pm)
February & October: 4.30pm (last admission 4pm)
March to September: 5.30pm (last admission 5pm)
Entrance to the Garden is free, but admission to the Glasshouses costs: Adult £4.50; Concession £3.50; Child £1; Family £9.