What we do

"Exploring and explaining the world of plants for a better future". 

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) was founded in the 17th century as a physic garden, growing medicinal plants. This first Garden was in St Anne's Yard, part of the Holyrood Palace grounds, and occupied an area the size of a tennis court.

RBGE now extends to four sites - Edinburgh, Benmore (near Dunoon in Argyll), Dawyck (near Peebles in the Borders) and Logan (near Stranraer in Galloway), and is the second richest collection of plant species in the world. 

Since the 19th century it has received public funding, and it is now sponsored by the Scottish Government's Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS). The Garden's remit and mission is rooted in the National Heritage (Scotland) Act 1985.

Into the Botanics video - introducing the work of RBGE

The Garden is first and foremost a scientific institution, dedicated to discovering and describing plants and their relationships, evolution, conservation and biology. This research is underpinned by the Garden's internationally important collections of living and preserved plants, a large specialist Library, and by modern well-equipped laboratories.  

The four Gardens are also major tourist attractions within Scotland, providing inspiration and relaxation to visitors from all over the world.

  • At Edinburgh, the grounds feature the world-famous Rock Garden, peat and woodland gardens, colourful herbaceous borders, large and well-stocked Glasshouses and several specialist collections such as the Chinese Hillside.
  • Benmore, with its milder oceanic climate, grows trees and shrubs from high rainfall areas, especially conifers and rhododendrons.
  • Dawyck is particularly suitable for hardy plants from the world's cooler, drier areas.
  • Logan, Scotland's most exotic garden, has an almost sub-tropical climate, and provides ideal growing conditions for southern hemisphere plants.

Education is a major part of our work, and is inclusive of all ages and stages, from casual visitors to botany students, and from small children to senior citizens. Formal education courses include the teaching and supervision of horticultural and postgraduate botanical research students. We also run an inspiring programme of events and exhibitions for all interest and age groups. 

Working in the Glasshouses

Working in the research glasshouses at Edinburgh

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