This part of the Garden highlights RBGE's well-established links with China and its outstanding collection of Chinese plants. RBGE's close working relationship with China was consolidated with the creation of the Lijiang Botanic Garden and Jade Dragon Field Station.
For RBGE, it represents a long-term commitment to the conservation of this area, working closely with local communities who depend on the plants for food, shelter and medicine.
Work began on the Chinese Hillside in 1993, with the aim of providing a resource for educational, conservation and amenity purposes.
The Hillside was formally opened by HRH the Princess Royal in May 1997. The Chinese Hillside is situated on the slope to the south of Inverleith House, with breathtaking views of Edinburgh Castle. It includes winding paths, a waterfall which tumbles into a pond at the bottom, and a T'ing or traditional small pavilion, which sits on the water's edge.
The planting follows the ecological course of a hillside in the wild, with broad-leaved woodland at the lowest part, moving up through coniferous woodland and rhododendron forest, to the alpines and meadow plants of the higher altitude. While some material from earlier plant collections was used, most of the plants come from the modern collections.
The estimated 16,000 plants have been allowed to drift through the site rather than be planted in their own self-defined areas, though there are distinct conifer and rhododendron zones. Among the plants that grow here are lovely rhododendrons, various species of Cotoneaster and Sorbus with striking flowers and berries, Incarvillea, and drifts of Iris and Primula at the water's edge.
Other garden features include....
- Ecological & Cryptogamic Garden
- Glasshouse Borders
- Herbaceous Border
- Peat Walls
- Queen Mother's Memorial Garden
- Rock Garden
- Scottish Heath Garden
- Woodland Garden