Storm Ali wreaks havoc at Scotland’s leading Botanic Gardens
Storm Ali caused damage at all four sites of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) as it tore through Scotland yesterday reaching wind speeds of up to 102mph.
Staff at the four Gardens – Inverleith in Edinburgh; Dawyck, near Peebles in the Scottish Borders; Benmore in Argyllshire and Logan in Dumfries & Galloway – are now busy assessing the damage and removing fallen trees, branches and debris left in the wake of the storm.
A major clear up of broken glass was underway at the Edinburgh Garden’s Glasshouses and Research Houses after 40 panes were blown out of their frames. The Glasshouses will remain closed to the public until repairs have been carried out.
Outdoors, the horticultural team is busy dealing with fallen trees and branches. A Juglans regia, sometimes called English or Persian walnut, close to Inverleith House, was felled by 51mph winds. A Populus yunnanensis (Yunnan poplar) growing near the Chinese Hillside was snapped in half.
The Garden was closed to visitors and staff around mid-morning yesterday in anticipation of Storm Ali’s arrival. It is expected to remain closed until later today so staff can carry out the necessary safety checks and clear pathways.
David Knott, Curator of the Living Collection at Edinburgh, said: “Although the damage was significant, Garden staff are busy undertaking a clear up of fallen trees and branches. Unfortunately, our Glasshouses will have to remain closed until the missing panes are replaced.’’
Dawyck Botanic Garden at Stobo, near Peebles in the Scottish Borders, home to some of Britain’s oldest and tallest trees, is closed to visitors today because of a power cut. The electricity supply is not expected to be reinstated until late afternoon or early evening.
Staff at the 65-acre woodland Garden are assessing damage and clearing debris in the wake of Storm Ali.
Benmore Botanic Garden, near Dunoon, is also closed today to allow for the clearing debris and removal of damaged branches. Four large trees were brought down by the storm and many others damaged. Aerial work is underway to remove hanging branches.
Logan Botanic Garden near Stranraer, was the first to be hit by the storm as it ripped across the Irish Sea into the South West tip of Scotland. Specimens which earn Logan the reputation as “Scotland’s most exotic Garden’’ have been affected. Numerous large eucalypts were blown over including a UK champion, a Wollemi pine was snapped off and the Garden’s largest Wollemi pine has been badly damaged. A number of tree fuchsias were blown out of the ground and the Garden’s grassed areas have been left covered with leaves and small branches.
Although staff at Logan are busy clearing up today, the Garden is open to visitors.
For further information or images call Sandra Donnelly on 0131 248 1037/07554115908 or Shauna Hay on 0131 248 2900.
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) is a leading international research organisation delivering knowledge, education and plant conservation action around the world. In Scotland its four Gardens at Edinburgh, Benmore, Logan and Dawyck attract around a million visitors each year. It operates as a Non Departmental Public Body established under the National Heritage (Scotland) Act 1985, principally funded by the Scottish Government. It is also a registered charity, managed by a Board of Trustees appointed by Ministers. Its mission is “To explore, conserve and explain the world of plants for a better future”.
Learn more: www.rbge.org.uk
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