Summer at Dawyck
Conifer conservation horticulture, family fungi fun and thoughts of a spectacularly colourful autumn ahead are some of the diverse preoccupations at Dawyck Botanic Garden, near Peebles, this month.
It might be a popular visitor destination but that doesn’t stop some extreme horticulture (pic) as was the case when a sizeable Abies koreana (Korean fir) needed to be moved.
“As home to an internationally-important tree collection, we spend a considerable amount of time on arboreal tasks,” explained Curator Graham Stewart. “The tree in question, an Abies koreana or Korean fir, is one of a very handsome species occurring naturally in the higher mountains of South Korea at altitudes of around 1500 m. It is considered ‘at risk’ on the conservation register.
“The reason it was moved dates back to an error during propagation when it was mislabelled. It had then been planted out along with its ‘friends’ but in time turned out to be the odd one out. In order to clear up the issue of it being in the wrong place we took the decision to move it somewhere more appropriate. It appears quite happy in its new home. Visitors seem to enjoy watching this kind of activity and it is a great way to start conversations about what we do and why we do it.”
As summer moves towards autumn, at the site tagged as “a Garden for all seasons”. September is traditionally the time for a Fungi Foray. Sunday, September 16 is the diary date to join mycologist Neville Kilkenny, an expert in the distinct kingdom of fungi, a realm closer to animals than plants. He will explain where to look for different species, characteristics to learn - and what to avoid. The foray runs from 14:00 – 16:00 and costing £4 tickets must be booked in advance on 01721 760 254 as places are limited: there is not mushroom.
Meanwhile, in the comfort of The Studio from Friday, August 12 until Friday, November 30, Out of the Ark into the Woods, is a new exhibition by local artist Poppy Browne. Typically taking her inspiration from nature, in this exhibition Poppy employs felt and paint to explore the woodland and the world of animals.
Typically, the final days of the season can be some of Dawyck’s busiest as the Garden truly comes into its own. Graham Stewart added: “In autumn the trees really are a draw to this Garden. Fruits take on an abundance of shapes, colours and textures and leaves develop rich tones from the brightness of the Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch), with its medicinal smelling leaves to the foxy red-brown of the beeches. Many visitors are tempted by the chance of experiencing the distinct candy floss scent of the Cercidiphyllum japonicum while most children are on the lookout for conkers lying beneath the sprawling horse chestnuts (Aesculus hippocastanum).”
Finally, for anyone snapping away from Peebles to Penrith or Perth, Australia, Dawyck is promoting one fundraiser that doesn’t require a trip to the Garden, although it could certainly help. With its mission of exploring, conserving and explaining the world of plants for a better future, RBGE places importance on encouraging greater public engagement with nature. From now until the end of October, the rallying call is to take your camera out and about – wherever you are - and send the results for entry in a prestigious new photography competition.
Entries are being sought for the Friends of RBGE Photography Competition 2018. With seven categories ranging from Plant Portrait and Abstract to Young Photographer, for under 17-year-olds, there are no geographic boundaries.
With a top prize of £1,000 and category wins of £250, the competition is being supported by Brewin Dolphin, Bonaccord and Jessops. Its aim is to attract amateur and professional photographers whether or not they already know RBGE and its work.
The 2018 Photography Competition is now open for entries and runs until October 31. All funds raised will be used to support the Garden's world-class research and horticulture conservation work in Britain and in more than 35 countries around the world. As well as the top prize of £1000 and Individual Category Prizes of £250, all shortlisted entries will appear in an exhibition at RBGE’s Edinburgh site in early 2019 and there will be opportunities for winning entries to be part of RBGE’s 350th anniversary year calendar in 2020 as well as images being transferred into canvasses by Jessops. To enter and find all terms and conditions visit http://www.rbge.org.uk/whats-on/photocomp
For further information, interviews or images, please contact: Shauna Hay on +44 (0)131 248 2900/07824529028
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