Celebrating 350 years of plants and people

Join us for an international gathering of Botanic Gardens' Friends and Volunteers

Conference information

Who is it for?

The Conference provides an insight into the work of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and celebrates its 350 anniversary. It is open to anyone and everyone who wishes to celebrate botanic gardens. It may be of particular interest to Members, Friends and Volunteers of botanic gardens. 

Programme

Wednesday 3 June

14:00-16:00  Friends of Botanic Gardens Forum meeting, Board Room, 20a Inverleith Row (invitation only)

19:00 Black tie Gala Dinner, Gateway Restaurant (West Gate, Arboretum Place)

21:45 Finish

 

Thursday 4 June - Lecture Theatre, 20a Inverleith Row, EH3 5LR

09:00 Registration

09:15 Session 1: Treasures of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

 Speakers:           Professor Pete Hollingsworth, RBGE's Director of Science

                           Mr David Knott, RBGE's Curator of Living Collections

                           Miss Leonie Paterson, RBGE's Archivist

10:35 Coffee break

11:00 Session 2: Rewilding - Back to the Future?

  Speakers:         Professor Pete Higgins, Chair in Outdoor & Environmental Education,

                          University of Edinburgh               

                          Mr Tim Hall, Head of Estate & Programmes, The Woodland Trust Scotland

                          Mr Fergus Beely, Founder and CEO, The BLUE Campaign            

12:30 Lunch (Conference Room)

TOUR OPTION 1:

13:00 Coach tour to Dawyck Botanic Garden (departs from and returns to North Gate at RBGE on Inverleith Place approx. 18:30)

TOUR OPTION 2:

14:00 Tour of Edinburgh Garden (choice from list A)

15:15 Tea break

15:45 Tour of Edinburgh Garden (choice from list B)

17:00 Finish

 

Friday 5 June - Lecture Theatre, 20a Inverleith Row, EH3 5LR

09:00 Registration

09:15 Session 1: Edinburgh Biomes - the vision & the impact

Speakers:           Mr Simon Milne, RBGE's Regius Keeper

                          Ms Fiona Inches, RBGE's Indoor Horticulture Supervisor

10:00                Papua New Guinea: uncovering the secrets of a wild paradise

                         Dr Mark Hughes, RBGE's Begonia Systematist, Tropical Diversity

10:40 Coffee break

11:00 Session 2:  'It's what Friends are for!'

Speaker:              William Brian Atkinson, Chair, Friends of Glasgow Botanic Garden

                           'Moving and developing the University of Bristol Botanic Garden'

Speaker:              Pat Davie, Chair of Bristol Botanic Garden

                           'Join the crowd: unlocking Herbarium specimen data with Digivol'

Speaker:              Robyn Drinkwater, RBGE's Digitisation Officer                  

12:00 Commemorative Tree Planting

12:30 Lunch (Conference Room)

TOUR OPTION 1:

13:00 Coach tour to Scone Palace and Garden (departs from and returns to the North Gate at RBGE on Inverleith Place approx. 18:30)

TOUR OPTION 2:

14:00 Tour of Edinburgh Garden (choice from list A)

15:15 Tea break

15:45 Tour of Edinburgh Garden (choice from list B)

17:00 Finish

 

Saturday 6 June

07:45 Coach tour to Benmore Botanic Garden (departs from West Gate, Arboretum Place and returns to Inverleith Place approx. 19:45)

Tour Options

Coach Tours

Coach tours include coach travel, garden entry and refreshments. The coach tour to Benmore Botanic Garden also includes lunch.  Coaches to Dawyck and Scone Palace depart from and arrive back at the North Gate of RBGE on Inverleith Place. The coach to Benmore will depart from the West Gate entrance on Arboretum Place.

  • Thursday 4 June 13:00 - 18:30: Dawyck Botanic Garden
  • Friday 5 June 13:00 - 18:30: Scone Palace and Gardens
  • Saturday 6 June 07:45 - 19:45: Benmore Botanic Garden

Garden Tours

As an alternative to the coach tours to Dawyck and Scone, the Garden tours take you behind-the-scenes of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and are led by the Garden's expert guides and horticulturists. Conference attendees should choose one tour from List A and one tour from List B for each day they plan to register for the Garden tours option.  A maximum of 15 places are available on each tour and places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

List A:

  • Herbarium – discover rare plant specimens, including seed pods and leaves collected by Charles Darwin, and learn how RBGE takes care of these precious treasures.
  • Library & Archives – step back in time and journey through the history of RBGE through the Library and Archive collection of books, photographs, original artworks and letters.
  • Glasshouses – join a horticulturist for a behind-the-scenes tour of RBGE's world-famous indoor plant collection.
  • The Evolution Trail - Plants in the Garden tell stories of the earth’s evolutionary past, and offer numerous examples to help answer some critical questions. What is a species? What is the origin and significance of diversity within and between species? Why are plants of so many species self-incompatible? How is it that similar species are native on opposite sides of the world? What and when were the significant milestones of plant evolution? What is co-evolution? What are mycorrhizas and when did they evolve to play such a crucial role in our ecosystems?
  • Medicinal Plants: Past, Present and Future - this tour will include some herbs that would have been grown in the original Physic Garden, as well as the sources of more commonly known everyday drugs, including anti-cancer drugs, e.g. Taxus baccata, YEW
  • George Forrest and China - this tour will introduce you to the most prolific Scottish plant collector who plant hunted in Yunnan SW China in the early 20th century on many long trips. As a result, RBGE has one of the largest collection of Rhododendrons in the world - which have been researched here for over 100 years. He also introduced so many other wonderful plants - and fauna (which now rest in various museums). 

List B:

  • Herbarium – discover rare plant specimens, including seed pods and leaves collected by Charles Darwin, and learn how RBGE takes care of these precious treasures.
  • Library & Archives – step back in time and journey through the history of RBGE through the Library and Archive collection of books, photographs, original artworks and letters.
  • John Hope and his Botanic Cottage - this tour will reveal the significance of the Botanic Cottage, its importance during the Scottish Enlightenment, how it was saved from destruction and transported across the city, and how it functions today as a focus for the teaching and practice of horticulture and as a resource for community groups.
  • Biodiversity Tour - this tour highlights the work of RBGE studying and raising awareness of biodiversity in Scotland and abroad. It will include the Biodiversity Garden, the new Rain Garden, the Scot's Pine and the work at Beinn Eighe reserve in Wester Ross, Sweet Chestnut and the afterlife of a tree, Araucaria in the Palmhouse and threats to diversity of Araucarias in New Caledonia.
  • Meet the locals - Scotland's Flora - Scotland is famed for heather, thistles and Scots Pine. However, the Scottish flora has many more treasures, and this tour will introduce a selection of Scottish plants, some rare and endangered, and others flourishing. We will focus on their habitats, some surprising associations they form, and consider how they are coping with the pressures of climate change, and other human influences.
  • Seasonal Highlights of RBGE - this tour will take you throughout the Garden, pointing out the outstanding June plant displays, the art works and historic buildings, and recent developments.
  • Rhododendron Walk - RBGE has been the major centre for rhododendron research since the late 19th century. Around 400 (of the 1,100 species) are cultivated in the RBGE. Take a walk round the temperate collections with Dr David Chamberlain, who has spent most of his working life exploring the places where they grow wild and writing monographs of the genus. He will deal with some of the often asked questions.  Are Azaleas rhododendrons? What about hybrids? Do they arise in the wild? Why is Rhododendron ponticum such a rogue? What are the main subdivisions of Rhododendron?

Please select your preferred tour options when booking.

Registration & Prices

Opening Date for Bookings

Only the full conference and tour package is available to book at this stage.  Bookings for each of the individual conference and tour options will be available from 13 January 2020.  Places on the tours will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

Full Conference Package (includes all talks, tours, the gala dinner, teas/coffees/sandwich lunches)

Full Price £275.00

RBGE Members £255.00

To qualify for the RBGE Member discount, you must join as a member before registering for the conference.

Register

 

Planning your visit

How to get here

The conference venue is accessed through the main reception at 20a Inverleith Row, EH3 5LR.

Presentations will take place in the Lecture Theatre.

Registration and refreshments will be available in the Conference Room.

Transport

We encourage all conference delegates to walk, cycle or take the bus where possible.

  • Bus: the Garden's main reception is right next to Warriston Drive bus stop and is served by Lothian Buses 8, 23 and 27 from the City Centre.
  • Bicycle: Bicycle stands are located directly outside the main reception on Inverleith Row.
  • Electric Cars: There are two electric-car charging spaces located directly outside the main reception. To book one of these spaces please call 0131 248 2800 at least two days in advance.
  • Blue Badge Holders: There are no dedicated blue badge parking spaces outside the main reception, but there is limited street parking on Inverleith Row. Please call 0131 248 2800 if you need assistance.
  • Taxis: There is space for taxis to drop you off and pick you up directly outside the main reception. Please ensure your driver is directed to 20a Inverleith Row, as just saying 'Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh' or 'The Botanics' will drop you off at the Garden's West Gate on Arboretum Place (a 15-minute walk away). Our staff will be happy to book a taxi to pick you up from main reception at the end of each day.
  • Other vehicles: There is very limited metered on-street parking available near the Garden’s West Gate, a 15-minute walk away. You can car-share at liftshare.

Printable directions

Accommodation

Information on accommodation in Edinburgh at VisitScotland and Marketing Edinburgh.

Contact us

If you have any queries regarding the conference programme, travel or accommodation, please email friends2020@rbge.org.uk.

If you have any queries regarding registration and payment, please contact the Membership Office on 0131 552 5339 (open 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday).

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy and Non-Refundable Deposit

A full refund, less a non-refundable deposit of £25, will be made up to 1 May 2020.  No refunds will be issued after this date and no refunds will be granted for no-shows.  Places are transferrable if notified to the Membership Office by 18 May 2020.  If a member transfers their place to a non-member any supplementary fees must be paid.   Please send any information regarding cancellation via email to friends2020@rbge.org.uk or call 0131 552 5339.

In the unlikely event that the Friends of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh have to cancel or postpone an event, we will refund any pre-paid registration fees.  The Friends of RBGE shall not be liable for reimbursing the cost of travel or accommodation arrangements made by individual delegates. We strongly recommend that you purchase your own travel insurance.