Benmore horticulturists return from fieldtrip to British Columbia
Benmore horticulturists Neil McCheyne and David Gray have just returned from a fieldtrip to British Columbia during which they collected valuable seed and plant material to aid with conservation and research programmes.
Neil (52), who is Garden Supervisor at Benmore Botanic Garden, near Dunoon, and his Senior Horticulturist colleague David (50), were joined on the three week trip by Robert Jamieson of Howick Hall Gardens, Northumberland.
During their 2,000 mile trip their main focus was on conifers, and they successfully collected seed from a variety of species including the grand Fir, Abies grandis and mountain hemlock, Tsuga mertensiana. The resultant plants will be used to complement and expand collections at Benmore and the other three Gardens of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).
Neil explained: “During our trip to British Columbia we travelled on the mainland including the Sunshine and Gulf Coasts, as well as other areas such as Texada Island, Denman Island and Vancouver Island, so we collected in areas with varying climates and topography. That means that plants from the seed we collected will grow better in certain areas than others, so it will be interesting to discover which plants suit which of RBGE’s four sites.’’
The team collected alpine material which will be used to complement the world-famous alpine collections at the Edinburgh Garden. Neil and David also brought back dried plant specimens for RBGE’s Herbarium Collection and took conifer samples for DNA analysis.
Neil, who has previously carried out fieldwork in Russia, Turkey, Nepal and China, said he had contacted the University of British Columbia Botanic Garden prior to the trip and that the assistance the group had received from them had been outstanding. He said colleagues from the university had accompanied them on the field trip to pinpoint good collecting sites and also helping with identifying plants not familiar to them. Also, in many places they visited they were given overnight accommodation by Friends of the University. Neil said the experience underscored the importance of collaboration between different institutions and how effective working together was a two-way stream with all partners benefitting.
Neil will be giving a talk about the trip to British Columbia following a guided winter walk at the Garden on Thursday, 16 February. Visit www.rbge.org.uk/benmore for further details.
Similar news stories
Fri 1st Oct 2021
The Duke and The Duchess of Rothesay visit Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to mark 350th Anniversary
Fri 3rd Sep 2021
Signing on the line for plant conservation in Chile
Thu 26th Aug 2021
Botanics puts sea greens back on the menu
Wed 18th Aug 2021
DNA detectives solve the riddle of clever crows and crafty tools
Browse through our diverse range of formal and informal education programmes for people of all ages and at all levels
Books at the Botanics
RBGE publishes a range of books inspired by the Garden's work and collections
Knowledge Exchange links the research community with others.
Searchable Resource Centres
View our selection of searchable resource centres.
Check our latest news and connect with our experts
Find the ideal venue for your corporate event
Find out how you can support our work at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.