Four Gardens battered by Storms Isha and Jocelyn
The impact of unusually severe winter storms brought damage to all four Gardens last week, as trees were blown down and debris was scattered across the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), Benmore in Argyll, Logan in Dumfries & Galloway and Dawyck in the Scottish Borders.
At Edinburgh, the anemometer used to measure wind speed and direction, recorded gusts of up to 70 miles per hour – the highest speeds logged since the device was installed in 2019 and likely to be the strongest since the massive storms of 2012. Winds forced the closure of the Garden on Monday 22 and Wednesday 24 January, nearly halving the number of visitors expected at this time of year.
While a silver birch tree (Betula pendula) near the John Hope Gateway building was brought down by Storm Isha, only a few days later, the root plate of a magnificent cypress (Cupressus torulosa) was lifted from the ground by Storm Jocelyn. Although the tree will not survive and is being removed by experts from the Garden’s Horticulture team, other specimens from the same accession are now being propagated as replacements.
Image: Lifed root plate of Cupressus torulosa
The Glasshouses also saw damage, with around 20 panes of glass blown out, leaving the Living Collection, much of which requires tropical conditions, vulnerable to the weather. The impact reinforces the desperate need for the restoration and replacement of the ageing Glasshouses, part of the organisation’s Edinburgh Biomes development project.
At Dawyck, fourteen trees from the Living Collection were affected, with whole tops taken out of a magnificent Siberian spruce (Picea obovata) and a Quercus petrea. The team now faces a massive task of clearing up damage and debris before the Garden reopens to the public on Thursday 1 February.
Further west at Benmore, several mature trees were brought down, and the Garden was left without power. Logan saw minimal damage on this occasion.
Staff at all four Gardens continue to assess damage caused by Storms Isha and Jocelyn, with the clear-up expected to take a considerable number of weeks.
By supporting our Storm Damage Recovery Fund, you can help us to respond quickly and effectively to incidents of extreme weather at our Gardens. Please consider donating today.Make a Donation
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