The Duke and The Duchess of Rothesay visit Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to mark 350th Anniversary
One year after the global pandemic wrecked celebrations for its 350th anniversary year, the value of science, conservation, education and community engagement at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) has been recognised during a visit today (October 1) by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and The Duchess of Rothesay.
Greeted by Dominic Fry, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Regius Keeper Simon Milne MBE, the first stop was the historic Botanic Cottage. In the great botanical teaching room of the Scottish Enlightenment, Their Royal Highnesses met key science staff and heard news of current research and forthcoming initiatives addressing the impact of the biodiversity crisis and climate emergency.
Out in the Garden, The Duke and The Duchess chatted with local people whose health and wellbeing has been seen to benefit from spending time with nature. They also spoke to staff and volunteers responsible for delivering a range of activities aimed at encouraging the wider community to engage with the environment.
The last time His Royal Highness, Patron of RBGE, was joined at the Garden by Her Royal Highness was in 2006 for the opening of the Queen Mother’s Memorial Garden. Today, Their Royal Highnesses received updates on plans to rejuvenate the area for a new generation of visitors.
The Duke and The Duchess also had an opportunity to learn more about the imminent start of the Edinburgh Biomes project to restore the Garden’s A-Listed public Glasshouses and replace the aging research houses.
Before leaving, Their Royal Highnesses met horticultural staff and students and heard about new plant health initiatives, conservation horticulture and rhododendron conservation. Finally, a year on from the Garden’s 350th anniversary, they planted a young Sorbus pallescens from China to mark the historic event.
Commenting on the success of the visit, Simon Milne said it had provided a valuable opportunity to explain the diversity of the organisation and the experiences of some of those people with whom it engages: “The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh means many different things to different people. The one million visitors we welcome to our four magnificent Gardens each year come to discover 13,500 species of plants from around the globe. Increasingly, many are also discovering how being in a green space can bring real benefits to their physical and mental wellbeing. Yet, behind the beauty and tranquillity of our Gardens, is a world-class scientific institute and a centre of excellence for plant conservation and education. For those of us who work here, it is all these things. We are privileged to be part of one of the world’s finest and most respected botanic gardens and it has been an honour to share some of our stories with The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay.”
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