Moving our Living Collection
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is home to some of the world’s rarest and most threatened plants, with a third of the collection growing in the Glasshouses. To safeguard this globally important plant collection, the celebrated Grade A Listed public Glasshouses are currently closed for major restoration as part of the Edinburgh Biomes project.
Preparations for the project began in Spring 2021 with a team of dedicated horticulturists decanting an incredible forty thousand plants, including significantly sized trees, from in and around the network of Glasshouses. Watch the short film below to hear more about the scale of the project and the intricate work of decanting and protecting the plants.
The Living Collection Decant
- Read video transcript
Video Transcript Time Description 00:00:08,960 --> 00:00:34,720 [David Knott] I'm David Knott, curator of the living collections here at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. The living collection of the Royal Botanic Garden currently comprises some 13,500 species, 130,000 plants. And we have a number of plants that are rare threatened, endangered and even extinct in the wild. So the significance of the plant collection, not just to Scotland, but to the world is of immense importance. 00:00:38,800 --> 00:00:53,920 [Sadie Barber] During this project, we are moving approximately 40,000 plants. Realistically, we haven't ever tackled something quite on this scale in such a short time frame in our whole 350 year existence. 00:00:57,200 --> 00:01:11,240 [David Knott] Currently, what we have planned is a massive plant decant programme that means that we're moving plants both physically moving and removing plants from each of the glasshouses in turn in advance of any construction work. 00:01:14,720 --> 00:01:54,920 [Simon Allan] Initially we started off by removing all the very small plants that we had in here, so we started off right at the bottom and lifted all the little things. And we've kind of worked our way up in size. We've had to tweak that on the ground and make decisions on the spot as to practical decisions about how and where and why. But unfortunately, some of the things won't be able to be moved for logistical reasons of size and scale and also the chances of these things being able to survive. So we're prioritising things that we know stand a good chance of surviving the process so that we can show them to the public again when the restoration is finished. 00:01:56,200 --> 00:02:21,360 [Sadie Barber] For me, the Edinburgh biomes project really is the living plant collection decant, and that is because everything we're doing for the Edinburgh Biomes all relates back to the plants. The project itself is a seven year project, but actually for horticulture, this project is taking us closer to 10 years because of all the pre-work that's happened. 00:02:24,720 --> 00:02:39,440 [David Knott] What the biomes programme in this massive restoration and rebuild of glasshouses will ensure that we have glasshouses that we are able to cultivate the indoor living plant collection for future generations over the forthcoming years.
- Restoring the Palm Houses
- Fighting plant disease
- Generating heat and power
- Edinburgh Biomes: Latest News
- Saving the Tree Ferns
- Protecting endangered species
- Meet the teams who are saving the Glasshouses
- Celebrating the Sabal palm
- Communicating the world of plants
- Restoring the Palm Houses - part II
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