Botanic gardens to open with lights at night

: Twilight becomes the Glasshouse at the Botanics, home to a pioneering project. Picture: comp
: Twilight becomes the Glasshouse at the Botanics, home to a pioneering project. Picture: comp
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In a first for the Botanics, visitors are to be allowed into the attraction after dark thanks to plans for a light-based collaboration between its experts and a duo of independent artists.

Called Night in the Garden, the show – created by Botanics staff, Edinburgh-based Unique Events, Scots artist Malcolm Innes and his colleague Euan Winton – will use a combination of light and shadow to illuminate the beauty of some of the world’s rarest and most precious plant species.

Heather Jackson, the garden’s director of enterprise, said: “This is a chance for those who know and love the garden, as well as new visitors of course, to see it in a completely different light – quite literally.

“We have over 700,000 daytime visitors a year and we are often asked if it’s possible to come at night, so we thought we’d come up with something unique to create a truly enchanting experience. The planned light installations by Malcolm promise to be spectacular.”

Organisers said the outdoor trail would use a number of the garden’s best-known features – including the famous Victorian glasshouses and pond – as the backdrop for a series of light effects. Visitors will be able to watch a specially created “sun” set inside the garden’s Palm House, see a host of sparkling lights suspended over water and enjoy illuminations that bring the indoors outside.

They will also help create their own light show by manipulating some of the installations independently.

Mr Innes said: “The garden at night is already a magical place, as some of the most recognisable features softly merge into the darkness. It is this new reality that we will be manipulating to create installations that span the range from grand spectacle, through romantic and beautiful, to mysterious and tiny.”

He added: “The kind of hard-edged, simplified geometry we learn at school is seldom discussed in relation to the natural world, but when the two are brought together, the visual effect can be magical.”

Pete Irvine of Unique Events said: “Unique Events is delighted to be involved in this exciting and innovative project.

“The Botanics is one of Edinburgh’s best-loved places to visit in any season, but we will never have experienced it like this.”

Night in the Garden starts on October 30 and runs until November 23, with tickets due to go on sale soon.