Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh launches Virtual Spring

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) has invited everyone facing home isolation to experience the joys of the season by launching its Virtual Spring, full of colour and activity.

Friday, 3rd April 2020, 5:00 pm
The closure adapted the way all staff work and they began working on virtual spring almost immediately
The closure adapted the way all staff work and they began working on virtual spring almost immediately

New online films, images of its four Gardens in bloom and daily updates are all being produced behind-the-scenes during the temporarily closure of the grandees caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Recognising how many potential visitors would miss out on time spent at RBGE following government guidelines to close its sites at Inverleith, Benmore, Logan and Dawyck, the ‘Botanics’ quickly set about arranging new forms of outreach.

Herbaceous supervisor, Kirsty Wilson, explained there was a deep desire to engage widely with members of the public during this difficult period.

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Together, constituting Scotland’s National Botanic Gardens, they hold one of the richest plant collections in the world, with more than 13,500 species.

She said: “In early spring, even the smallest bloom is a cause for celebration.

“We understand our Gardens are loved by thousands of people far and wide and it seems such as shame for everyone to miss out on the beauty of the season. So, while most of us are at home, we can still enjoy the simplest of joys: the Gardens might be closed but spring is not cancelled!”

The difficult decision to close the Gardens was taken because the health and safety of staff, students, visitors and volunteers is paramount. The closure adapted the way all staff work.

Kirsty added: “Only a very small number of horticulture staff now work in shifts to tend our world-leading collection of plants.

“They are doing a fantastic job in difficult circumstances. But, they are missing our many visitors and are keen to share the spectacular sights of the plant collection in full bloom. Now, everyone can enjoy the beauty of our Gardens from home through Virtual Spring and through our social media channels.”

Virtual Spring encompasses what is happening across the four gardens - the flagship ‘Botanics’ in Edinburgh, mountainous Benmore in Argyll; Logan, an exotic paradise in Galloway; and Dawyck, a magnificent arboretum in the picturesque Scottish Borders.

Together, constituting Scotland’s National Botanic Gardens, they hold one of the richest plant collections in the world, with more than 13,500 species, many of which are endangered or extinct in the wild.