Fundraising page set up to fix storm damage at Edinburgh Botanics

The ROYAL Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RGBE) has launched a fundraising page to pay for damage caused when Storm Ali swept through the city.

Wednesday, 3rd October 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd October 2018, 8:42 am

Staff at the attraction are still assessing how much it will cost to fix the uprooted trees and smashed panes of the historic glasshouses that were the victims of the severe weather on Wednesday, September 19 that caused up to £100,000 worth of damage.

David Knott, curator of the living collections, said: “We’re still quantifying the total cost of the damage. We have more trees to dig out and more work to tidy up. Then we’ll have stump removal.

“We’re hoping that by the end of October everything will be back to normal but we’re anticipating winter.

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Workmen repair the glass damaged in the research houses.

“We are on a climate change journey and this is the impact of climate change.”

He has estimated the cost of repairs to be somewhere between £50,000 and £100,000 and told the Evening News that the JustGiving page was set up after the generosity of the Edinburgh people after “catastrophic” winds in January 2012. He said: “Staff were struck by the outpouring of support to the garden. People really wanted to help the next generation of plants.

“People walk through the gardens today and the plants and trees were planted by our forbears long ago.”

The glasshouses suffered damage to at least 40 panes of glass, while two important specimen trees were blown over and hundreds of large and small branches fell.

Mr Knott said that while the tree losses were not large in number they were significant: “A couple of the trees are very important to us as specimen trees and have a particular poignancy to individuals.”

The damage occurred as winds at the garden – which attracts nearly 1 million visitors per year – reached up to 51 miles per hour.

The JustGiving page is raising funds for the four RGBE sites across Scotland: Inverleith in Edinburgh; Dawyck, near Peebles in the Scottish Borders; Benmore in Argyllshire and Logan in Dumfries & Galloway.

Mr Knott said that the storm had caused more damage than usual due to the age of the panes in the glasshouses and that the deciduous trees were in full leaf. He said: “The trees were in full leaf which increases the surface area. We would expect less damage on trees with no leaves.”

The public display glasshouse and the research houses were damaged in the high winds but there were no injuries. Repairs were carried out as quickly as possible in a bid to stop any the plants within being affected.

Mr Knott said: “It was quite complicated as they were working at height to repair and the research houses had to be worked on from the outside. It’s a super critical time for the plants in the glasshouses at this time of year. We’re only the custodians on behalf of the people of the city.”

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