Royal Botanic Garden announces 350th anniversary events in 2020

Highlights include an expedition to Papua New Guinea.

Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 5:00 pm

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) has announced a year-long programme of events and activities to mark its 350th anniversary.

Many events will focus on the climate crisis and global loss of biodiversity.

Highlights include an expedition to Papua New Guinea in August, as well as a ‘Big Botanics Birthday Party’ in June and a Gala Concert in October.

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The Victorian Temperate Palm House at the Royal Botanic Garden.

The four-week Papua New Guinea expedition in august will aim to discover and record new species of plants and insects and monitor biodiversity with DNA sequencing.

The RBGE will work in partnership with the New Guinea Forest Research Institute and the National Museum of Scotland on the expedition.

The Big Botanics Garden Party on Sunday June 14 will feature music, dance, food and a large birthday cake.

The RBGE will collaborate with Dunedin Consort to perform music celebrating nature at the Nature’s Voice Gala Concert on October 10.

The concert, held at the Queen’s Hall, will feature works including Telemann’s Water Music and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Other events to be held throughout the year include the opening of the Garden of Tranquility in June, a new area within the RBG to provide a safe, peaceful and sensory space for visitors with dementia and their carers.

The RBGE will also exhibit in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Discovery Zone in May, showing how its work will help secure the future of the world’s plants.

In the last of the events announced, scientists will discuss the biodiversity crisis from a botanical perspective at the Halting Plant Extinction debate on November 26.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh was founded in 1670 by two doctors, Andrew Balfour and Robert Sibbald, who established a garden near the Palace of Holyroodhouse to supply plants for medicinal purposes.

In 1675 the garden moved to a larger site at Trinity Hospital, the current site of Waverley Station, before moving to Leith Walk in 1763.

It stayed there until 1820, when it was moved to its current location in Inverleith.

Regius Keeper Simon Milne MBE said: “We live in unprecedented times as we face the twin and related challenges of the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.

“All known life depends on plants, yet one in five species is threatened with extinction.

“The breadth, depth and worldwide reach of the Botanics places it, and Scotland, at the forefront of efforts to further understand and conserve plants and fungi.

He added: “The Botanics is a treasured national and international institution thanks to the inspired work of so many people over the centuries.

“I am delighted to invite everyone to help us celebrate this anniversary.”

Professor Pete Hollingsworth, Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, added: “During our 350th year, we will continue to work towards a deeper understanding of plants and fungi, with a major focus on understanding the diversity and distribution of species, the threats they are facing, and how best to conserve biodiversity in the face of large scale environmental change.”