How to enjoy Edinburgh’s Botanic gardens from your armchair

With much of the world currently under lockdown, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE)has set up a Virtual Spring, full of colour and activity, to help people through the coronavirus pandemic.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has created 'Virtual Spring'
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has created 'Virtual Spring'

RBGE has extended a broad invitation to everyone facing home isolation and other restrictions to experience some of the joys of the season. It has produced new online films, images of its four gardens in bloom and daily updates are all being produced behind-the-scenes during the temporarily closure caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Recognising how many potential visitors would be upset when RBGE followed 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, said: “In early spring, even the smallest bloom is a cause for celebration.

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    “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.”

    She said that the difficult decision to close the gardens was taken because the health and safety of staff, students, visitors and volunteers is paramount. The closure has also changed the way all staff work.

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

    “They are doing a fantastic job in difficult circumstances.

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    “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.”

    It encompasses what is happening across the four remarkable gardens – the flagship Botanics in Edinburgh, mountainous Benmore in Argyll; Logan, an exotic paradise in Wigtownshire in the south west of Scotland; 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 and are visited annually by nearly one million people – from leading international experts to groups of excited children.

    To discover more visit Virtual Spring at rbge.org.uk/virtualspring.