Seedling and dried leaflets

The beautiful bemba forest

In the forests of central Africa there is an amazing species of tree. It is called Gilbertiodendron dewevrei. Fortunately, the people who live there have shorter names for…

Autumnal beauty

In full autumn colour, the foliage of Betula papyrifera has turned a golden yellow. This native to North America is ideally situated near the east gate to catch…

Lindenberg’s Featherwort – liverwort child of the Atlantic

Geography, and particularly climate, have distinguished the extreme western parts of Scotland from the rest of the country for thousands of years. Many of our rarest plant species…

Large Tiger Hoverfly (Helophilus trivittatus)

September 2019 Garden Wildlife Report

September 2019, perhaps predictably, followed the pattern of previous months this summer. Once again it was both sunnier (141.4 hours, 129% of average) and wetter (79.4 mm, 161%…

Priority Glasshouse Works at RBGE

It seems that each year we uncover more serious deterioration of our ageing infrastructure which requires immediate action to ensure the safety of the Living Collection but also…

Too late to hoe

As herbaceous foliage dies back those weeds that were missed when cultivating through the border during the summer months reveal themselves. With mild temperatures any annuals left to…

Autumn Gentiana

Autumn is a time of change, the leaves are starting to turn shades of yellow, orange and red. However, one plant steals the show and is of significant…

Evidence, action, inspiration – how nature-based solutions help combat the climate emergency

This week (7th-13th October 2019) is Scotland’s Climate Week, which this year comes at a decisive time for our planet, its people and its biodiversity. As UN Secretary-General…

Fruit and foliage

The start of the leaf colour season. Stresses show up as early autumn colour. Where plants grow is soils of poor nutrient status or moisture deficit these are…

The final cut

As we dig deeper into autumn thoughts of the last mow of the lawn come to mind. This is the time to raise the height on the mower….

Why I love Volunteering for Microsculpture & Talking About Insect Vision

As a life-long lover of insects, I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer at the Microsulpture exhibition at the Inverleith House Gallery at the Botanics .  I had…

Silk threads but not from a Mulberry

The flowers of Dianthus superbus var. longicalycinus are delicate in composition, resembling silk threads. The plant is a short lived perennial sending flower stalks up to 180mm. These…

August 2019 Garden Wildlife Report

Summer 2019 seems to have been following a pattern, for August 2019, like July, was a month when both sunshine (201.7 hours, 179% of average) and rainfall (140.8…

The scent of Onions

The disadvantage of Tulbaghia violacea is the ever present smell of onions lingering around the planting. This gets worse in wet weather, the force of raindrops bruising the…

July 2019 Garden Wildlife Report

July 2019 has been described as the warmest globally on record. It was also a warm month at the Botanics, due in part to an intense heatwave in…

A frosty reception

The real detail of Inula hookeri is the unfurling flower bud. A late flowering gem of Himalayan vegetation it resembles a swirl of frosted ice with the yellow…

Yew trees, the Canaries and a Darwinian Connection in a Perthshire Churchyard

The kirkyard at Fortingall in Perthshire has, for several centuries, been a magnet for tourists with an arboricultural bent – for the sake of its ancient yew. This…

RBGE’s World War Two Memorial

Situated beneath the Memorial to the members of staff at RBGE who gave their lives during the First World War is a smaller, but no less poignant memorial…

From Indonesia to Edinburgh – An orchids story

In a cloud forest on the Indonesian island of Seram an orchid was collected during an expedition led by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 1986. The living…

The first fallers – signs of autumn

The Gentians are flowering, the first apples have fallen and beneath the mass of foliage Nasturtium seed pods are to be found. All coinciding with the end of…