We have been redeveloping an area on the Oak lawn. A group of two cultivars of Ilex x altaclarensis have been removed, ‘Camelliifolia’ and ‘Hodgisii’; these are represented elsewhere in the collection. the Ilex aquifolium ‘Golden Queen’ has also been removed from the roadside on the South east of the Oak lawn. After some soil improvement works, lifting and relaying of turf the area is being replanted.
The new planting includes Magnolia stellata plants grown here in Edinburgh from seed collected in 2007 from a wild population in Aichi prefecture in Japan. These will provide a fantastic floral display in the spring. The Magnolia stellata is complemented with other wild origin Japanese plant material from recent collection trips including Acer micranthum, Acer shirasawanum, Stuartia serrata and Fagus crenata. Japanese Rhododendrons are also being moved from elsewhere in the collection.
We hope that the new grass path will lead people on to the lawn to walk amongst the trees. This planting aims to bring year round interest to the area and enriches the living collection by allowing us to represent new genetic material. This is important for ex situ plant conservation, research and education.
We aim to represent plants with excellent associated data and provenance. When seed is collected an accompanying herbarium specimen is also collected, the location is recorded using GPS and a description of the habitat and associated species is made. This data is stored in our database.
When this planting matures we hope that it will not only be appreciated for its floral display but also the stories that each plant can tell.