Staff on an RBGE seed collecting expedition to Bhutan in 1984 were inspired to create a microcosm of the Bhutanese mountains at Benmore. Work on the glade began in 1989 using plants grown from seed collected during the expedition. This initial planting was then built upon in 2001 adding further trees and herbaceous perennials to the glade floor.
The glade is planted to invoke the changing plant life found at different altitudes as you make your way up the mountains. The first zone is the valley bottom with species like Tetracentron sinense and Populus ciliata, you then move into the pine zone dominated, as its name suggests, by Pinus wallichiana. The next is the larch zone, comprising mainly of Larix griffithiana, followed by the fir zone, which comprises of Sikkim firs (Abies densa) and Rhododendron. Juniper scrub (Juniperus pseudo-sabina and J. recurva) is the final zone. These zones are under-planted with species which are familiar to most gardeners – Rosa, Berberis, Lonicera, Cotoneaster and Spirea.
This glade will give visitors the chance to experience the wonderful rich flora of Bhutan which, in an area half the size of Scotland, has more than 5,500 species, compared to the 1,500 found in Britain. The Bhutanese glade also celebrates the ongoing relationship of RBGE with the Kingdom of Bhutan.