Garden visit: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

After visiting Logan Botanic Garden in Dumfries and Galloway, it was quite a change to a week later visit the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. The weather was quite different for a start. At some times it was hard to tell what was snow from cherry petals and what was snow from the sky; we had both, often at the same time. I was visiting Edinburgh garden for quite a different reason. About 10 or so years ago we visited Edinburgh and this was when I first came across alpine or rock garden plants, and fell in love with these dainty but very hardy delights. So this was a return visit to their wonderful Rock Garden.

To get to the Rock Garden you have to go through other parts of the garden, and this was no trial. In fact we kept being stopped by beautiful trees, flowers and foliage. Here are some we found…

Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Corstorphinense’, glowing against the snowy clouds.

Pyrus korshinskyi, the Kazhak Pear, out competing the clouds with pure white flowers.

Amelanchier Canadensis. I kept coming across Amelanchier varieties with their pure white flowers and gorgeous bronze leaves. I have decided that this is a must for my garden. I have just the place for it, but will wait until Autumn now before purchasing and planting it.

Magnolia cylindrica. Yes, between the snowflakes and biting winds we also got moments of clear blue sky. Good old Spring.

A mix of Willows, Rhodendron’s and a prunus (right). This was the one that snowed on us quite a bit.

Then into the Rock Garden. The Rock Garden is quite splendid and I don’t think my photos do it justice. But hopefully it gives you an idea of the scale of the site, and the extent of plants found within it.

I could have spent hours and hours walking through it and noting down every plant that attracted my attention. Here’s a few that I became particularly taken with.

Pulsatilla montana

Pulsatila albana

Pulsatilla regeliana. In case it isn’t yet obvious, I adore Pulsatillas.

Saxifraga andrewsii

Alchemilla speciosa

And for a first for me, a Rhododendron. I’m not a big fan of Rhodos, particularly after seeing the habitat destruction they made in Galway, but I think I just might be turned by the alpine-type, which seem to have a less invasive habit.

This is Rhodendron Obtusum grex (Section Tsutsusi).

As well as the Rock Garden, there is an Alpine House and Courtyard in another part of the garden. So after a rest at lunchtime, we made a beeline for it.

There is a new slate wall.

This contained some treats such as this Saxifraga longifolia var aitanica.

And then there was the new Tufa wall!

The Tufa Wall is under cover at the moment, with an outside alpine area next to it.

It will obviously take some time for the Tufa Wall to be colonised by the alpines, however it already has more alpine treats that I’d like, such as Paraquilegia anemonoides:

Primula bracteata x dubernardiana

Daphne petraea ‘Garnet’

Primula marginata

In the Courtyard and Glasshouse area…

Lithodora diffusa ‘Picos’

Daphne gnidium

And the oh-so-delicate Primula obtusiloba ‘Pradesh’.

In the Alpine Glasshouse itself, the plants had to be viewed behind a wire cage. I asked a staff member about this and it turns out they had to put it up, as many of the plants are rare and they would otherwise get stolen. I despair at the idea of other plant-lover stealing plants. Seriously, it’s not ok. What is wrong with these people?

I could view the plants and was able to photograph some. This is Fritillaria whitallii.

Narcissus fernandesii

Thalictrum orientale

Back outside again.  The serrated leaves of Synthyris missurica ssp stellata. And it’s flower.

Another Pulsatilla. *Pulsatilla love*  This one is Pulsatilla turczaninovii.

This is it’s amazing seed head.

Wow, this was a lot of beauty poured into these little plants. As this is already lots of pictures, I shan’t go on any longer. To be honest, by this point I was pretty tired, even with having used a mobility scooter and wheelchair thoughout much of the day*. There is just so much to see at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, it really is a wonderful place. It still has the best Rock Garden I’ve ever seen and yes, I’m still in love with Alpines. But I’m guessing that’s kind of obvious, huh.  😉

View towards the Glasshouses, which I didn’t have the energy visit, but there is always next time.

*Accessability: as with Logan, much of the Edinburgh garden is wheelchair accessible and there are a lot of seats. They too have wheelchairs and mobility scooters available which you can borrow. I used a scooter for part of the visit and a wheelchair later (all the scooters were hired out!) and again this enabled me to see more of the site that I would have done otherwise.

5 thoughts on “Garden visit: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh”

  1. There are some real gems there, it looks like a wonderful garden to visit. What struck me most was how far ahead the garden seems to be compared to here, the city effect no doubt even with it being so much farther north.

  2. What a difference a couple of weeks make. The rock gardens and alpine house etc was quite dormant when I visited but was still a good day out. I loved the Tufa wall. The RBGE is a real asset to our city and I am glad you enjoyed your visit Julieanne. Good old Edinburgh weather – it's like that most days. We often comment that we only get 1 day of summer a year 🙂

  3. Some wonderful plants…love the variety of Pulsatillas. It will be interesting to see how things develop on the tufa wall. Hadn't seen Primula obtusiloba 'Pradesh' before…As you note, what a delcate beauty… Really enjoyed visiting the garden through your eyes. You've inspired me to think about an actual visit in future days : )

  4. What a wonderful selection of plants, so many little gems, no wonder you had a wonderful time. The Magnolia cylindrica is stunning, was it a very large tree?


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