The Botanic Gardens
The royal botanic gardens Edinburgh locally known as the Botanics is a 72 acre botanic garden located just one mile from the city center. The garden has over 100,000 species of plants for people to marvel at. It is also home to 10 glass houses with over 3000 species of exotic plants from all over the world. The history of the gardens dates back 350 years ago in 1670 when it was founded as a physics garden to grow medicinal plants.
The RBGE have been growing plants in glasshouses since 1713 when the first glasshouse was constructed. To date there are 27 heated glass houses in the gardens. The 10 glasshouses that people visit are heated differently to mimic different weather patterns like tropical, arid and temperate.
The climate inside the glasshouses provides the perfect environment for the plants inside to grow with the only limitation being space. One of the glasshouses that stands out is the palm house. It was built in 1858 and is the tallest palm house ever built. Here you get the chance to see a palm tree that is 200 years old.
The greenhouses cover 2 acres of the land in the gardens and hold 47% of all the species represented in the garden. The glasshouses also hold seven species of heritage plant collections namely the; Zingiber, Vireya rhododendron, Curcuma, Kaempferia, Globba, Boesenbergia and Aeschynanthus. Other glasshouses in the gardens are used for research purposes.
Besides the glasshouses, there are many other attractions visitors to the gardens can enjoy. First there is the Chinese hillside. The Chinese Hillside has a spectacular display of Chinese plants with a waterfall and streams that feed a pond. The pond has many floating broad-leaved plants growing on it.
Besides, it is a place where you can sit and marvel at the Chinese hillside. The Alpine House is the other attraction to enjoy at the gardens. It is a cedar wood construction that was built in 1975 to display the alpine plants. The alpine house has been reconstructed recently at a cost of $200,000 and is now bigger and better.
The arboretum presents the best display of exotic trees and a good manmade forest. During Christmas the gardens display the spectacular illuminated Christmas trail at the gardens which is a breathtaking site for many people.
There are two hotels at the gardens where visitors can enjoy food. These are the award winning Gateway restaurant and Terrace cafe. Entry to the gardens is free for a small fee is paid for admission to the glasshouses. A visit to the RBGE presents visitors with a breathtaking view of the city in the most serene environment closest to town.
At the gardens visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the city’s skyline featuring Edinburgh’s castle. The gardens are also used for research projects to study plants. At the gardens is the Botanics shop where visitors can buy gifts, souvenirs and plants.