Anticipating the new potato season

On a cold and frosty January day one can’t help thinking about the new vegetable growing season that is yet to unfold. In fact, preparations for the new…

BigPicnic at Parliament

The BigPicnic project, funded by an EU Horizon 2020 grant, has involved 16 botanic gardens working with people to explore the issue of food insecurity with the aim…

International declaration calls for a halt to plant extinctions

Earlier this month, the RBGE’s Deputy Keeper and Director of Science, Professor Pete Hollingsworth, travelled to China to join an influential meeting at the beautiful Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical…

December 2018 Garden Wildlife Report

December 2018 at RBGE was much drier than usual, slightly sunnier, and milder than average although there were some short cold snaps with frost but no snow. Total…

Wallich’s Expeditions

Having recently been asked for a summary of Nathaniel Wallich’s plant collecting expeditions by an Indian researcher, I have compiled the following chronology. Plant material collected by Wallich…

Blue sausage

The deciduous stalks of Decaisnea insignis are prominent in the upper woodland garden. Hanging from these bare stalks are the fruit; blue sausage shaped receptacles that contain a…

Hanging by a thread

Jasminum nudiflorum; bright yellow flowers on chlorophyll green stems. This one, a stem layer that caught itself under the fence post and rooted into the mortar joint. The…

Review of the Year – 2018

Following on from a Met Office decreed White Christmas in 2017, Edinburgh had a day of snow and then Storm Dylan blew through on the 31st. Fortuitously, the…

Christmas Island and other ventures – legacy of RBGE gardener David Reid Tait

When I was contacted by Dr Bill Lynch in August 2018 with a query about a former RBGE gardener called David R. Tait and his work for Sir…

Fern Book Presents from Christmas Past – 2

In December 1945 the world was entering its fourth month of‘peace’ after six brutal years of global war. A small sign of that ‘peace’ was the arrival in…

Fern Book Presents from Christmas Past – 1

As 2018 nears its end, here are a couple of blogposts telling the stories behind two fern books from the shelves of the Royal Botanic Garden Library.  Both…

November 2018 Garden Wildlife Report

November 2018 was a rather ‘grey’ month, living up to that month’s reputation. There were only around half a dozen really sunny days, mainly in the first half,…

Two hopeful Hellebores

Agenus of herbs, these two differ in that Helleborusorientalis has no winter foliage and H.foetidus has. H. foetidus isnative to W and S Europe with H.orientalis having a…

Flat gardening on a student budget

As Christmas approaches the bank balance will inevitably take a hit. Like many of the other students I am in a tiny flat with my 17 plants (since…

Trinity College Dublin and the Wallichian distribution of the East India Company’s Herbarium

The official establishment of the Herbarium at Trinity College Dublin is taken as 1840, with the appointment of Thomas Coulter (1793–1843) as the first Keeper and the incorporation…

Reasons to be cheerful

Seeing these two images of Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ side by side illustrates the change weather can play on plants. Walking around the garden on a wet morning the…

Cornus capitata

Cornus fruit

Cornus capitata has produced a satisfactory crop of fruit this year. A deciduous wide canopied tree from China. Growing here at RBGE in the shelter of the east…

Botanical Drawings made in Nepal for Nathaniel Wallich in 1821 by Vishnupersaud and Gorachand

When the museum and library of the East India Company, following its inheritance by the India Office of the British government, was dispersed in 1879 its fragments were…

Francis Buchanan’s Bengal Survey botanical drawings and specimens reunited after 203 years

Since September I have been working, on and off, on the fantastic collection of Indian botanical drawings at our sister organisation, Kew. This started out when asked to…

Rare Book Collection

Interleaving in the RBGE Collections, Part 2: British Marine Algae

By Hannah Swan In this second part of the series on interesting insertions in RBGE volumes, I will delve into the various insertions in an 1874 copy of…