Royal Botanic Gardens  Edinburgh

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh was first sited at Holyrood Park beside Holyrood Abbey in 1670. It moved to near Leith Wynd in 1675 which stretch from where Cranston Street off the Royal Mile is now to Calton Road. The Physic Garden which was removed due to Waverley Station being built 1763 spent a period of time in Leith Walk 1763 -1820 where it remained before finally moving to its present location at Inverleith in 1820. The Gardens were the imagination of two doctors Andrew Balfour who look after the Royal Gardens at Holyrood House Edinburgh 1695 and Robert Sibbald a physician who collected plant specimens from all over Europe when on their travels, which were look after in the Physic Garden. The two Gardens coming together in 1820 at Inverleith. In the early 1900s a plant hunter George Forrest introduced over 10,000 specimens and the gardens continue to grow to this day. The Cottage in Leith can now be seen in the Royal Botanic Gardens grounds, as it has been rebuilt as it was in Leith. There is also a night light show annually within the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

Royal Botanic Gardens

20a Inverleith Row Edinburgh

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh 
East Gate

Royal Botanic Garden 20A Inverleith Row Edinburgh.JPG

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh 
John Hope West Gate

 The Glass Houses

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

The large glass house in the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (RBGE) was opening by

HRH Princess Margaret on 25th October 1967, further glass houses were opened to store the many different varieties of plants and flowers. 

Botanic Gardens Glasshouse Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

Rock Garden

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh 

  The Rock Garden has a collection of over 5,000 plants from mountain, Mediterranean and Arctic climates

around the world. 

There are concentrations of plants from China, Europe, Japan, Nepal,

North and South America and South Africa.

Plants from Nepal. RBGE
Rock Garden RBGE Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.JPG
Yoshino Cherry Tree. RBGE Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

 Britain’s Tallest Palm House

​Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

The Temperate Palm house in Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh opened in 1858 and was the tallest in the UK. It became one of the must see things of its time in the UK as most people had never travelled overseas and the plants and trees were a massive attraction.

Inverleith House

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

Inverleith House was built in 1774 for Sir James Rocheid and his family on his estate, which would have covered Inverleith Park, Botanic Gardens and part of Stockbridge. The Botanic Gardens today stands on most of the Rocheid estate.

In 1877 the Botanic Gardens took over all but Inverleith Park of the estate.  ( Front and rear  

l Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
Inverleith House. Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

The Gardeners Cottage

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

The Botanic Gardens Cottage stood at Shrub hill of Leith Walk and was taken brick by brick and rebuilt in the botanic gardens. The Cottage was the lead gardener's house and entrance to the gardens The cottage was designed by the leading architects of the time James Craig and John Adam and built in 1765. 

The cottage also had a classroom to tech Botany to Edinburgh students.

Botanic Cottage Royal Botanic Gardens EdinburghRBGE

The Gardeners Cottage

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

There are two plaques with inscriptions. 

In honour of ALL THE PEOPLE who have tended this place with care, passion and dedication. their legacy lives all around us. The Botanic Cottage Built Leith Walk 1765 Rebuilt Inverleith 2015.

To the memory of John Williamson who during twenty years of faithful service as Principal Gardener in this place was no less respected for the good qualities suited to his station in life than esteemed for eminent skill in his profession

this monument is erected by John Hope1781

Removed from the Botanic Garden Leith Walk September 1823

Botanic Cottage Plaque Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
Botanic Cottage Plaque. Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh RBGE

Old Beech Hedge

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

The Old Beech hedge stands at circa 8m (156 ft) in Height and 165 m (535 ft) in length. First planted in 1906 with 200 young beech trees, today only 158 trees are in the Hedge. Thought to be one of the oldest hedges in Scotland at over 110 years.

Beech Hedge Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
Old Beech Hedge Botanic Gardens Edinburg
Beech Hedge Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

HRH Queen Mother's Garden

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

This area is dedicated to the late Queen Mother and has over 10.000 plants. The centre Labyrinth is formed with interlocking E space as her name Elizabeth. With a pavilion trees hedge and flowers it is a remarkable memorial to a great Lady.

Queen Mother's Memorial Garden.RBGE

Caledonian Hall 

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

The Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society built the Caledonian Hall in 1841 to hold flower shows. 20 years later it had a change of use to a Herbarium, scientific reference collection of preserved plants which now has over 3 million specimens.

Caledonian Hall RBGE

Alpine House

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

The Alpine House provides a strict dry environment for plants All the plants are growing in clay pots and the Alpine House has a manmade climate to imitate the mountainous windy conditions where the plants would naturally grow.

Alpine House RBGE
Alpine Rock Garden RBGE

Chinese Hillside

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

The Chinese Hillside garden is planted to recreate a natural Chinese hillside garden setting with over 1600 plants found in the south west of China. The garden opened in 1997 and is the largest collection of Chinese plants growing outside China.

Monument on Chinese Hillside
China Pavilion. with pond and stream in background
Chinese Hillside and Pond RBGE Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
China Pavilion. RBGE Botanic Gardens Chinese Hillside

 Edinburgh New Town

Lilian Alcock

(Nora Lilian Scott)

Lilian Scott was born in August 1874 and married Nathaniel Alcock in 1905 a professor of physiology at McGill University in Canada. Lilian was the first government plant pathologist appointed in Scotland. She was the pioneer of the study of seed pathology and was honoured in 1935 with and MBE. She was appointed plant pathologist in Department of Agriculture for Scotland at Royal Botanic Garden in 1924 till her retirement in 1937.

The plaque can be seen on the wall of 20a Inverleith Row Edinburgh. 

Lilian Alcock Plaque Inverleith Row Edin

Aeolian Harp Pavilion

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

Aeolian Harp Pavilion was design and built in 2003 to commemorate an old Elm tree that had to be cut down due to contracting Dutch Elm Disease.

Aeolian Harp Pavilion RBGE Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

Garden of Tranquillity

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

The Garden of Tranquillity is behind the East Gate Lodge.  This garden was structured through donations and lottery funding for the use of all the people that wish to use it.

Garden of Tranquillity RBGE Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

Edinburgh New Town
Inverleith Row
Sibbald House

The house named after Robert Sibbald who was born 15 April 1641 in Fife Scotland. He qualified as a physician in 1662,  and his aim was to improve the faculties of medicine in Scotland. He with his cousin Andrew Balfour created a Physic Garden in 1670 with circa 1000 medicinal plants. Sibbald and Balfour went on to establish the  College of Physicians in 1681. 

The Physic Garden went on to be the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. A year later in 1682 Robert Sibbald was appointed Geographer Royal for Scotland. He died in 1722 make his life's work to the medical profession and the intellectual life of Edinburgh. He is buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard.

Sibbald House. RBGE Inverleith Row Edinb