Monday, 20 April 2015

DUNDEE BOTANICAL GARDENS



DUNDEE BOTANICAL GARDENS

Dundee Botanical Gardens were started in 1971 by Dundee University to meet the needs of the botany staff. The first curator was Edward Kemp who established a natural Scottish environment at the gardens using the south facing slope. It is one of the great pleasures of being in Dundee that it is possible to take a walk from the Highlands to the seashore without ever leaving the city. This ramble can also take you all the way from the Mediterranean to Asia, and still without crossing the city boundaries. Set in 21 acres in the west end of Dundee, the Garden includes large tropical and temperate glasshouses and an outstanding range of plant life.

Here the plants are arranged geographically so that visitors can walk through the world’s temperate regions from the Mediterranean to East Asia. The British Native Plant area contains plant communities adapted to conditions high in the Angus glens down through woodlands to the seashore. Enter the Glasshouses and you find contrasting rainforest and desert habitats, while the historical development of plant adaptations is shown in the Evolution Garden.

It is an endlessly fascinating journey, one which highlights how various flora and fauna might be associated with each other when they are in their natural environment. It can also be spectacular, such as when the rhododendrons are in full flower in April, although the emphasis, as Alasdair Hood, Curator of the garden, points out. “I always think the most significant thing we do is we encourage people to observe the diversity of nature. So, when they walk around and take time to look at the plants they will see things like Sycamore flowers and Southern Beach flowers and realise that trees flower too. The Garden has now matured, though forty years ago it was just a hayfield with one tree in it. That original sycamore is still here but the gardens have grown by a third and there are more than 5500 different species of plants.”

The Garden changes all the time. A new herb garden is being placed just outside the windows of the coffee shop. By next Spring, visitors will be able to take their refreshments with all the scents of the herb garden lingering in the background. The Garden’s was founded as a place where science, education and conservation could take centre stage, as well as providing a garden for the entire community of Dundee. Those goals are being carried forward by the University, the Friends of the Botanic Garden and now with the help of the Dundee Botanic Garden Endowment Trust.

The Trust was formed in 2013 to assist and support the Garden as it continues to create a vital centre of knowledge and appreciation of plant life. The income generated by the Endowment Trust will contribute and support the development, enhancement and annual running costs of the Botanic Garden. The Trust will also help inspire community involvement in the garden, with a regular programme of public events. If you would like further information on how you can support the Dundee Botanic Garden Endowment Trust or if you would like to make a donation online through BT MyDonate please contact: Gordon Ramsay – Development Officer

Telephone 01382 381136 or Email: g.w.ramsay@dundee.ac.uk

Wee jobs to do this week

Plant out early cabbage, cauliflowers and sprouts raised from seed sown in early March. Place collars around the stem to prevent cabbage root flies from laying eggs next to the stems. These plants will also need to be netted from pigeons looking out for some fresh young greens.
Check over young shoots on roses for the first generation of greenfly and if not too severe they can be rubbed off with your fingers. Greenfly can also be a pest on the tips of young  blackcurrants shoots and gooseberries.

End



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