There had been a lot of flooding in the Dean Village and Stockbridge areas in previous days, which resulted in a landslip along the banks of the river near Stockbridge. So you couldn’t follow the river any further at this point because of the construction the council were doing along the river bank to repair the damage. So I decided to carry on to Inverleith and wanted to visit the Royal Botanic Garden there.
It was a beautiful day and a great time to see the garden. It’s a mile from the city centre, so from Stockbridge it took me about 20 minutes to walk. It was established in 1670 and during the 20th century acquired three regional gardens – Benmore in Argyll, Dawyck in the Scottish Borders and Logan, in the area of Dumfries & Galloway. It has the second richest collection of plant species in the world. The Garden is primarily a scientific institution, dedicated to discovering and describing plants and their relationships, evolution, conservation and biology.
Spread out over seventy acres of landscaped grounds, it offers a wide range of gardens to suit all tastes. From the Scottish Heath Garden to the Woodland Garden, the Herbacious Border to the Rock Garden, complemented by various glasshouses, it will keep you busy exploring, for hours on end. The Garden is open all year round apart from Christmas and New Year’s Day. Times of opening are from 10am to between 4pm and 6pm depending on what time of the year you visit. Entrance to the Garden is free and glasshouse admission costs 4.50GBP.
There is also a good choice of places to eat there. You can choose from the John Hope Gateway Restaurant, the Terrace Café or the East Gate Coffee Bar. I got to the Gardens at 3pm and it was closing at 5pm, so after getting something to eat at the J Hope Gateway Restaurant, I went for a wander. Directly outside, on the decking of the terrace were billboards with some fabulous wildlife and landscape photos from around the UK. They were photos from a nature photography project called 2020Vision that aims to show us the link between habitat restoration and our own well being.
For the first time ever, 20 of the UK’s top nature and wildlife photographers, filmmakers and sound recordists have come together to tell an amazing story about the UK’s ecosystems and the services they provide to us all, like clean water, fresh air and productive soils. The aim of this project is to “inspire a wide audience with a compelling case for rebuilding and reconnecting fragmented habitats, not only for the benefit of the plants and animals that live there, but for us too”.
2020Vision has identified a number of flagship projects all over the country, that are currently restoring, reconnecting or protecting damaged habitats or species. Over a 20-month period, the 2020Vision team will carry out 20 iWitness assignments at these locations, concentrating on projects such as seabird ecotourism, the value of marine nature tourism, wetland restoration work, ecosystems delivered by mountain landscapes to name just a few. Out of this, a set of stunning photos, along with supporting video footage and sound will be produced. The images and film generated from these assignments will be presented in various ways such as the 2020Vision Roadshow, a major event which will take place at locations throughout the UK between 2012 and 2015.
Those photos totally swept me off my feet and it left me wanting to see and read more. They have a website where you can read more information about the project, the photographers, the assignments, get the latest news, subscribe to their newsletter and see the photos in the galleries. There are also diaries written by the various photographers revealing their stories and tales about the 20 iWitness assignments. Website:http://www.2020v.org
After being gobsmacked by the 2020Vision project and its photos, I wandered off, invigorated, towards the Chinese Hillside garden and the Alpine areas. The Chinese Hillside has a huge collection of Chinese plants. The planting follows the ecological course of hillside in the wild and it’s well laid out, with meandering paths, a waterfall and rhododendron forest. The Alpine garden has alpine plants and flowers from all over the world here, even from New Zealand!