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A look at June

July 13, 2022

June at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh seemed to disappear as quickly as a flash but I still got up to loads of different things. I had lots of pricking out and potting on of seedlings as all the young plants are enjoying the warmth and bulking up nicely. Lots of watering has been a daily occurrence too as well as ridding of pesky weeds in borders, frames, and troughs alike. We have started to pot on more of the Dionysias and other cushions into the new mix, which is mineral based. They tend to need more frequent watering but otherwise seem very happy.

Young cushion plants at RBGE

Young cushion plants at RBGE

This month I was able to plant up my first RBGE trough. I chose from a range of rocks and materials when setting the backbone of my trough. I then had fun scouting young plants from the planting out selection which would best suit my planting. This is hopefully the first of a few trough plantings that I will get to do here at RBGE!

I also had a fascinating afternoon in the herbarium looking at all the Trillium specimens. It was exciting to see plants that had been collected by historic plants people such as George Sherriff, George Forrest, Ernest Henry Wilson, and Frank Kingdon-Ward. It was hard to believe how old some of the specimens are, with some dated from the early 1800s. I could easily spend a whole year looking at the whole herbarium collection!

Trillium specimen in the RBGE Herbarium

Trillium specimen in the RBGE Herbarium

I joined the Herbaceous team on a day trip to Dawyck Botanic Gardens which is a beautiful place indeed. There’s a fantastic collection of trees and shrubs there. The many Rhodies and Azaleas in the garden were looking very colourful and the groups of Meconopsis ‘Slieve Donard’ were in their full glory!

Meconopsis ‘Slieve Donard’ at Dawyck Botanic Gardens

A mass of flowering Meconopsis ‘Slieve Donard’ at Dawyck Botanic Gardens

This month I was able to spend a few afternoons with the Scottish Native Plants Horticulturist, Martine. I helped her with stocktaking and relabelling of some of the native planted areas. This involved using the Iris database and the app Florina to identify specimens, put them onto GPS maps, and add any relevant comments to the plant’s profile such as if it had any damage or had died off. When visiting RBGE do be sure to keep an eye out for any green plant labels as this indicates that it is a Scottish native and also contains the Gaelic common name (if there is one).

The AGS Young Person’s Conference took place towards the end of the month in North Wales. I was delighted to be able to attend! From visiting the lovely Bodnant Gardens to botanising on a very soggy mountain, from tonnes of orchids in sand dunes to a tour of the renowned Aberconwy Nursery – what an absolutely fantastic weekend. It was good to network with other like-minded passionate plants people. I can’t thank Tony, Raz, and Tom enough for inviting me to take part.

I look forward to any similar future events and urge anyone interested to definitely join next time!

Bertie Swainston botanising on Cwm Idwal at the AGS Young Person's Weekend

Botanising on Cwm Idwal at the AGS Young Person's Weekend

And finally, I had my last two working days at RSPB Haweswater with Tree Nursery Officer, Jo. During the first day, we headed out to one of the younger meadows in Swindale. Here we chopped back as much of the dock as possible before it set seed and collected lots of ripe yellow rattle seed. The second day in the morning, I fed the young trees in the nursery, some of which I helped plant back in March. After that I pricked out some meadowsweet seedlings. During the afternoon we explored the meadows between Swindale and Mardale. There were so many thriving carnivorous Droseras and Pinguiculas, as well as many orchids of different colours and patterns!