Staff at Logan Botanic Garden, near Stranraer, are busy gearing up for the new season and hoping it will be another record breaking year.
The five star Garden and ‘Tourism Champion 2017’ attracted 24,695 visitors last year, its highest visitor figure in the last 10 years. New and unusual plantings from Australasia and South Africa, including tender plants housed in its recently-built Logan Conservatory, have been an added attraction.
While the Garden has been closed to the public over winter, Curator Richard Baines and his team have been busy with major works. In the Chile area there have been improvements to drainage and the path network, a new bed has been created in the Walled Garden and new plantings in the Lower Walled Garden have a South African theme. A jungle area is also being created with paths winding through plantings of lush ferns and a canopy of Eucalyptus.
Soon the Garden could be taking visitors on a journey back in time to the Jurassic period with the installation of three 12ft high model dinosaurs crafted from willow. The Garden is awaiting the outcome of a funding application for the installations.
Mr Baines said: “We are constantly looking for new things to introduce at Logan so there is always something different for our visitors to see and do. From new beds and plantings, to installations like the dinosaurs, and a varied programme of events, including an exhibition to coincide with World Oceans Day on 2 June, we want to ensure people enjoy their visit to the Garden and learn about the important plant conservation and research work undertaken by Logan and the three other Gardens of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE)’’.
He added: “Local children are being offered an opportunity to explore what plants mean to the world through a school’s initiative delivered by RBGE’s Education Team, made possible through support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Funding for transport for the pupils will be provided by the Holywood Trust.’’
Logan, keen to enhance its low carbon rating, will be the first botanic garden in Scotland to have charge points for electric cars. The Garden will also be part of Refill D&G, an initiative to reduce plastic bottles by offering free water refills.
Three new species of Rhododendron, collected by Mr Baines during a fieldtrip to Vietnam in 2014, are currently being described. New Rhododendrons can be seen growing near the long ponds in the Walled Garden. In addition to the live plants, dried plant specimens collected during the same expedition have been prepared by Mr Baines for the RBGE Herbarium, home to over three million plant specimens, and considered a leading botanical collection used by researchers from around the world.
New plants being introduced to Logan will soon be quarantined in the Garden’s new Isolation House as part of the Garden’s stringent biosecurity measures. The building is being constructed and due for completion in spring.