Argyll’s botanic garden set to open again

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Benmore Botanic Garden near Dunoon will reopen to the public tomorrow (Friday March 1).

With many different events running throughout the season, this year promises to be just as noteworthy as 2018.

Curator Peter Baxter said: ‘There has been much activity by the garden team over the winter months in connection with various project work and in preparation for the 2019 season.’

Already home to a large quantity of the Chilean species Araucaria araucana (monkey puzzle) trees, Benmore is now gearing up for more to arrive over the next few months.

As part of the International Conifer Conservation Project (ICCP), Benmore will be home to a further 150 new monkey puzzle trees that have been grown in the Roayl Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) nursery.

It is not just the monkey puzzles that will be new. Benmore garden has crammed its upcoming season with events and activities.

One of these new ventures is a Lichen Exhibition and Trail. The event aims to open up the mysterious world of lichens – an organism that can be used to monitor air pollution levels. This exhibition will run from March 1 until June 23.

On Wednesday March 20 at 2pm in the Courtyard Gallery, RBGE’s Dr Alan Elliott is hosting a talk titled Wild about Meconopsis. Alan will discuss the species in detail, talking about growth in the wild to the cultivation of them, then on to taxonomy and the history of the species.

This year’s AGM will include a talk by Dr Peter Wilkie on Taxonomy, Teeth and the Titanic which will look at his taxonomic and conservation research on the tropical tree family Sapotaceae and the impact the family has had on world history and everyday life of ordinary individuals. The AGM is on Thursday April 18 at 2pm in the Courtyard Gallery.

Following last year’s success, school children from around the region are once again being offered an opportunity to explore what plants mean to the world through the annual schools weeks delivered by the RBGE education team and made possible through the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

As well as these specific events, Benmore offers regular chances for visitors to get involved. The motorised explorer tours every Wednesday and Thursday at 2pm and the walking tours every Sunday and Tuesday, also at 2pm, allow visitors the chance to gain a greater understanding of the garden.

In keeping with tradition at Benmore, the annual open day when the garden has free entry, is on Sunday May 19.