How many of us are aware of the fantastic free arboricultural resource we have on our doorsteps, right here in central Scotland?
You are probably well aware of the world class tree collection found at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) but did you know you can access an equally world class library of arboricultural related books? Well you can and it’s free.

On Saturday, the 26th October 2019, Will Hincliffe and Lorna Mitchell very kindly gave their time to show a small but enthusiastic group around their fantastic library.

The Scottish National Botanical & Horticultural Library is a truly impressive resource. Any of us can access these often rare publications and goodness there are some fascinating books to see. Lorna had looked out a number of historically important publications for us to see. Amongst these are the Scottish Arboricultural Society’s journals that include excursion write-ups dating back to 1880, which did make me wonder if anyone will look back on the efforts of the AA Scottish Branch in a hundred years time. We saw a wonderful “Hortus siccus” (collection of actual dried pressings) that dates back to 1848 and contains over 3 million pressings, with tens of thousands added each year.

Highlights included a first edition of John Evelyn’s “Sylva” (1664), “Pinetum Britannicum” (1895), “Trees and Shrubs in Fife & Kinross” (1879) and the incredibly old “Herbal Plants and Uses” (1485).

And to see artefacts such as David Douglas’s telescope, taken from the bull-pit in which he died, is truly a delight. The time flew past and after lunch Will very kindly led the group around the gardens, sharing his incredible knowledge of the various species (that the rest of us rarely get the opportunity to work with) and patiently answering all questions.

Many thanks to Lorna and Will for arranging this event, it was most worthwhile.

The only thing they ask in return is that we all make use of this fantastic resource and visit when we need to research arboricultural matters.
Sounds like a great deal to me.
Chris Simpson

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