Green-fingered Princess digs informal visit to Dawyck

The Princess Royal talking to RBGE director of horticulture and learning, Dr David Rae, at Dawyck
The Princess Royal talking to RBGE director of horticulture and learning, Dr David Rae, at Dawyck
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HRH The Princess Royal was in the Borders on an informal visit to Dawyck Botanic Garden in Peeblesshire last Wednesday.

She was welcomed to the garden by Sir Muir Russell, chairman, and Simon Milne MBE, regius keeper of Dawyck’s parent organisation, the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh (RBGE).

And she was shown round by Dawyck curator Graham Stewart, who talked about the history, present-day activity and future ambitions of the 65-acre site. A spokesperson for RBGE said key points of interest during a relaxed 50-minute walkabout included the recently-commissioned hydro scheme, already bringing electricity savings, and the iconic Dutch Bridge.

The spokesperson added: “Being introduced to staff, supporters and volunteers, the Princess demonstrated her own awareness of challenges facing the environment when she spoke of the impact of non-native invasive species, such as Rhododendron ponticum, and the growing threat of pathogens including sudden oak death (Phytophthora ramorum) and ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea).”

And the Princess planted a coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), collected in the wild by staff member Robert Unwin during fieldwork in California, before leaving for other duties in the area.

Mr Stewart said: “To have the garden recognised by Her Royal Highness means a great deal to everyone at Dawyck.

“As a team, we strive to present the best in horticultural and environmental practices and to extend a warm welcome to everyone with an interest in visiting”.

Mr Milne said: “The royal visit provided well-deserved recognition to the team and we were all delighted to have had the opportunity to welcome The Princess Royal to Dawyck and to share with her this magical garden in the Tweed Valley.

“The Princess Royal was extremely complimentary about the work at Dawyck and the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, and praised staff for their skill and efforts.

“In this context, topics discussed ranged from dealing with invasive non-native species and plant health issues to the propagation of trees and the global role of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in plant conservation”.