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Gale-force winds cause major damage to Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

by Rose Crompton

credit: Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh

credit: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Up to 60 trees were pulled down and 400 panes of glass smashed at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh yesterday, as the Scottish capital was battered by heavy rain and gusts of wind reaching up to 102 miles per hour.

The storms wreaked havoc up and down the country but Scotland took the brunt of the gales which brought down trees and power lines and caused widespread damage to property.

David Knott, curator at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh said, “So far we’ve lost about 40 trees, mostly conifers, as well as an iconic white birch and a large oak.” A further 20 trees are being assessed today to determine whether they can be saved. The damage was so extensive that the gardens were closed to the public today, but it is hoped that they will reopen tomorrow, weather conditions permitting.

credit: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Although the loss of these trees is a blow to the garden, Knott is trying to stay positive. “It is sad that these trees have been lost, but at the same time it will afford new planting opportunities at the Royal Botanic Garden. There are a number of trees in the nursery that are nearly ready for planting,” he said.

Trees across the city were felled by the high winds and Edinburgh City Council recorded 75 calls from the public reporting fallen trees.

In London, damage was not as severe. The London Fire Brigade was called out to ten incidents involving fallen trees in the city, and Kew Gardens was open as normal.

The Met Office is warning that there will be more strong winds and heavy rain in the next few days (see www.metoffice.gov.uk for more details). If you’re worried about damage to your urban garden, then there are steps you can take to protect your plants. Martine Davis, of Balcombe Street Window Box Company, advises, “Tie up any tall plants with wispy branches with garden wire to prevent individual branches snapping off. If you have containers placed on high walls or hanging from balconies that are not strongly secured, they should be brought down and put in a more sheltered location. After a windy day you may also want to check that plants’ roots haven’t been exposed.”

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