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Plans to create a new garden at the Palace of Holyroodhouse announced

Release date: Tuesday, 21 March 2017

An artist's impression of the new physic garden at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

An artist's impression of the new physic garden at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. © J & L Gibbons

Royal Collection Trust today announced plans to create a new public garden at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, inspired by the 17th-century physic garden that was once within the Palace grounds. The original garden, created to teach students about the medicinal properties of plants and to provide pharmacists with fresh materials, was the first of its kind in Scotland and the second botanic garden to be established in Britain. The origins of today's Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh can be traced back to this historic Palace garden.

The new physic garden will be planted year-round with plants that would have been grown in the 17th century. Alongside the reimagined physic garden will be a flowering meadow, evoking the 15th-century monastic garden of Holyrood Abbey, the Palace's first recorded garden.

The garden will be created behind the Abbey Strand buildings, which by the end of 2018 will house a new Learning Centre. At the same time, the Palace's Forecourt will be opened up to the public. Each of these projects is part of Future Programme, the £37-million investment by Royal Collection Trust to transform the experience of visiting the Palace of Holyroodhouse and Windsor Castle.

Jonathan Marsden, Director, Royal Collection Trust, said, 'The return of scientific gardening to the place of its birth in Scotland will provide a new focus of interest for visitors to the Palace, for the local community, and especially, we hope, for young people. It will be a further addition to the Palace's spectacular setting within the natural landscape of Holyrood Park and Arthur's Seat beyond.  It forms an important part of our plans to make more of the Palace's surroundings and will provide a family friendly space just moments from the Royal Mile.'

Simon Milne, Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, said, 'The very being of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, one of the world’s leading botanic gardens, is linked to the Palace of Holyroodhouse and Scotland's first physic garden, created by the two adventurous doctors, Robert Sibbald and Andrew Balfour. As we prepare to celebrate our 350th anniversary in 2020, we are thrilled that Royal Collection Trust is creating a new physic garden at the Palace, and we look forward to even greater collaboration and the opportunity for more people to be inspired about the plants and their history.'

Find out more about Future Programme at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.