Historic Glasshouses Restoration: Giant Plants Make Epic Journey From Edinburgh To Port Logan

Five massive tree ferns have made an “epic journey” from Edinburgh to the south-west tip of Scotland.

The heaviest of the 20ft (7m) tall plants weighed in at 350kg (770lbs).

The Dicksonia antartica tree ferns have been growing for nearly 150 years in glasshouses at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).

Due to refurbishment work, they have been moved to a new outdoor home 145 miles away at Logan Botanic Garden near Stranraer.

The complex operation took place as part of a project to restore the historic glasshouses in Edinburgh.

The tree ferns were too tall to dig up and move easily so the team involved cut the “trunks” – which are actually a mass of roots – and later replanted them which will allow them to regenerate in their new location.

Prior to being transferred, the two-metre long fronds at the top of each fern were removed then the top four metres of each “trunk” were carefully taken out and prepared for their long journey.

At the end, they were replanted – outside for the first time in their lives.

Sadie Barber, research collections and project manager at RBGE, said it had not been easy to come up with an answer to how to move the plants.

“To enable the glasshouse restoration, we are now in the process of transplanting plants from our ferns and fossils glasshouse for safekeeping,” she said.

“However, specimens such as Dicksonia antarctica and Thyrsopteris elegans are massive and grow tightly together along narrow, winding paths.

“Finding solutions to lifting and moving them safely in such a confined space has been quite a challenge.”

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