Looking to the future

Lichens - Climate research

I’m trying not to think about the future because that, for me, that involves leaving Benmore.

However, Benmore has to be constantly looking forward.

I’m afraid that yesterday the lichens Neil has drying by the photocopier ended up playing second fiddle to Sybil’s, not-at-all-dry, chocolate cupcakes, so today I just want to spend a few moments explaining about some important research being undertaken at Benmore and some of the other Botanic Gardens.

The RBGE Regional Gardens at Dawyk, Logan and Benmore offer ideal and distinct climatic conditions in which to assess how lichen growth responds to such diverse settings.

Within each garden an identical set of epiphytic* lichens from Scottish native woodlands have been placed.

Lichen experiment  cage



Every month their growth is being measured by garden staff (for anyone who likes detail, the samples are weighed on a top-pan balance).

These measurements are then compared to the meteorological data (temperature and rainfall) collected in the Garden.

It’s hoped that the data gathered from experiment will provide insights into the role that climate plays in shaping the future distribution of these species.

[*Epiphytes are plants that grow non-parasitically on another plant or object. They derive their moisture and nutrients from the air, rain and accumulated debris. They are usually found in the temperate zone e.g. some mosses, liverworts, lichens and algae, or in the tropics e.g. some ferns, cacti, orchids, and bromeliads.]

Mossy logs

And I’m delighted to say another poem has found its way through to me.

Blairmore Redwood by Janice Hampson
My roots are in the soil of Benmore,
My canopy in the moist air of the glen.
But far away from my native land
Like the Scots diaspora I make my mark.

Redwood lawn

I think we must be getting pretty close to having 150 poems; 150 mini-celebrations of trees; all combining to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the planting of Benmore’s Redwood Avenue. Which, while we are talking about the future, I hope will be here and thriving for many years to come.


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