ABOUT THE CITY
About the City with
A legendary Head Gardener The life and achievements of a great unsung Scottish horticulturist of the 19th century is being celebrated through a series of new plantings at his grave. The name of William McNab (1780–1848) is largely unknown today, but the horticultural skills of the former Superintendent (or Chief Gardener) at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) were such that he was once feted by King George III and even received a diamond ring from the Tsar of Russia. As well as his immense horticultural experience, McNab was also an innovator, being responsible for the safe removal of thousands of plants from the Garden’s third site on Leith Walk to its current location in Inverleith. Using his tree transporting machine, McNab was able to successfully move large and mature shrubs and trees through the streets to the new site – an amazing venture that was celebrated in Sara Sheridan’s recent novel The Fair Botanists. Now, to mark the 175th anniversary of his death in 2023, a variety of 220 bulbs, tubers and corms will be planted on McNab’s hither to untended grave, in the New Calton Burial Ground on Regent Road. Kirsty Wilson - the Botanics’ Herbaceous Supervisor – has planted a carefully curated collection with the first flowers – scilla and crocus – expected to flower in January, with each month in 2023 seeing the blossoming of a different species: from tulips in April to crocosmia in August, until the anniversary of McNab’s death (on December 1st 2023) is marked by the white blooms of snowdrops. The collection is then expected to continue to bloom each year. www.rbge.org.uk
Balmoral celebrates 120th Sir Rocco For te was in town in late October last year to host the Balmoral Hotel’s 120th Anniversa- ry.The hotel began life as the North British Hotel in 1902. Guests were treated to some top notch hospitality, and enjoyed a great live performance from Lemar (of Fame Academy fame) - considered one of the most successful ar tists to come out of a TV talent show.
Angelo Starr, Lemar, Simon Milne MBE, Sir Rocco Forte and Terence Brown.
Caring for pets in need
PDSA, the Vet Charity for Pets in Need, recently hosted a special event for its local supporters at the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street. Director General Jan McLoughlin talked about PDSA’s 100 years history of saving pets and helping owners, and how gifts in wills made such a difference to the lives of over 370,000 pets in 2021. Then TV Vet & PDSA Celebrity Ambassador Steve Leonard, talked about why PDSA means as much to him, before taking a Q&A session. www.pdsa.org.uk
Graham Hardy (RBGE’s serials librarian, who researched William McNab’s life and located the grave) with Kirsty Wilson (RBGE’s Herbaceous Supervisor)
Emma Scott (Head Nurse), Steve Leonard (TV Vet and PDSA Ambassador), Jan McLoughlin (PDSA Director General), Sian Beech (PDSA Fundraiser) and Isobell Carroll (PDSA Client Services)
EdinburghLife January/February 2023 4
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