St Andrews Botanic Garden is under threat of closure due to insufficient funding.
The Botanic Garden is situated on Canongate, a mere 10 minute walk from the centre of town, and is well worth a wander on a nice day. Open daily, the garden is a perfect space for picnics, reading, or perusing the fantastic collection of plant species from around the world, and it is a popular destination amongst students, locals, and tourists alike. It would be a huge shame for the town to lose such a resource.
Established in the 1960s by the University, the Gardens have been leased for the past 25 years to the local council who have funded its maintenance and development as both an educational and a community facility. The lease runs out in June this year, and the Council is no longer willing to cover all of the running costs. The University is therefore looking at the possibility of renewing the lease. However, if they do not, the Garden will be closed.
The Garden is not only an important site for the general public, but it is also a fantastic learning and research facility. Being home to more than 8000 living plant species (that’s about 3 times the total number of plant species native to the UK!) that are displayed in diverse open habitats (heath, rock, woodland, water) and a range of different glasshouse environments (tropical, temperate, alpine and hot desert), the Garden is a wonderful biodiversity resource. Many school groups have classes there on a weekly basis, and the University regularly relies upon it for Biology labs and research purposes. Additionally, the Garden is renowned internationally for its collection of rare plants, and regularly sends seed to research institutes worldwide.
If the Botanic Gardens were to close, the town and University would lose an important and valuable asset, so please do your bit for the town and take a minute to sign the online petition, and click “Sign the Save the Garden Petition”. The petition closes May 5, and will be presented to the University in June along with a business plan for the Garden’s future development.