I thought I’d dip into the garden’s archives to share a cultivated landscape shot. This is a scanned lantern slide, photographed and hand-painted by John Davidson sometime in the first few decades of the 1900s. The subject of the slide is the alpine garden at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Scotland.
Unfortunately, I’m not versed enough in identifying alpine plants by habit and shape to be able to determine whether Davidson’s hand-tinting of colours is accurate. I suspect it might be, though, as my impression of him from exposure to his lantern slides and written archives is that of a very thorough person. If the colours are accurate, it meant he either coloured all of the plants in the scene from memory or he sketched the scene with annotations about colours for the slide tinting process. I don’t think it was the latter, as I’ve not seen anything in the archives to suggest that was the case. It would be an interesting project for an enterprising person to see if RBGE has archived maps of its beds from the era and then cross-reference to this slide.
It’s also an opportune time to mention that UBC Botanical Garden and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh have signed a reciprocal membership agreement. UBC’s garden members receive free admission to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and its specialist gardens at Benmore, Dawyck and Logan on production of a valid UBC Botanical Garden Membership Card (and RBGE members receive equivalent privileges at UBC).