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This cache will take you to one of the former sites of what is now known as the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).
The RBGE began its life as a Physic Garden around the size of a tennis court near Holyrood Palace in 1670; six years later another plot of land was acquired at Trinity Hospital – this site has long since disappeared under Waverley Station.
Both sites eventually proved inadequate for the increasingly popular growth and important study of plants, and in 1763 they were abandoned and the Botanic Garden moved to a 5 acre site on Leith Walk under the directorship of John Hope.
The new Garden featured a pond and an innovative range of hot and cool glasshouses which were able to sustain plants such as tea, coffee and bananas, and in which tropical trees and shrubs were able to grow to impressive proportions for the first time in cultivation – this must have been a staggering sight in the late 18th century! One of the palms cultivated in this glasshouse still grows today in the octagonal Tropical House at the RBGE.
The Leith Walk Garden; image copyright RBGE, used here with permission
The above co-ordinates will take you to the cottage of the head gardener (John Williamson at the time the Leith Walk Garden opened) which was built in the early 1760s and still stands on Haddington Place today although the lower floor is now obscured by the raising of the street level (if you look down to the lower right hand side you can still see part of the original Botanic Garden wall painted white and curving round beneath a modern height extension.
The house was owned by a car hire company. There are 2 burglar alarms on the wall; convert the telephone number of the one on the left to letters thus: ABCD EFG HIJK, then add CG to the figures at the end of the N co-ordinates, and add GK to the figures at the end of the W co-ordinates.
This will take you round the corner to an information panel in a Garden set up to commemorate John Hope’s Garden. Here you will find out how this cache got its name! John Hope grew a large crop of a medicinal variety of rhubarb from Russia (Rheum palmatum) which is a parent of the type of edible rhubarb grown in our gardens today. There was one planted by the info panel but it seems to have died a tragic death!
Rheum palmatum; image copyright RBGE, used here with permission
From the info panel, take the amount of money the treasury provided and take the first two digits (in order) and subtract them from the new N co-ordinates; then take the last two digits of the treasury money, reverse their order and add them to the new W co-ordinates (if you can’t decide if a figure is a number or a letter, then it’s a number!). This should take you to the microcache (now a nano - bring your own pencil!).
This Garden was soon bursting at the seams and the Botanic Garden moved to the present site at Inverleith between 1820 and 1823.
A sensible note of caution: it seems as if this park is occasionally used for drinking in so we would possibly avoid it at night, though we have spent a lot of time here recently and have never felt intimidated. It is also used by dogwalkers, not all of them with a conscience – so watch your feet! Parking in the area can be hard to find so it might be an idea to take a bus or walk – it’s very close to the city centre!
For more information on the Hopetoun Crescent Garden please visit www.hopetouncrescentgarden.org.uk
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum