Animals & Attractions

Edinburgh Zoo Gardens

Edinburgh Zoo has a rich horticultural tradition.  Before its inception in 1913, the site was a nursery, once owned by Thomas Blaikie, who planted many of the great French parks such as ‘La Bagatelle’.  It was on this site that two nurserymen raised the famous apple cultivars ‘John Downie’ and ‘James Grieve’.

Today, the zoo boasts one of the most diverse tree collections in the Lothians with some 120 species.  The unique south facing aspect allows us to grow bananas outside, although they do get wrapped up in winter.  Increasingly, zoo horticulture is seen as a discipline in its own right, with the focus on habitat creation within enclosures, food stuffs for the animals, and enrichment for both the animals and the visiting public.  The gardens team aims to provide interesting displays throughout the year, from summer tubs with Regal and scented pelargoniums, to winter displays of alpines.

Watch our video!

Did you know?

  • There are over 1,000 trees on site, and each one is tagged and catalogued.
  • Many of the plants in and around our enclosures are grown in greenhouses on site.
  • The collection contains many plant species listed as threatened or vulnerable by the IUCN.

Go behind the scenes!

It takes a large team of varied specialists, from blacksmiths to education officers, to operate Edinburgh Zoo. In this video, Head Gardener, Rab Harden, provides an insight into the invaluable role of the gardens team here at the Zoo.

Watch our video!

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