Horticultural Unit and Nursery
The Woodlands Horticultural Unit at North Staney Hill, Lerwick, includes a glasshouse, cold frames and a tissue culture facility, looked after by the small team. The propagation beds in the glasshouse are heated by wind power from an onsite wind turbine, reducing energy costs and carbon.
There are also stockbeds and a nursery area with a polytunnel in Weisdale, near Kergord House.
The team propagates and grows plant material both for its own research and use, and also for community projects, and wholesale. As much as is possible, materials are sourced from within Shetland; where that is not possible, the team strives to use seed from areas with similar climates and/or latitudes. Seed of species such as alder and birch, pine, larch and spruce, are now collected exclusively from within the islands.
The tissue culture facility was developed in order to aid conservation of relict trees and other native flora in order to protect rare species. The team is currently engaged in a project with the University of Dundee Botanic Garden to conserve four very rare Scottish alpine plants.
Horticultural Unit Open Days
In the summer of 2011, and 2012, there were a series of open days at the Horticultural Unit, during which general surplus stock was sold to the public. This is now scheduled to be a regular annual event which will enable people to see how the nursery operates, and also find out more about native Shetland plants which can grow in different garden conditions.