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Omani Botanic Garden shifts 50,000 plants to their new home

8 August 2008
 |Moving plants in oman
 Moving plants to the new nursery facility.

Question – how do you move 50,000 plants, including many rare and endangered species from two temporary facilities to a cutting-edge nursery in the desert? This is the challenge that the horticultural team at the Oman Botanic Garden has had to find answer for themselves over the last couple of weeks.  


OBG’s new nursery facility on the garden site, is in the final stages of construction, and after five months of digging, drilling, construction and creation, the state-of-the-art facility was ready to become the new home of the garden’s precious collection of young plants. “It was getting urgent, we were running out of space at our temporary nurseries in Barka and Seeb, the collection was growing faster than we could manage” says Khalid Al Farsi, horticultural specialist at the garden “Our plants are delicate, so we had to be extremely careful moving them”.

 

PLants in storage-oman 
Omani plants awaiting their new home.

Sixty truck-loads and 120 hours later, with 20 OBG staff and 25 carefully briefed construction workers provided by Carillion Alawi, the nursery construction company, the final plants made it to the nursery on Saturday 28th June and are settling in.  “The nursery is an amazing facility, with high-tech computer controlled systems looking after irrigation, temperature and humidity.  One of the challenges of this garden is that it is so different; no one has done this before with Omani plants, so we are experimenting and learning every day.  Everything we have gained so far will help us create a wonderful garden”, Al Farsi added.


Another benefit of the plants all being in one place is that the project’s horticulturalists, botanists and horticultural assistants are under the same roof for the first time since the project began as well. “It is so much better being able to work together caring for and researching our plants and seeing each other every day. It makes me feel like we are much more of a team,” said Ismail Al Rashdi, horticultural specialist “Now we can build and nurture the plant collection more efficiently”.


Oman’s plants have attracted healers, crafts people, explorers and botanists for over 2000 years.  The country is home to over 1,200 species of plants, with 80 species found nowhere else in the world.  These plants have been used by the Omani people for thousands of years, for food, shelter, medicine, animal fodder, dye, cosmetics and, of course, perfume.  

 

 Preparingthe plants for the move
 The careful process of moving the plants.

Unfortunately over 20%, or one in five, of Oman’s plants are threatened through environmental issues such as over-grazing, development and habitat destruction.  Now though, a haven is being created to protect, conserve, learn, and teach about the Omani plants and plant culture. The iconic new Oman Botanic Garden will work to ensure that the plants and their heritage can be enjoyed now and for all future generations to come.
Covering 420ha, and including covered ‘biomes’, outside habitats, a craft village, field studies centre, orientation centre, shops and catering facilities, the garden will welcome visitors from all over Oman and the world.  The garden was established by Royal Decree in 2006 and is the responsibility of the Office for Conservation of the Environment, Diwan of Royal Court.  

 

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