“A lovely experience, in a gorgeous place, with a fascinating story and a friendly and wholehearted company”

One of the things that I enjoy most about being part of  ELISA is meeting and speaking to colleagues who come along to our events. At our AGM we were joined by  Krisztina Rabai who turned out to be an intern at the National Library of Scotland, which is where I work however we hadn’t previously met. I asked Kristzina if she would be willing to write a post for us before she left the Library, and the country,  and here it is.


The event, organised by ELISA, was fascinating and a lovely experience for an outsider, like myself. I have received the news of the gathering through the NLS, where I am working as an intern temporarily. My main field of interest is medical history, therefore I was thrilled by the opportunity to participate in an event, where a specialist talks about the collection of RBGE Library and introduce into the history of such an important place and building as the botanic garden and cottage. One of my friends, Jane was also involved in the rescue and transportation project of the botanic cottage, so I have already known something about the background. I have already seen some example of “botanic cottage”-s in Europe, what is more, while I was working on the medical collection of a monastic library, I have lived in a very similar cottage built in the garden of a Benedictine monastery.

However, the fascinating speech of Lorna Mitchell lasted only cc.40 minutes it covered the whole story and was illustrated by contemporary material from the library collection.

The sources, which were presented to us, were perfectly well chosen as on the one hand, it satisfied our scientific curiosity by giving interesting and relevant information about the topic and on the other it also fed our hunger of art by showing amazing illustrations of plants from different countries.

A perfect combination of science and art.

The building itself situated in a charming corner of the RBGE, manifesting the connection of past and present. Behind the historical walls a very modern, well-designed interior serves the needs of the community. As I am coming from a region, where voluntary work does not really have any tradition, I was surprised, when I realized not only the botanic garden enjoys the support of enthusiastic volunteers, but Elisa itself is an organisation based on the efforts of volunteers. A brilliant example of how great things can be achieved by magnanimous work.

All in all, it was a lovely experience, in a gorgeous place, with a fascinating story and a friendly and wholehearted company.

Krisztina Rabai








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