It promises to be a tourism-generating celebration of how plants have contributed to the nation’s health and wellbeing over the centuries.

The Royal Collection Trust has announced the opening of a major new public garden at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh.

Prince Charles said the landmark would help remind people “of the importance of history, nature and medicine in our lives”.

Situated on Abbey Strand, it can be freely enjoyed all year round by the people of Edinburgh and visitors, with seasonal planting inspired by some of the earliest recorded gardens on the site.

The attraction is adjacent to the new Abbey Strand Learning Centre and will also be used by school and community groups to explore the role of plants in boosting health.

Both it and the Learning Centre have been created as part of Future Programme, a major investment project by the Trust.

Prince Charles said: “In 1670 two Scottish doctors – Robert Sibbald and Andrew Balfour – rented a plot of land no bigger than a tennis court, next to the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

“Here, they established a pioneering physic garden, where medicinal plants were organised on a scientific basis and doctors were trained in botany and how to use the herbs to create safe, effective treatments for their patients. As it grew and later moved across the city, it became what is now the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

“Now, 350 years later, a new incarnation of the physic garden has been created at the Palace of Holyroodhouse by the Royal Collection Trust as part of a free space for the public to enjoy and learn from.”

He added: “Whether walking through a medicinal meadow evoking the earliest gardens of Holyrood Abbey, the ruins of which are still one of the highlights of any visit to the Palace; enjoying the plantings inspired by 17th-century royal gardens; or exploring the herbs, fruits and flowers in the re-imagined physic garden, we are reminded of the importance of history, nature and medicine in our lives.

“As chairman of the Royal Collection Trust, I am delighted this new garden is now officially open.”

The garden consists of three distinct areas, each representing a phase in the Palace’s 900-year history.

A flowering meadow of medicinal plants evokes the 15th-century monastic gardens of Holyrood Abbey, once one of the grandest medieval abbeys in Scotland.

Among the meadow plantings are daisies, which were used to treat coughs and wounds; sorrel, once thought to cure ulcers, sores and ringworm; and mallow, used to treat scurvy.

Nearby, flowering bulbs, including crocuses, tulips and alliums, have been planted in a geometric pattern to reflect 17th century designs.

A third area reimagines the physic garden that was established in the Palace grounds 350 years ago by Sibbald and Balfour, who were also two founding members of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.

In addition, the new physic garden contains medicinal and culinary plants, including fennel – once used to aid eyesight, treat the bites of snakes and mad dogs, and as an antidote to poisonous mushrooms – and borage, which, when added to wine, was said to impart courage and treat eye problems, heart disease and jaundice.

Adjacent beds feature plants, such as lavender, bergamot and lemon balm, which were used for scents and dyes, and as insecticides.

Five years after the first physic garden was created at the Palace, the plants were moved to a much bigger site at Trinity Hospital, now the location of Platform 11 at Waverley Station, and then to Leith.

And, in 1820, the garden was established in Inverleith, where today the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh covers more than 70 acres and displays more than 13,000 plant species, while continuing its world-leading plant science, horticulture and education.

Famously, James Sutherland, the young, self-taught gardener who oversaw the move of the physic garden from the Palace to the Trinity Hospital site, recorded the plants in Scotland’s first botanical publication, Hortus Medicus Edinburgensis.

Tim Knox, director of the Royal Collection, said: “2020 marks 350 years since the creation of the first physic garden at the Palace.

“I am delighted this new public garden has been completed in this anniversary year and can be enjoyed by our visitors and the local Edinburgh community alike.” The new public garden is open every day. Admission is free.