LAST October, when the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh (RBGE) tried quietly closing much-loved Inverleith House as a full-time arts venue, howls of protest shattered the peace in its Arcadian domain. Leading cultural figures decried the move; an online petition gained 10,000 signatures; bloggers declared war on what they saw as unaccountable managers putting accountancy before culture.

Subsequently, a working party comprised of leading cultural figures was established to examine a viable artistic future for the 18th- century building. It presented its findings yesterday and, happily, these offer a confident prognosis.

Citing inspiring examples of exhibitions at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the New York Botanical Garden, the report also suggests a range of possibilities such as seasonally-themed programmes, residencies pairing artists with scientists, architectural programmes, “pop-up” gardens, partnerships with universities. And they do this with one eye on the public purse, believing there is untapped potential for sponsorship.

There is also an implicit suggestion that, despite the financial challenges faced by the arts, RBEG is better placed than many. While it is true the primary focus of a botanical garden is horticultural, Inverleith House has become a key arts venue linking art and floriculture. This report suggests it can remain so.