Due to Covid-19, we have reduced personnel at the offices of the Sylva Foundation and our premises at the Sylva Wood Centre. Emails and phone messages are being checked but please allow a little longer than usual to receive a response.
Please do not arrange a formal visit without first checking with us. Members of the public are free to enjoy our network of permitted paths through the Future Forest as usual.


Sylva exhibition at RBGE

posted on May 12, 2014
Sylva exhibition at RBGE

Sylva exhibition at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The Sylva Exhibition at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) continues to delight visitors. Featuring 35 original drawings by Sarah Simblet from The New Sylva book, plus the favourite tree books of many well-known people, the exhibition has been attracting excellent feedback. A portfolio of images has been uploaded by RBGE – click here to view

The exhibition remains open until June 15th. Read more about the exhibition at RBGE

If you have seen the exhibition we would love to hear from you – add a comment on our Love Trees Love Wood facebook page.

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Sylva exhibitions open in Scotland and Wales

posted on April 17, 2014

To celebrate the 350th anniversary of John Evelyn’s landmark work, Sylva, two major exhibitions open today featuring drawings of British trees and woodland, made by our artist-in-residence Sarah Simblet.

The two fine art exhibitions are open from 17th April until 31st May at:

  • the John Hope Gateway, at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) – read more
  • the Gallery, at National Botanic Garden of Wales – read more

Thirty five pen and ink drawings from The New Sylva, selected from over 200 drawings commissioned to illustrate The New Sylva, a contemporary version of Evelyn’s classic text, are presented in public for the first time. Created from life in woodlands across the British Isles, Sarah Simblet’s drawings feature individual tree portraits and woodland scenes as well as life-sized illustrations of leaves, fruits and flowers. Highly detailed, they are both accurate depictions of the typical growth patterns and shapes of species, as well as sensitive and vivid translations of some of our most treasured landscapes.

Drawings from The New Sylva on display at the John Hope Gateway, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Drawings from The New Sylva on display at the John Hope Gateway, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

To further celebrate this historic anniversary, at RBGE 35 prominent people, including authors, artists, horticulturalists and scientists, have been asked to nominate the tree or woodland-inspired book that has most influenced them. The 35 books chosen, which include poetry, novels and children’s books, as well as tree identification guides, forestry texts and planting manuals are exhibited alongside the drawings.

Some of the favourite books on display at RBGE

Some of the chosen tree and forestry books on display at RBGE

A film featuring Sarah Simblet, sponsored by RBGE, has also been released to coincide with the opening of the exhibitions.


Purchase a signed copy from our online shop

Read more on the authors’ blog

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Botanic gardens and arboreta to help celebrate 350th anniversary of Sylva

posted on December 16, 2013

Gardens and arboreta across the UK and Ireland will be celebrating the 350th anniversary of the publication in 1664 of John Evelyn’s classic book Sylva: or, a discourse of forest trees and the propagation of timber in his Majesty’s dominions. The celebrations are a joint venture with the Sylva Foundation.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The following information was posted recently by Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh:

The occasion will be marked with exhibitions and events that bring this discourse up-to-date. Heading these celebrations is The New Sylva ‒ a new book published by Bloomsbury, written by Gabriel Hemery and Sarah Simblet. During 2014 the central messages about the importance of trees and the remarkable drawings made for the book will feature in exhibitions, interpretation panels and window displays across the country.

Exhibitions of Sarah Simblet’s remarkable pen-and-ink drawings featuring individual tree portraits, woodland scenes and life-sized illustrations of leaves, fruits and flowers will be presented at botanic gardens in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland. Each drawing will be accompanied by informative text written by Gabriel Hemery. Visitors to the exhibitions will also be able to find out more about John Evelyn and his Sylva. Two arboreta without exhibition spaces have agreed to take part with Sylva-themed interpretative panels displayed alongside the appropriate trees in their collections.

This is the first time that prominent botanic gardens in Britain and Ireland have participated in a joint venture of this nature. Each venue is preparing an individual programme of activities which includes talks, drawing workshops, guided walks and family activities. The gardens involved are being encourage to record these events so that at the end of the project we can organise a sharing of ideas and inspiration for future programmes. It is anticipated that the number of participants involved in visiting the exhibitions or engaging with the activities programme will exceed 100,000 during the course of the year.

There is probably no point in the last 350 years when trees have featured so prominently in the consciousness of ordinary people nor a time when the future of forests in the British Isles looked so rosy. The benefits to be gained from diverse and productive woodlands are not simply economic but including the positive effects they have on the health and well-being. Sylva recognises this growing interest for trees and forests and resurgence activity in our woodlands in an original way and we invite support from everybody who shares this passion for trees to celebrate with us.

Dates at the confirmed venues will be announced soon.

Visit the website of Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The New Sylva – author blog



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