Turn paper into birds of paradise

Feeling swamped by the Christmas wrapping still to be done? Worrying that all your hard work will be torn apart and the paper thrown in the bin in seconds? Then you might like to know there's a free 'Art-tastic; Bird of Paradise' event at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh on January 3rd 2010. You can bring all your Christmas wrapping paper and turn it into birds of paradise, humming birds and parrots. Not just eco-friendly, but a chance to get all crafty. Plus a way to brighten up a traditionally dull time of year.

And if you haven't yet got as far as thinking about wrapping paper and still need to get presents organised, how about making a spicy Christmas gift at one in a series of drop-in sessions taking place at the Edinburgh Botanics on December 19th? From 1pm to 4pm, you can drop in to the Real Life Science Studio at the new John Hope Gateway in the gardens to find out more about gingers and make a present with the plants.

There's no shortage of free events coming up in the Gardens over January to help visitors stave off any winter blues. On January 9th, a free drop-in session looks at cedars in the garden. The event explores the differences between different cedar species and looks at why the evergreen is so important to the Edinburgh Gardens.

On January 10th, there's a session where you can find out more about Scotland's native plants at a free drop-in event for all the family. You'll even get the chance to make pots from waste paper, according to the organisers. It runs from 1pm to 4pm.

Saturday January 16th is an opportunity to find out about 'Remembered Remedies'. Another free event, it's open to all aged seven and above. It will look at how ordinary people use plants as simple remedies.

On the same date, there's the chance to catch 'Peat for Peat's Sake'. The event looks at some of the things that can be found in peat bogs, including insect-eating plants, acid soils and, even, dead bodies. Peat bogs take centuries to form and just days to destroy. Find out all about them, and what we can do to preserve these beautiful habitats for future generations.

Entry to the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh is free. So is entry to the drop-in sessions. However, children under 16 attending the drop-in sessions must be accompanied by an adult.

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, 20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR, 0131 552 7171