Increasingly, humans are an urban species prone to ‘plant blindness’. This demographic shift and situation has implications for both individual and collective perceptions of nature, as well as for addressing ‘ecophobia’ and encouraging ‘biophilia’ through education. Contemporary humanity occupies a world in which extensive physical change, both in the landscape and its related organisms, is occurring . Education-related debates on these issues links to the noted phenomenon of a ‘bubble wrap generation’ growing up within ‘nature-deficit’ childhoods in ‘megalopolitan cities’. Indeed, some commentators consider that 'nature has already disappeared' and exists only in protected spaces. Such perceptions have consequences for education in ‘presented world’ settings such as zoos, botanic gardens and natural history museums. This editorial, and its associated collection of papers, considers the critical relationships between nature, culture and education in contemporary botanic gardens and the ways in which visitors navigate their journeys, as demonstrated by research.