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Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Botanic Gardens

Well, from freezing weather a week ago  - well, ok, not literally, but it  was really cold -  to sun and blue sky with temps up in the 70s F, about 24 Celsius, and a suggestion that it could get up to about 80.  Sorry, but that’s too hot for me,  along with the humidity we tend to get too! 

Anyway yesterday – crumbs, it was actually over a week ago now -  the gardening group was meeting in Edinburgh at the Botanic Gardens for a tour with a member of staff.  It was an afternoon tour, so I felt I had plenty of time to work a couple of extra hours at the Heart Foundation shop, go down to Gala(shiels) to pick up my car from the garage where it has had substantial work done on it and is going to cost me mega money, drive up to Edinburgh direct from there and arrive well in time for the tour.  Well, how wrong can you be! 

I left the shop in time to get the 1130 bus to Gala,  got to the garage around 1200 to pick up the car, and set off for Edinburgh.  In hindsight I might have been quicker going back to Peebles first, but I thought that driving one side of a triangle would be quicker than driving two.  Huh!  There were several sets of roadworks on the main road, with half the road dug up and traffic lights to control the traffic on the good half,  that always turned to red just as I reached them.   Then there was heavy traffic on the approach to the city, with a right turn against the traffic almost impossible  - we drive on the left!  It took 6 changes of the traffic lights to get round one corner, and every set of lights after that were at red as I made my way through the centre of the city and out to Inverleith.  It had taken me two and a half hours!  Honestly, if I had been going to see Colin in Yorkshire I’d have been almost there in that time!  My only piece of good luck was finding a car parking space only yards from the West Gate, but of course being 45 minutes late, the tour had left and could anyone find out where it might have got to by then?  Not likely!  I had presumed the tour would take a particular route, and that I might have been able to catch them up, but apparently the tours are quite random! 

Oh well, with a slight hope of finding the group I set off on my own, thinking that if I caught up, well and good, if not then I’d have enjoyed the garden anyway, and I did – enjoy the garden, that is!.  orange roddies The rhodendrons and azaleas were beautiful in bright reds,  oranges and yellows,azaleas while there were all sorts of other plants in flower and hankie tree trees in soft new leaf colourbaby fir cones to see,





birds and squirrels to watch. squirrel3 One of the squirrels was playing a distance away when I remembered I had a muesli bar in my handbag.  Would the squirrel be tempted closer?  Hmm!  I just opened the bag, and suddenly the squirrel was almost at my feet looking up expectantly!   I hadn’t even found the muesli bar by then.  Anyway, when I finally got the packet opened he actually took a piece of it from my hand, but it obviously wasn’t to his liking as he refused a second piece, turning his back on me and hopping off into the distance again, dismissing me as a decent source of sustenance!  At least I got this photo!  He may be classed as vermin but he’s very cute!

Inverleith House Though the Botanic Gardens  actually began on a much smaller piece of land near Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh in 1670, part of the Inverleith estate was bought in 1820  and in 1875 the house too was bought and the gardens expanded.  Inverleith House was built in 1774 for the Rocheid  family who had been owners of the Inverleith Estate since 1665.   It now houses exhibitions.  This is the front of the house, but the windows at the rear have a wonderful panorama of the city centre.  calton hill and arthur seat  These were taken from the lawn at the back.

city view from botanics

glass house The glass house or Palm House, the tallest in Britain, was built in 1858.

On the ground next to it in this photo is a fossilised tree trunk dating back several million years….320 million actually… that was uncovered not too far away when stone was being quarried to build the glass house itself.

I could have spent hours looking round the garden, but will finish off here with some pictures of some of the alpine flowers some grown under cover because our climate though cold enough is too wet.is this an iris

alpines outside





 alpine plants


in a clearing

and I must show you that the gardens are enjoyed by the young as well as the old!

and someone told me to look out for the handkerchief tree, so here it is…hankie tree

I just realised I put it in at the beginning too.  Oh well, enjoy once more!

It has been years since I was last at the Edinburgh Botanics, but I must go back and continue to renew my acquaintance.  We have Dawyck Gardens near us, another of the gardens connected to the Botanics.  I’ve show you photos from there before now, and probably will again, but for now…

Talk again soon.

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