Friday, 11 October 2013

Scotland, day two: Edinburgh

Gentiana x macaulayi 'Wells' Variety'

The solid but elegant palm house at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
For many gardeners 'Edinburgh' means the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh  and a visit there is always eagerly anticipated. Covering 70 acres it is not a vast site, but it is well laid-out and never feels cramped, while the horticulture is carried out to the highest standards. Growing a different range of plants, or growing them differently, to gardens south of the border, it is always inspirational, especially in the great rock and woodland garden areas where so many choice plants flourish. Indoors, academic botany also flourishes, and linking gardening and botany is a vigorous education programme for students of all ages.

We started our day at 'the Botanics' with a committee meeting, and members of the Woody Plant Committee then gave a series of short talks at a public session in the newly (and beautifully) renovated lecture theatre. Milling about before and afterwards gave a nice opportunity to catch up with several Scottish friends, seen only too seldom. After lunch we finally got outside, on a tour led by David Knott, the Curator, though trying to keep WPC members together in a garden full of interesting plants is really a bit hopeless. Many trees were lost or badly damaged in a storm in January 2012, and, as is the way with such things, the scars were pointed out almost as a badge of honour. The scarring is most evident in the collection's keepers, however, for whom it was a very traumatic event. But as with all such episodes, space is created for new plantings and opportunities, and the majority of trees survived unaffected. Many thanks to all who made it such an enjoyable visit.

Toxicodendron vernicifluum was just turning yellow.

Sorbus muliensis was named recently from this tree at RBG Edinburgh, grown from seed collected by George Forrest in Sichuan in 1922.

A fine plant labelled Ceratostigma minus was much admired on the rock garden.

Big patches of autumnal Asiatic gentians were catching the bright sun, but opening only tentatively in the chilly wind. (Gentiana x macaulayi 'Wells' Variety, again.)

The sumptuous flowers of Roscoea purpurea Royal Purple Group are combined with purple-flushed foliage.

Nerine bowdenii catching the sun beneath a warm wall.

1 comment:

  1. Those nerines are way ahead of any here in Gloucestershire (or Hampshire ~ visited Bramdean on Friday).

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