Sunday, 2 March 2008

March brings more sunshine

This weekend we have enjoyed some more sunshine which made a walk around Dundee Botanical Gardens all the more enjoyable. From memory I have only visited this garden a couple of times, but not at this time of year. What a pleasant walk this was. It is easy to see what caught my eye first!

Catkins on tree branches always make me smile and these were absolute beauties! They always make me think of Spring. I just had to walk across the grass, which is encouraged here, to take some photos. They were at the edges of a small pond which had lily leaves bobbing slightly on the surface – I didn’t expect to see them growing at this time of year. Although now that I think about it there were no ducks in the water.


Shades of pink blossom high on branches along the edge of a path on the other side of the pond drew me towards them but when I got closer beautiful deep plum-coloured hellebores fought for my attention hugging the ground in another border. The hellebores won - I love hellebores and I am sure you can see why. Although at a glance the garden was not lush looking, when you looked closer there really was a lot more to see. We walked up the slope towards some trees. Botanical Gardens really are a great place to see trees.


Crocus growing through grass around the trunk of a tree instantly reminded of my own and the snowdrops I had seen on a walk a few weeks ago. Unlike the snowdrops they brought such wonderful colour to this spot as overhanging branches brought patterns of shade gently moving over them. I stood watching this for a while and took quite a few photos. I loved the natural planting here and the edging of copper brown leaves lying in the background.


Sculptural benches and tables always find their way into Botanical gardens. I guess it is a chance to encourage local or new artists. This table above was really quite striking sitting under the shade of the trees. I enjoy seeing works of art in gardens.

Trees, especially with strong trunk shapes and branches for me are the most wonderful forms of natural sculpture. I just love to see different shaped trees and I could photograph them all day! As a teenager, I spent many hours drawing trees. However pine trees and the ones above all twisted, especially with white bark, growing through heath for me just say ‘Scotland’. Add Celtic music to the scene above and I truly feel my heart stirred!


Buds forming on trees and shrubs stir all our hearts, especially gardeners, as it heralds the start of Spring and the end of the cold and long dark winter days. Again they make me smile, but seeing the lichen growing on the branches with them is just like the icing on the cake.


Trees were becoming the stars of this walk for me. Next it was the turn of the ribbons of bark. What absolutely beautiful colours and patterns as the sunshine lit them in quite different ways. Sorry, I have no names here as I was out walking with my family and as I was already stopping to take photos every now and again I thought it would be seriously pushing it to take a notebook out too!


Bursts of colour would draw me off the main paths and across the grass with my camera. I couldn’t believe I came across a rhododendron in flower. From this viewpoint you could look across and over the small airport of Dundee to the River Tay which was glistening in the sunlight – although it was a bit wild looking as it was windy.

Joining the main path I was now standing in front of a tree that I do remember seeing before. This eucalyptus tree and the most enormous girth of shoots I have seen – the photo above shows just half of them. I would take a guess that in its younger days this tree has been coppiced (cut to the ground each year) to promote new growth. The leaves of the new growth are much more interesting to look at too.


Heading along the main paths and back into the garden once more and it was the forest planting of trees that caught my attention next. Sunlight filtered through these trees and on to the carpet of copper brown leaves on the ground. It really was like a painting. It looked like every tree had been perfectly spaced, the paths placed with a designers eye and the leaves looked like they had been deliberately blown to make the carpet fit perfectly. However, it also looked completely natural.

The paths in the first photo above were of grass but very surprisingly the path up the middle of the second photo was purely of moss. I wonder how they did that. Perhaps it wasn’t deliberate but it looked fantastic however I don’t know how it could survive a lot of foot traffic.


Walking towards the entrance of this garden and I wonder if you have noticed what was almost missing from my photos? Yes, snowdrops! There were small clumps dotted about the garden but the one above at the edge of the path caught my eye as the sunlight spotlighted a few flowers. How pretty it looked.

What else was missing? You may be able to tell from my photos but it is sound you need for this one. We didn’t hear birds singing – not one! I did spot one bit of movement in a bush but for all the trees, heath and shrubs in this garden we never saw any wildlife. Initially we didn’t notice this as we were chatting but it was very strange once we realised. I’m sure there has to be wildlife but perhaps it chooses to be secretive at this time of year.

Finally, if you also enjoy seeing trees and are visiting or living in or around Perthshire you might be interested to hear that it is known as Big Tree Country. You can check out the website for guided walks and more information. As for this garden, I look forward to visiting again to see how it changes through the seasons.

The photos above were taken at The University of Dundee Botanical Garden on March 1st 2008.

19 comments:

thepowerguides said...

I love crocus anywhere but my most favorite place is to see them growing wild just off the road in some forestry , even better when I had not been to that place before just brings a smile to my face and a warmth for the world around me

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Every year I think I will put crocus into the lawn. It is such a pretty sight growing that way.

I too like catkins. They look so lively swaying in the wind. Thanks for taking us along with you on your tour.

Anna--Flowergardengirl said...

Your blog today was so informative and beautiful. I am like you and notice all the elements in a garden--from the form to the flowers. It's all good!! Thank you for sharing such beautiful pics. I would visit if I were close by.

Mel said...

Great post, how beautiful pictures!!! Hope I could visit that and so many beautiful gardens all over!
You can't help smiling when looking at such beauty :)

Miranda Bell said...

Looks a great place Shirl - with a husband from Dundee I realise this is one place he's not taken me when we've been up staying with the inlaws... probably because when we come up it's Christmas!! Lovely pictures as always... Miranda

Jayne said...

What a very beautiful place Shirl. Thanks for taking us along!

Frances, said...

Thanks, Shirl for taking us along on your wonderful walk. The trees, crocus, hellebores and snowdrops were stunning, but that sculptural table and benches were eye popping! Was it shaped like a dragon? By the way, I have a mystery you may be able to help me with that was posted today, if you want to come on over to Faire Garden and take a look!

Frances

Largo observer said...

Loved the photos in this post. I have been to these gardens but a long time ago. Your post has encouraged me to re-visit them soon.

Mike @ Fenphotography said...

Wonderful photos Shirl, I can see what attracts you there looks a great place, Mike.

kate said...

This was a great tour. The botanical gardens look as if they are a wonderful place - the crocuses popping up are beautiful ... I love benches, so it was good to see some here. The Hellebores are gorgeous. I think they are fast becoming my favourite spring flower.

I can understand why you loved the trees.

Barbara said...

Thank you for this interesting tour. I like botanical gardens too. The crocus lawn is beautiful and it really looks like Spring!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

While Snowdrops are my favorite early bulb, those white Crocus interplanted with the blue flower is so pretty!

Azziria said...

You remind me that I haven't been to the Cambridge botanical gardens yet this year - I must go before the Winter Garden goes over completely.

A wildlife gardener said...

I have never been to the Dundee Botanic Gardens but what with all your lovely photos I feel as if I have paid a visit.

As well as the beautiful crocuses in flower, I loved the peeling bark trees. They look rather like the paperback birches, but they may have been paperback maples...

All the information on the photo montage process is appreciated too, as I have not tried to display mine in that way yet.

Your walk through the carpet of snowdrops at Dalmeny Park had me salivating for more. I do love snowdrops, and invest in a few more bunches each year.

Your 20mins bird video of the blue tit was amazing! What hard workers they are!Each little video you do is delightful, shirl :)

Your garden bird photos are always a treat. The close-ups are so detailed. I love the one of the song thrush, as it can be very difficult to identify them.

Finally, thank you so much for the award. I know you deserve yours, shirl, for everything you do is excellent, from the photography to the videos to your enthusiasm for gardening and planting. Congratulations! you richly deserve yours.. I shall try to get around to displaying mine soon :)

Cabs said...

What wonderful pictures! Thx for sharing them. I especially fond of those hellebores!
Carol
terranovadesign.blogspot.com

shirl said...

Hi again and welcome once again to you all :-)

Powerguides – Yes, I too love to see crocus in places like that. I also like to see them in towns too in the grass verges and by the pavement edges :-D

Lisa – Bulbs in the lawn has definitely worked for me and we are all enjoying seeing them there. Yes, catkins they also remind me of my childhood too :-D

Anna – Thank-you, yes I have always looked at all elements around me when I am outside – even the road verges when I am driving (oops) :-D

Mel – Thank-you! Yes, gardens make me smile too. My photos are what grabbed my eye that day but others may have seen the garden in a completely different way :-D

Miranda – At 9 hectares this Botanical Gardens isn’t the biggest but it does contain many elements that I enjoy. It is quite different from Edinburgh Botanical Gardens but it has a charm of its own. Thanks, I’m really enjoying getting out with my camera just now :-D

Jayne – You are most welcome! I hope people living locally visit it now too :-D

Frances – Ah… the bench! Yes, I loved it too. No, it didn’t appear to be a dragon but I can see why you are thinking that. I just love to see benches like this too. As you know now my suggestion to your mystery is perhaps a mouse or another mammal smaller than a squirrel - although I did consider a squirrel too! Great to read the comments on a post that gets so much interest :-D

Largo Observer – Thank-you, it was a few years since I had been to this garden too. My photos reflect what caught my eye on that day. There were other new things going on but I won’t spoil your visit by telling you about them :-D

Mike – Thank-you! I am really enjoying getting out with my camera at the moment – got some unexpected duck photos yesterday :-D

Kate – Glad you enjoyed my visit, yep benches in Botanical Gardens just look fantastic and scale is never usually a problem which is fantastic to see. Ah… the hellebore is getting me this year too :-D

Barbara – You are welcome! I sometimes think that Botanical Gardens are forgotten about in favour of ones at Historical Houses. It does look and feel like spring at the moment – I wonder how long this will last. More snow here yet I suspect :-D

Mr McGregor’s Daughter – Ah… the little blue star flowers caught my eye too! They just made the picture didn’t they :-D

Azziria – Ah… now I have a request for you! I visited Cambridge Botanical Gardens probably about 13 years ago now. When you visit, please do post some photos on your blog – I would love to see them. I remember a rock scree stood out for me at the time and the fantastic clumps of shuttlecock ferns :-D

Wildlife Gardener – Dundee Botanical Gardens are quite different from Edinburgh in both scale and planting. I always love looking at trees too. The montages are fun although if you used them you perhaps wouldn’t be able to story tell as beautifully as you do! Yes, I too purchased some snowdrops after my visit – that’s a good idea to add a few more each year. The video was great but we never saw much more activity after that day! Thank-you, I am thoroughly enjoying taking the bird photos and got some from outside my garden yesterday. I haven’t seen much of the song thrush recently – I do hope it is still around. Gosh, thank-you! I feel you deserve this award and was delighted to be able to send it to you. Oops… mine isn’t displayed yet I better get that sorted soon. Lovely to hear from you again – hope you are well :-D

Carol – You are very welcome, it is great that we can share visits like this isn’t it. Ah… once again I am with you on the hellebores :-D

Marie said...

Beautiful photos!

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Thanks for the lovely walk in the Dundee botanical garden! It looks great at the mo.

BTW have I told you that I will be visiting Scotland in June of this year? I'm doing a garden tour. :-)

Have a lovely weekend!

shirl said...

Hi again, Marie and Yolanda :-D

Marie – Thank-you!!

Yolanda – You are most welcome! I hope you enjoy your trip to Scotland – you never said if this was your first visit. I’d love to know which gardens you will visit :-D