How about a fresh spin for Bloom Day this month? A change of location perhaps? The centre of Edinburgh was where I found myself for a number of hours on Saturday the 15th and surprise, surprise I didn’t go shopping!
This unplanned trip was a tad rushed in getting here. However, as I sat with a coffee contemplating how I would spend the time (waiting for my daughter) I remembered I had a camera in my bag.
Over the summer I have been carrying my Canon PowerShot around although I’ve never used it much. I’ve never really taken to this camera for some reason. The images haven’t been too sharp. Yes, I hear you… blame the camera not the operator :-D
Okay, let’s put this camera and me to the test! The challenge… blooms and colour.
Yes, I did have a little local knowledge of the area but even so I came across quite a few surprises. I'd like to invite you to join me on a walk around the centre of Edinburgh. Perhaps you might like to pour yourself a cuppa?
St Andrew Square Gardens was my first destination and what a wonderful public outdoor space this is.
I knew about this space but didn't realise that (after a major revamp) last year it opened its gates to the general public for the first time in its 238-year history. Previously it was only accessible to residents and businesses in the surrounding area.
“The garden now boasts a reflecting pool, while ageing trees have been replaced, the statue of Lord Melville restored, and new lighting installed to help bring the square to life at night. A new pavilion coffee shop has also been built.”
In the warm sunshine this area had a fantastic buzz about it. People of all ages were enjoying this space. I, as you might expect if you are familiar with my blog, just loved the design and planting scheme.
The white Japanese anemones bobbing about in the strong wind just drew me right in to them as did the grasses blowing quite wave-like.
I am really impressed by this area now although I don't really remember much about it before.... from memory it was just a very busy area to drive around... or avoid both as a driver and pedestrian!
However, on looking up links for this posting I discovered that during the First World War, the gates of this original garden were opened to visiting US soldiers who camped in the grounds. Wow… I'll take a moment to think of them the next time I pass through this garden.
Coming forward to present day but back at the same time too... let’s talk trams! The main shopping street in the centre, Princess Street, has some major works going on at the moment disrupting both traffic and pedestrians.
Tram lines will connect the city centre to/from the Airport and out to/from Leith. This will hopefully ease traffic and help tourists and locals get around... perhaps even commute.
On leaving the St Andrew Garden I had intended heading along George Street but found myself being herded in the crowd away from that opening of the works barriers. Instead of heading directly to Princes Street Gardens I thought I’d take a quick look at what floral displays could be found along a small section of Rose Street first.
Yep… pretty much as I expected colour came from tiered freestanding displays, hanging baskets and extended window boxes high above main windows. Catching the sun they did brighten up this narrow busy street.
Bedding displays are found it practically every city centre and Edinburgh is no exception. This one below was a bit loud and didn’t appear to tie in with any colour schemes along the street level of Princes Street Gardens. However, it did give a great splash of colour! On this very windy day you can see why planting schemes use low flowering plants.
Princes Street Gardens have been a well used public space for many, many years. Large mature trees afford shade and benches line paths along this tiered garden. Both benches and grass banks have people sitting on them throughout the day from locals and day tripper’s to tourists.
The Scott Monument overlooks this area and if you’re feeling energetic you can climb its 287 steps to get views across the gardens and city. There was a queue when I passed by ;-)
Okay, so lets’ hear it for the real blooms and colour in Auld Reekie at this time of year… the festival acts and its visitors. During August and into September, every year, the city sees visitors from around the world to this International event.
The Edinburgh Fringe runs from AUG 7-31 and The Edinburgh Festival from AUG 14-SEPT 6. Many, many different accents could be heard as I walked through the crowded streets. Tour guides were reeling off their spiel on many corners.
I enjoyed being herded along with the tourists and acts for a while. I felt like a tourist myself. Despite the works disruption there was still a carnival type atmosphere. Music and acts of all types could be heard. The bagpipe/drumming bands got great applause!
Pink cosmos were my blooms of the day… I loved seeing their cheery faces bobbing about in the wind. Bedding really isn’t my thing but I like this planting combo along some railings.
The surprise of the day for me was the Floral Clock! I had no idea it was still there. As I child I had a few relatives in Edinburgh and had been taken to see this clock. I remember it well, even now.
Over the years I have had many lunches with my daughters sitting in the gardens… but not at the Castle side (West) of the National Gallery. What a revelation this was… my daughter’s are probably now too old to appreciate this as I did. This clock has a working movement and does keep time.
As I walked down the steps alongside the Floral Clock and looked ahead to the path beyond I felt like I had been truly transported back in time to my visits as a child. Unfortunately, sorry Edinburgh, the planting schemes felt that way too. I wonder if, when the Tram works are completed, the gardens may get a make-over too.
At the bottom of the steps a look down to the left and a cottage caught my eye. Wow… my first thoughts were that of a Gingerbread House in a storybook. How magical it looked!
Walking ahead gave closer views to the Castle on the left on the rocks above. Many cameras were pointing in that direction although Edinburgh Castle doesn’t really look like a picture book Castle.
The benches were all occupied as I walked. A break in roses, bedding and lavender in one area caught my eye… the tall teasel was also getting caught by the wind! Once again the cosmos made me smile.
A number of Statues can be seen along the gardens… I had no idea there were so many. You can see them listed in this interactive map. Up and down the gardens I went and once again it was time for a break. Care to join me in another cuppa?
Direct plugs to businesses I don’t usually give but I’d like to give one here. Oh yes… I did pay for my coffee at the spacious Princes Street Starbucks Café with a view out to the castle!
This plug like the bag of used coffee grounds is for free! Any company that operates a recycling system direct to its consumers like this has my vote. Displayed in a basket these ‘GROUNDS FOR YOUR GARDEN’ packs are available for customers to take home.
“Coffee grounds can provide a valuable source of nutrition for your garden. The proper amount to be used depends on the condition of your soil and what you are growing. Check with a local gardening expert or your local parks to see what is best for your garden.”
I guess if you had a PH testing kit for your soil you could use that too. Yes, I did pick up a bag myself on this visit and on a previous one. As yet, I haven’t decided how I will use it but do look forward to giving this a go! I wonder if any other coffee shops/chains do this.
Okay, shamelessly I’m going to go from one business plug to another! Dobbies also has my vote on the recycling front but I’ll come back to that one soon. For the moment I would like to say I’m delighted to welcome them to the garden blogging world!
Oh yes… as you can see above they have shirls gardenwatch as their ‘Blog of the Week’ at the moment which I am quite delighted about… thanks Ian for your most generous comments!
However, hand on heart that has not influenced my plug here. I intended mentioning this anyway as I am thrilled to see a commercial company linking to mainstream, non-commercial garden blogs. Personally, I feel there is an absolute wealth of information and inspiration in them… but I do have a biased view knowing so many bloggers :-D
So, as I near the end of this Bloom Day trail around Edinburgh I have been wondering how the Loch Leven Heritage Trail has got on in the National Lottery Awards Final for Best Environment Project.
"Public voting for the final round of The National Lottery Awards 2009 has now closed. The seven winners - one in each category - will be announced during a special, star-studded BBC1 programme, The National Lottery: Big 7, broadcast live on Saturday 5th September 2009. " Not too long to wait then :-D
If you are wondering what’s blooming in my garden at the moment then there’s nothing really new from previous postings except I've added some pink cosmos that I picked up at a bargain price… before I saw them in Edinburgh! The next sunny, dry, still day I’ll take some video.
In the evening sunshine tonight I was thrilled to see butterflies on my front garden buddleja… two painted ladies, a small tortoiseshell and a peacock. That’s the most I’ve seen so far this year. Only the painted lady was close enough to get with the camera.
It’s definitely time for you to flutter on by if you made it to the end of this posting! Mm... looking back perhaps my Canon PowerShot isn't too bad on sunny days!
Now I’ve finally had time to get near my blog I could chat on all night. Mm… perhaps instead it's time I did some blog visiting myself! See you soon :-D
All photos above were taken in Edinburgh on August 15th 2009 with my Canon PowerShot with the exception of the butterfly taken in my garden on August 17th with my Canon 400D.