Friday, 27 April 2018

The Glory of Springtime. Edinburgh Walk from City To Sea. Botanic Gardens. Dean Village.

                                              ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.
Edinburgh's Botanic Gardens in Spring. Mid to Late April 2018. One of the reasons I still prefer actual maps compared to a small screen map on a tablet or phone is that you can plan walks much easier on a full map as it allows you to see the bigger picture in an instant, one large sheet covering the entire city in detail. Looking at my Collins Edinburgh Street Map in the house it took mere minutes to work out a route from Edinburgh's Haymarket, where the bus would drop me off, walk down past St Mary's Cathedral then through Dean Village on the Water of Leith to the Botanic Gardens. From there I would continue on down to the seaside at Granton Docks. On paper it looked an interesting walk with plenty of highlights and so it proved.
A solo trip this time saw me jump off the Glasgow to Edinburgh city link bus near St Mary's Cathedral, seen here, which is definitely worth a look inside. Very impressive building both inside and out. As I had visited it last year I carried on down Palmerston Place, to the left here in this photo, and was soon strolling along the Water of Leith on the popular footpath through this pretty green gorge until I reached historic Dean Village.
Both places I've visited before but if you haven't explored around here they are both interesting and unique.
For myself though they were merely a scenic prelude to my main destination so I didn't linger, only choosing this route as a green leafy corridor to avoid walking through Edinburgh's streets. Normally, the Glasgow to Edinburgh bus is only half full on trips through to here but it was crowded on this journey and on the return taking one and a half to two hours each time due to heavy traffic at peak periods. Glasgow can be pretty bad for traffic at certain times of the day but Edinburgh is much worse. Almost three hours travelling each way for a 40 mile distance city to city. At quieter times it can take less than an hour between cities but I have noticed this trip getting steadily busier for the past couple of years despite buses leaving every 15 mins both ways.

Anyway, my main purpose on this walk was to visit the Botanic Gardens and luckily I had timed it perfectly for spring colours at their best.
In Glasgow the main crocus splurge had passed a full month ago, seen here...often blasted by the elements.
And daffodils were out but had been delayed or flattened by cold, grey, often snowy or windy conditions. Crocus group waiting for the sun to unfold them here. The Glasgow parks, apart from any yellow daffodils on show, looked rather bare, drab, and empty- spring plants yet to appear in any numbers to make a visit worthwhile...
Not so Edinburgh where more by sheer luck than any planning I'd arrived to find a very lush environment indeed. Magnolia flowers fully unfurled and looking at their best...and as they only flower for a brief couple of weekends then disappear for another year it's so easy to miss them and I half expected them to be later as many in Glasgow have still to come out fully, just white or pink buds showing on trees there.
Multi coloured rhododendrons also dazzled everywhere in full bloom...
Azaleas with their vivid day-glow inner thrum, bright even in dull weather or rain, with prayer flags hanging here above them. Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Gardens cover a large site of around 70 acres and is one of the oldest  botanic gardens in the UK, conserving and collecting plants from every corner of the world since the late 1600s. The last time I was here the glasshouses were free to go in but now they are paid entry although the gardens are still free to walk around currently. That would do me on this trip as I already had a large area to cover on foot and a still dodgy knee.
Within the gardens there are various zones and regions- Chinese Hillside zone, Rockery Garden, Woodland Garden etc and also several extensive glasshouses, divided into sections/ regions of the world, rain-forest, temperate, desert plants etc...
This is great for anyone like me that can't afford to visit exotic places abroad as in certain areas like here they come to me instead... and I love tropical delights as much as any average hedonist. Given my class, education, work path commitment, career ambitions, job opportunities and background I've seen plenty of fantastic places and had a really great life so far on an always modest budget. The trick is to play with the hand of cards life deals you and make the very best of what you do have locally instead of  longing for anything else. Creative imagination goes a long way as well and I've never been stuck finding new exciting places to go------ and even in the most mundane of districts nearby... adventures can always be found...
and this was sheer heaven for any landscape photographer and flower/spring colours junkie.
The gardens were fairly busy as it was a lovely spring day... (by now regular readers must have twigged I can control the weather to a certain extent...  how else can you explain ten amazing years of outings in Scotland without a single raindrop falling in the blog :o)
And also wildlife. Many folk also think that magpies are strictly black and white birds but like starlings their feathers contain a range of different colours close up, depending on how the light hits them. Although not related I've always thought of Magpies since childhood as ' the parrots of the north' with their long tails and swooping flight patterns.
And this is my jungle home for this particular trip.
Only without any troublesome bugs eating you alive- the best of both worlds here.
It's also my 'Land of Oz.'
and Willie Wonka's back yard...
Botanic Gardens elaborate East Gate entrance to the 'magic kingdom.'
The Rockery and Pond.
A small hunter and dedicated mouse collector.
The path.
Water of Leith walkway...
To be continued...                 To The Sea....and beyond....
























14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Another wonderful urban stroll (if city Botanic Gardens can be referred to as such). It's an intermittent spring down south. Warm sunny days alternating with cold wet ones, much like today. Wish it would make it mind up (with a "sunny" decision)

Rosemary said...

The Botanic Gardens are looking very impressive dressed in their spring best. Love the photo of the orange trumpet daffs surrounded by all the lush pink blossom.
That Magpie appears to have a green tail - I wonder where he got that from? Mine all have black ones.

Anabel Marsh said...

This reminds me that I haven’t visited Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens for ages, and really should!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Andy,
It's a great walk. Spring is picking up here now after a late start.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Rosemary,
It's a magical place so it's a magical bird. That was the natural colours though- green tail and blue lower wings. I've also seen garden black birds with large white patches on them and various colours of frogs from blonde to yellow to pink so I guess nature throws up oddities now and again. If conditions are right for them they survive and prosper.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
Now is certainly the time to go for spring colours. If you haven't visited them already St Mary's Cathedral, Dean Village and the Water of Leith Walkway to the Botanic Gardens make a lovely outing in itself or various Edinburgh local buses run past the Botanics from the city centre. (parking used to be free on the streets outside it but is metered now and can be packed solid although further away streets are OK.

Carol said...

Beautiful - especially like the historic village - I'll have to get Richard to show me that - he goes to Edinburgh a lot.

Never understand why anyone drives in or to a city myself.

Weekend-Windup said...

No words to explain the beauty of things in your blog! All are amazing!

Anonymous said...

I love Botanic Gardens. I've never been to Edinburgh's, but now I know what it looks like in spring!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
I think you would enjoy Edinburgh- loads of history and interesting places to visit, inside and outdoors.

blueskyscotland said...

Thank You, Weekend-Windup.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Mark,
It's a great city.

Kay G. said...

So GORGEOUS! I want to go there right now.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Kay,
If you do visit one city in Scotland Edinburgh is the one to see.