Friday, 11 June 2021

Botanical Pleasures in June. A Natural High.


Map of walk.                              ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN

I haven't been posting as frequently lately as I've been busy doing other things  and posting every week became a bit of a habit rather than a pleasure so I've dropped it down to two a month in the meantime.

I'm still getting out and enjoying myself though and as June is a favourite month- early summer and all that... I was keen to experience it as it only happens once a year. This spring/summer so far has been fantastic in Glasgow- hardly any rain and two months of almost daily sunshine- so much in fact that Central Scotland now feels like arid California ( there is a California near Falkirk in fact- a former pit village I've cycled through) but this is more a California of the mind. 

As you can see from the map above where I normally park is on Queen Margaret Drive near the park gates but this proved impossible as I was meeting up with Anne and Belinda in the afternoon and by that time any spaces were already taken. Luckily, you can sometimes park in the network of streets around North Kelvin College or Kirklee Road so that was where we arranged to meet.

This was complete serendipity as we had a much longer walk into Glasgow's botanic gardens through a network of quiet upmarket streets we were mostly unfamiliar with, travelling across North Kelvin meadow...

part of it seen here...

then the handsome stone bridge at Kirklee Road to access the arboretum. We all forgot how nice this area is in early summer with the fresh green leaves at their best on the trees. Still deeply immersed in my 1960s and 1970s book collection I'm now re- reading the slim volumes of Richard Brautigan.   A Confederate General from Big Sur.... In Watermelon Sugar... Trout Fishing in America... and The Hawkline Monster ... all mostly set in the American West Coast.  California and the hippie culture, have been passed around in the last month and enjoyed. He's a very unusual writer and his books are filled with some weird and wonderful characters and ideas. Still funny 50 years later.

 That cerebral input.... the weeks of unbroken sunshine... wandering slowly through a posh area of classic old architecture ...and a vivid imagination... all combined to give me a completely natural high. Female company... hell any company during covid 19... but especially them... was the perfect icing on  top.

A path in the arboretum leads down into the River Kelvin Gorge which, on a day of scorching hot California style sunshine, was most welcome as we descended from heatwave dry openness into cool damp shade under the trees.  Sometimes it's only after completing a day out you look back and think 'that was a great day out' but on this occasion it was a dream walk... a dream day.... and a 'dream team' meeting... right from the outset. Every single second of it was truly special... in the moment... as it occurred.  Hence the title.

Walking in Heaven after this would have been a grave disappointment. A pure let down. A scunner in fact! Back entrance to the Botanic Gardens. Bluebells.

Flowers were at their very best....

Femme Fatales were at their finest, funniest, and most radiant... two lightly perfumed angels floating along, barely touching the ground... one of several bridges over the River Kelvin and my joy was almost un-containable by this point. Nature does that to you... especially at this time of year...

 The parks department were out and about... planting borders and weeding...

I was kissing bumble bees, babies, budgies, beagles, bald headed bikers, and perfect strangers all over the place. Hey it's San Fransisco in the 1960s man... it's allowed! At least in thought. Begone Virus! Hello the Haight Ashbury 2021 style. In my mind I was already, vividly, there. Without the need for any  lysergic component. Nature and sunshine alone works for me.

It was just wonderful... and rightly so. How many girls are called February??? March??? There's a good reason April, May, and June were once popular girls names when we lived closer to the natural dance of the seasons . The three best months in the year for colour, health, and beauty. 

I almost wafted away in sheer happiness...internally....

Set controls for the heart of the sun....

 Everywhere was colour, scent and visual splendor.

Unusual flowers... Black eyes peas from Venus perhaps...?

Grey Squirrel        I tried to kiss it... it ran away up a tree.... so I kissed the tree... and then me...twice!

 Vincent's Sunflower substitutes.

  A truly magical time of year. A month named after a Roman goddess you know... the Queen of all the gods.......Juno.

 A border detail...

Pink Magnolia...

A sunlit trio...

The wild River Kelvin.

Semi tamed part....

 City street overlooks the river gorge...

 The cream season for flowering debutantes..

A flower kaleidoscope... incidentally an instrument invented by a Scotsman I seem to recall...

 and a matching sunset to end what was a stunning day out. Thank you.

  So good I felt inspired to have something different for tea. Sweet chilli chicken, boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, sliced kiwi fruit. Very tasty cold... far too hot for cooking in a kitchen. A sunburnt but very happy bunny goes to bed.

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Victoria Park..... at its best in May.

                                          ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.

Mid May is definitely the best time to explore the Scottish Parks for the range of colours, especially to see bluebells, azaleas, and rhododendrons at their best. Last week I met up with Anne and Belinda to wander round a couple of the best ones. This is the Victoria Park Fossil Grove quarry area, above, yet two months ago it looked very bare and barren. Hardly anything growing here. 

Amazing the difference sun and warmth makes to any landscape. Covid 19 has not really made a major impact on me so far as I do not travel abroad now, have little inclination to go retail shopping or eat out in restaurants, go to movies, sporting events etc... so this is my best free treat right here. I am a modest hedonist in that I like to pleasure my senses if possible... but for me that can easily be done on a budget or for nothing at all.

 A beautiful sunny day, blue skies above- fantastic tropical landscapes... and always a short car or bus ride away.

 In mid May the UK is hard to beat for colour and variety. Bluebell hollow here.

 A red tree.

 A back woods realm of nature's perfume and pleasure garden.

Coot with young chick. 

Two chicks for this one.

A feast for the senses. Nature therapy... although I hate that throwaway term used almost daily during the last year.... like you require to be led there by qualified instructors to find it. All you have to do is look at your surroundings. What other planet in the known universe is a match for this one?

A sunny day is all I need to be happy and content and we have had a fine run of them recently.

Does it get any better than this? Glasgow's notorious  'Urban Jungle.'

I provided lunch for our trio. This chef had zero complaints I'm pleased to report. Six each of these per person.

Orange duck pate, some butter, salt, black pepper, cherry tomatoes on crackers then strawberries and cream to follow. A study in red.

The glory of Spring in a northern city.

 The simple but profound miracle of new leaves appearing every year. A joy in itself. The finest present ever unwrapped.

 Imagine a landscape without trees.... 

... without dappled shade... or colour...

A bench. The tulip garden.

Magnolia flowers in May add an exotic touch.

A colour splurge. 'Happy colours' a social experiment easily proved years ago. Certain colours lift the mood instantly.

Visual hedonism. Every single Spring is my 'summer of love.' Forever and always.

The pond.

 The Fossil Grove building.

Personally and truthfully, I rarely feel the need to go abroad these days, as thanks to Victorian plant collectors, the world's exotic species come here to me instead. And... with a good reliable weather forecast... sunny days and clear blue skies are usually a given fact, even in Scotland. What more could you ask.

 We do live on a planet of exceptional wonders. A green and blue fertile ball surrounded by a million miles of terrifying darkness, dust, barren rocks, gas and ice. If we mess it up through our own stupidity and greed there is no escape plan for us. So never take any current riches or life giving abundance on our floating orb for granted... it will survive for many eons yet, with new forms of life evolving on its renewable skin as the universe above spins on ... once free of our disturbing pestilence that is...the unknown birth of future creatures rising, falling and howling from countless swamps, caves and jungles from beginning to eventual extinction.....we, on the other hand, might not be there for that. Just one more dinosaur skeleton species from the ancient past of Earth to add to the other 90 percent of all life that once existed yet now no more. But maybe that's all part of nature's great plan as well. Who knows. Once a Goldilocks planet- always a Goldilocks planet. Our homely third rock from the sun. And that thought makes me happy.